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Avengers: Endgame's Most Important Hero Was Not a CGI Effect

Beth Elderkin Sep 12, 2019. 14 comments

In a movie like Avengers: Endgame , you’re dealing in worlds, characters, and costumes that are all built from visual effects, to the point where even the office building from the Captain America vs. Captain America fight was all-digital. Sometimes, it’s nice to celebrate the moments that were real. One character, arguably the greatest hero of Endgame, could have easily been a digital effect. Luckily for us, they’re totally real.

We’re talking, of course, about the rat. You know, the one that basically the entire movie in motion when it inadvertently freed Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm?

In an interview with Wired, Marvel Entertainment’s visual effects producer Jen Underdahl revealed that the rat wasn’t actually, as you might expect in a movie jam packed with them , a digital effect: it was a real, professionally trained rat. According to Underdahl, visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw made a bet with a line producer that they could find a trained rat to perform the sequence, and the line producer kept insisting the rat would have to be digitally replaced. Guess who won.

“For those of you who are curious, that is not a digital rat,” Underdahl said. “For all the things that we do and for all the things that we replace, that is actually a practical acting rat. I don’t have his name, but he’s really there.”

Behold: The moment that changed everything.
Image: Disney

The rat emerged as the surprise hero of Avengers: Endgame, one that director Joe Russo and writer Chriostopher Markus even joked about on the film’s commentary track as being “the hero of the Infinity Saga.” It was a fluke moment, but one that set in motion a chain of events that led to the Avengers bringing half the universe back from extinction. There’s even a fan theory that the rat was Loki in disguise, because no one could believe that some dumb rat walking on a remote was part of Doctor Strange’s “1-in-14 million” chance of them actually beating Thanos.

But maybe it was. And now we know that hero was indeed a real one, in every sense of the word.


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