Assembled! The (spoilerish) backstory behind the after-credits scene in 'The Avengers' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Now that The Avengers is in theaters and moviegoers are discovering the secret new scene the cast shot just three weeks ago, it’s time for EW to tell you what we know.

While EW confirmed that, yes, a new scene was being created, we didn’t share everything we knew because, well, … who wants to hear the punchline to a joke before the setup? Now that the movie has opened, and people are discovering the scene for themselves, we can exclusively reveal its backstory.

Read on, but only if you’ve already sat through The Avengers until the end of the credits (or if you’re a joyless, spoiler-craving churl.)

In true Scooby-Doo fashion, the filmmakers would have gotten away with this scheme if it hadn’t been for that meddling Robert Downey Jr., who revealed at an April 12 press conference that the superhero actors were reuniting that very night to film one last bit of footage for the movie.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige went into “Oh, that wisecracking Robert” denial mode, and writer-director Joss Whedon did his best John Ehrlichman-during-Watergate effort to keep it under wraps, since any detail from what they were doing could ruin the fun of it.

Many who had seen The Avengers just days earlier couldn’t fathom the concept: Marvel was shooting a new scene two days after the Hollywood premiere? Wha…?

Rumors that it was a coda to the movie were especially puzzling because the film already had a scene that popped up during the credits, revealing (Again: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) the secret villain who was aiding Loki’s alien invasion of Earth.

For those non-comic-geeks who saw this scene and had no idea who the character was (at the premiere, someone asked, “Is that Hellboy?”), we’ll direct you to this explanation from EW’s Darren Franich, and just say that he factors into Feige’s plan to explore the larger universe within “the Marvel universe” in their upcoming films.

Lo and behold, The Avengers did have another post-credits scene in the works, and EW learned all about it when we interviewed Whedon and the rest of the superhero cast for the exclusive roundtable discussion that would become last week’s cover story. (You can see videos from that trash-talking conversation here.)

That conversation answered a few burning questions, among them: how was Chris Evans going to recreate Captain America, since he not only had a buzz cut now (easily fixed with a wig) but he had a full beard — and still did a day after shooting? (That, obviously, is not so easily fixed.)

Last chance to get off the train before we speed fully into Spoilerville …

NEXT PAGE: Okay, fine — we’ll tell you what the scene is, already.


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