Marvel movies are known to have popularised the post-credit scene, and one of the most beloved ones came in the first Avengers film in 2012. The scene featured the six central characters — Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow — quietly eating shawarma at a restaurant.
But did you know that the scene was filmed after the movie premiered? Robert Downey Jr, at a press conference two days after the premiere in April 2012, revealed that the cast was getting together on that day to shoot some new material for the film, mere days before its wide release. The location was just a few minutes away from the actors’ hotel.
The germ of the idea originated from a scene in which Tony Stark first mentions shawarma in the film. Director Joss Whedon told Entertainment Weekly in 2012 that they tried several versions of the scene, with the shawarma line making the final cut.
Marvel realised that a quick scene of the Avengers grabbing an ‘after-work’ bite would humanise them, and so it was decided to reunite the cast and crew for one final round of filming.
“Thank you for having every reporter ask me what we were shooting,” Whedon told Downey on the day of the shoot, in mock annoyance because of what he had revealed. Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor in the series, said, “I thought I might be sick, by the way. I ate one [pita] each take, you know! And by the end, I was like, Whooooaaa.” Chris Evans, meanwhile, had to have his face concealed because he’d grown a beard for his film Snowpiercer. And that is why in the scene, he is seen sitting silently, but not visibly eating.
The idea was inspired by the day Whedon shot a death scene for his show Angel. He said at the San Diego Comic Con in 2016, “The scene itself was really exciting. I love Alexis [Denisof] and Amy [Acker]. They were just acting their hearts out. At the end of that whole day was just them in her bedroom as she’s getting sicker and sicker, and finally dying in his arms.”
Exhausted from the day of work, the three of them went out for drinks, and ended up just sitting quietly. “And that’s how I came up with the Avengers tag,” Whedon said.
Acker recalled in 2019 to EW, “I just remember that at the end of the day we all went for a drink and were sitting in a bar and none of us spoke to each other. Apparently, the shawarma scene at the end of Avengers was inspired by us just sitting there not talking.”