Avengers: Endgame features a ton of heroes and Howard the Duck is present on the battle field. Not many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans noticed the little guy, he's only in 18 frames, but he shows up during the epic battle scene to help take down Thanos and his army when all of the Decimated characters make their way back through the use of Doctor Strange's golden portals. Howard first made his MCU debut in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie and fans have been waiting to see more of him.
Weta Digital did a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of digital effects towards the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame and visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken led the way. Aitken was pretty happy to see Howard the Duck make the cut, and so were a lot of MCU fans who happened to notice him. However, that doesn't mean it was an easy task. Aitken had this to say.
"If Howard the Duck's in there, then it's kind of like everybody's in there, right? Nobody's missed out. We got that call from Marvel that and we were well underway with that shot and we were kind of close to finishing some of them, so it was a little bit of a scramble. But it wasn't totally last minute."
As for finding Howard the Duck in Avengers: Endgame, it was meant to be an Easter Egg for MCU fans. He appears when Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne appears on the screen, just to her left, when most of the attention is on her triumphant return. It's not clear what he did in the battle, but he was certainly there. Matt Aitken explains.
"We said he had time to do it, and there was a nice little gap between a couple of the Ravagers that he would just drop right into. It was nice that he wasn't so obvious in the middle of the frame that everybody was going to see him straight away. It was a little bit of a nice little Easter egg that people would have to hunt out to a degree."
Marvel Studios has been known for its attention to detail over the course of 22 MCU installments over the past eleven years. Avengers: Endgame throws a lot at fans during its three-hour runtime and Howard the Duck is just one of the many surprises lurking in the movie. Matt Aitken reveals he was surprised so many fans noticed the iconic duck right away. He explains.
"You can't skimp on these things, so he's a hero insert, he's got feathers, all the feathers are rigged. He's got hero pictures and he had to be animated. There's no corner-cutting in lots of this work, you just have to do it. But we did it all, and just delighted that he could be in there... People started noticing him straight away, I was watching online. It wasn't long before somebody piped up and said, I think it was in response to somebody saying, 'Oh, it would have been great if Howard the Duck could have been in there!' and somebody piped up and said, 'I saw him!'"
Now that Howard the Duck has shown up in the MCU again, we're all looking forward to his Marvel and Hulu animated series, which is being written by Kevin Smith and Dave Willis. MCU fans are also hoping James Gunn will have another small (or large) part for him in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, which he will start work on after finishing The Suicide Squad. The interview with Matt Aitken was originally conducted by Comic Book.