In a move that carries a certain amount of irony—given that the studio is working with only (and exactly) half of its overhead on this particular flick—Avengers 4 co-director Joe Russo has said that the upcoming superhero climax is expected to be Marvel Studios’ longest film yet, with the current, mid-edit version of the movie clocking in at the three-hour mark. That’s 20 minutes longer than this summer’s still-overstuffed Infinity War, suggesting that the greatest battle likely to play out during the movie’s extended runtime will be the titanic struggle to find a good time to sneak out of the theater and pee.
And hey, we get it: This particular movie—slated for May 3 of next year—is a big damn deal for the MCU, standing as the culmination of 19 films’ worth of plot points, character development, and scavenger hunts for magical rocks. But three hours is still a long time for anybody to sit in a movie theater—R.I.P. whichever poor doomed soul we send to Marvel’s next big MCU marathon event—to the point where even Russo seems a little dubious that that’s where the movie will end up sticking. “We’ll see if that holds,” he told an audience during a recent livestream event, noting that Avengers 4: The Search For More Legroom is currently only about halfway done with its edit, with a lot of work still to be done with effects and syncing up the score.
For reference, the shortest MCU movie is, sadly, not Ant Man—thus killing this really great joke we had all primed up and ready—but Thor: The Dark World, at 112 minutes, which suggests that there may, in fact, be some merit to the idea of taking one’s time on this sort of thing.