WARNING: Avengers: Endgame spoilers ahead.

Seriously, this is your last warning.

Avengers: Endgame proved to be an emotional roller coaster for legions of moviegoers this past weekend — but it wasn’t just the R.I.P. moments that gave fans the feels.

The record-breaking film featured the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first explicitly LGBTQ movie character, a female empowerment moment for the ages, the passing of a crown from a king to a queen, and the passing of the torch (well, shield) from a white Captain America to a black Captain America.

“That’s the thing I think we’re the most proud of with the Marvel Universe, moving forward, is how inclusive it is,” says Joe Russo, who directed Endgame with his brother, Anthony Russo, and played the gay man sitting next to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) during a therapy session in the movie. “Representation to us is very important to us. We cast [Anthony Mackie as] Falcon. We cast [Chadwick Boseman as] Black Panther. We introduced both of those characters in the universe, and it was important to us. If we were going to do four of these movies, we wanted to include a gay character before we were done. We also wanted to do it in a way that felt normalized, didn’t feel like we’re making a big deal out of it. We wanted to make sure that it felt organic. And I think that, by the fact that I was playing that character, it is the endorsement as the filmmakers, too. It’s for everyone who’s gay to know that we support you and that we want our stories to be as inclusive as possible. Everyone has the right to see themselves on screen.”

“I think we are led to the importance of this just through our experiences making these movies from Winter Solider, taking these movies around the world, interacting with fans and just recognizing the vast diversity of people who identify with these movies,” adds Anthony. “It’s just staggering, across cultures, every spectrum within every culture, every age group, just the amount of people, the range of people who these movies have become important to. We felt like we needed to be more active and inclusive in terms of reaching out to that entire fan base.”

“And, frankly, these movies travel to markets that have issues with that kind of representation,” says Joe, with Anthony finishing his thought: “It makes it even more meaningful.”

Reporting by Anthony Breznican.

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