After Election Day, Brooklyn-based filmmaker John Handem Piette created a film re-imagining the final battle of “Avengers: Endgame,” but with major political figures in place of the heroes and villains. President-Elect Joe Biden was Captain America, while President Trump was super baddie Thanos; Barack Obama was Black Panther; Kamala Harris played Falcon, while the late Ruther Bader Ginsburg was War Machine. The project was a creative outlet, of sorts, to help ease some of Piette’s anxieties anticipating on the final election results. But it seemed to help others get through the long wait as well—the film ultimately went viral and gained coverage fron Vulture to Vanity Fair.
Today, Piette has returned with a sequel, “America Endgame II—Soul of a Nation,” in which we see who ultimately reigns victorious in the battle. We won’t spoil it here, but the main protagonists return, with some, like newly-minted richest person in the world, Elon Musk, taking on more significant roles.
Piette tells Ad Age that the sequel “was inspired by the unprecedented resistance this administration—mainly Trump—have shown in not acknowledging Biden and Kamala’s victory. This country has a tradition of heated politics but peaceful and humble transfers of power. None of it is normal so I wanted to go big and really exemplify the absurdity of what’s going on in our country right now. Seeing these events play out in meme form and as a fantasy parody contextualizes it a little more for me since it’s all so hard to believe in the first place.”
The follow-up, he says, was much more difficult to produce than the first film. “It took me a solid month of work every day, and I barely slept the past two weeks,” with the exception of power naps here and there in the midst of many all-nighters. “I was motivated by what was going on in the news and also many of the people who loved the first one wanted me to do a follow up to [spoiler alert] see Trump finally be defeated.”
It was also an opportunity to further develop the story, he adds. “I really wanted to lean into the Hunter Biden-Joe Biden relationship and how deeply offensive it is that the President would target Joe’s only surviving son.” As for Musk’s role, “there was a lot of backlash to Musk being included [in the original film] and the way the storyline plays out I think those people will be satisfied at his arc in the sequel.”
Other stars include Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as Captain Marvel. “She’s been a big proponent of science and people taking the vaccine and dispelling anti-vaxer myths and helping make minority communities more comfortable with the idea of being vaccinated,” he says. One new addition, Marianne Williamson, "was a presidential candidate who didn’t get a ton of traction in her campaign but she definitely worked her way into some of our hearts with her fiery and sometimes a little weird debate performances.” As for the other cameos, Piette is mum “because I think part of the fun of these has been the excitement of seeing who’ll show up next.”
As to whether the recent events at the Capitol impacted the film, Piette says those “happened right as I was about to release the sequel and actually compelled me to delay releasing it for a day to let tensions simmer and to re-assess what I’m conveying and putting out there. I always try to be mindful of the message I’m sending out with my work and hopefully the overwhelming sentiment is unity and love with some humor to help ease our worries and uplift us.”