In the finale of Marvel's blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame,” a formidable lineup of superheroes and villains faced off in an epic battle over the fate of the universe. After Election Day in the United States, as voters waited for the outcome of the showdown between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the parallels between Marvel’s fictional world and our own was not lost on Brooklyn-based filmmaker John Handem Piette.
While watching vote numbers trickle in, Piette channeled his nervous energy into recreating the “Avengers” finale, but with politicians (and a few others) taking the place of the heroes. In Piette's reimagining, the Democrats step into the heroes' leotards, while Republicans play the supervillains. The film opens with Biden as Captain America and Trump as uber-villain Thanos, followed by a political star-studded crew that includes Barack Obama as Black Panther, Kamala Harris as Falcon, the late Joe Lewis as Ant Man (as Giant Man) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as War Machine. Other celebrities, including Sean Connery and Elon Musk, also make an appearance.The film immediately went viral, garnering attention from celebrities and outlets ranging from Vulture to Vanity Fair.
Piette began work on the film on Friday, pulling an all-nighter to finish it. It posed a few challenges, he tells Ad Age. “The animating and rotoscoping of the heads was painstaking but not too hard, finding the right soundbites and matching them with the narrative I wanted to tell took the most time, but maybe that’s because I left it to last when I was already delirious at 5 am.”
Piette drew from skills he’d honed editing and creating films for the likes of The Dodo, and even in advertising, where he says he got his start right out of University of Texas film school.
His first job was for an Austin startup, VideoSomething.com, founded by Tony Morfin and Joe Kogut. He describes the site as a “combination of a yellow pages directory and YouTube” for small Austin-based businesses. “I made literally hundreds of promotional style creative videos that were part commercial, part documentary to really sell the personality of the business and its owners and workers.” He then moved to L.A. where he continued in commercials and films before relocating to Brooklyn, where he’s based now. Currently, he’s working on more fun projects, he says, including a feature film documentary he directed, “Lightning in a Bottle,” about a Burrner-style festival in Southern California. "But my really exciting work are my passion projects, which are a couple of scripts I’ve been writing and developing for years which I hope to direct next year, a feature film called ‘Mangoland’ and a series called ‘The High Life,'" he says.
Piette shared with us scene-by-scene breakdown of which politician plays who in the film:
:00 – :20:
Captain America—Joe Biden
Black Panther – Barack Obama
Okoye – Stacy Abrams
Shuri - Keisha Lance Bottoms
Dr Strange —Bernie Sanders
Peter Quill/Star Lord—Beto O'Rourke
Drax (with the knives)—Cory Booker
Wakandan Tribes plus Dora Milaje – All Votes Matter
Shuri (for the second time)—Ilhan Omar
Wasp (for the second time)—Gretchen Whitmer
Iron Man—Elon Musk
Pepper Potts—Greta Thunberg
Pepper Potts (for the second time)—Ayanna Pressley
Ant Man (while in Giant Man state)—Joe Lewis
War Machine—Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Rocket Raccoon—Sean Connery