Avengers: Endgame Director Clarifies AI Stance Following Controversial Comments

By Nathan Johnson Updated:
Avengers Endgame poster

Joe Russo, who directed four films in the MCU including Avengers: Endgame, clarified the controversial comments he previously made about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will impact the future.

Even though AI has been around for a while now, it didn't really get thrust into the everyday spotlight until more recently. Software such as ChatGPT and Lumen5 showcase to the general public some of the possibilities at their fingertips, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.

A lot of discourse has arisen regarding how AI will impact the future of the entertainment industry, and specifically what the roles of filmmakers will be in 20 years.

Joe Russo made his own comments on the controversial topic that sent many movie and television fans into an uproar.

Joe Russo Explains Controversial A.I. Comments

Russo Brothers, Avengers imagery

In an interview with Variety, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo was asked about the future of filmmaking under the influence of AI.

Russo responded to the question by warning fans to "be scared of AI," and then used the generated "Drake 'songs'" as an example:

"I think everyone should be scared of AI. “I don’t know if you’ve heard any of the Drake ‘songs’ that have been dropping on social media, but it’s here. It’s not going anywhere."

For reference, some software has been able to create songs that sound like they were written and performed by the artist Drake when in reality he had nothing to do with them.

Russo did go on to say that AI could be useful in the future as long as it is a "tool servicing us, rather than us servicing the tool."

The director used fellow filmmaker James Cameron as an example of using AI the correct way:

"When the creatives are engaged and the creatives are spearheading the use of technology — look at James Cameron’s entire career — that technology ends up in service of artists rather than vice versa. If corporations drive the adoption of that technology, it might be a different story."

These comments from Russo came shortly after he made other remarks to Collider regarding the future of AI - remarks that weren't well-received by the public.

In that sit-down, the Avengers: Infinity War  and Endgame director started by talking about how technology has changed drastically over the past century, but how "Gen Z is very unique" due to how much has changed in that time span:

"This is like a mind-bending question, right? I mean, we’ve had conversations about how it can be used, and look, Gen Z is very unique because it’s a generation that has– If there were incremental movements in technology over the last, say, 100 years, 150 years, they were the first generation with an exponential movement, right? So there’s a real possibility now for technology to become a really important factor in our lives because it’s been embraced by Gen Z, and they grew up with it, they understand it, they know how to use it. That’s important, right?"

Russo went on to explain how the majority of the world "has a facile expertise" in the world of technology:

"We’re not in a world where, you know, your uncle doesn’t know how to send emails anymore. We’re in a world where the entire generation has a facile expertise in it, and is also not afraid of it."

According to the filmmaker, this technology "expertise" could lead to people welcoming AI into their lives in order for them to "use it to engineer storytelling:"

"So potentially, what you could do with it is obviously use it to engineer storytelling and change storytelling. So you have a constantly evolving story, either in a game or in a movie, or a TV show."

He also included an example of what he was talking about, saying that AI would even be able to create a "photoreal avatar" of the user and pair it with an avatar of someone like Marilyn Monroe to create a film "specifically to you:"

"You could walk into your house and save the AI on your streaming platform. “Hey, I want a movie starring my photoreal avatar and Marilyn Monroe’s photoreal avatar. I want it to be a rom-com because I’ve had a rough day,” and it renders a very competent story with dialogue that mimics your voice. It mimics your voice, and suddenly now you have a rom-com starring you that’s 90 minutes long. So you can curate your story specifically to you."

How Exactly Will AI Impact the Future of Movies?

There is no denying that AI will be a powerful tool moving forward.

It will allow writers and filmmakers to be way more efficient with their work, and at the end of the day will make life a lot easier for everyone.

However, at least in the near future, it will not be able to take the place of actual people.

The ChatGPT software may be able to craft an essay that looks just as good, if not better than one written by the user, but when it comes to entertainment, AI is not quite at that level yet.

As of right now, no one understands the emotion and personality of a human being better than human beings. A computer hasn't experienced feelings such as joy, loss, heartbreak, or excitement. 

So, with that being said, an AI-generated movie would not have the same effect on the viewer as one made by an actual crew of people and actors.

At some point down the road, technology will probably be able to capture and display human emotion just as well as real people can. However, for the time being, there is still quite a bit of catching up to do.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.