When Community star Yvette Nicole Brown went to see Avengers: Endgame in the cinema, she had absolutely no idea she was going to see herself on the big screen.
Let’s be honest, the MCU features so many cameos and A-list stars it can be pretty difficult to keep up with who’s in what movie – Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, doesn’t even know which movies she’s appeared in. But a lot of stars who make cameos are over the moon if they manage to make the final cut, like Brown.
The actress worked on Community with Joe and Anthony Russo and was so happy to receive the call up to make a cameo in the MCU. However, when she watched Avengers: Infinity War she thought she’d been cut from the movie and was left feeling very disappointed.
But what she didn’t know at the time was that her cameo was actually for Endgame which was shot directly after Infinity War.
The actress appears in the 1970s storyline and plays a government worker who ends up in the lift with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
In an interview with CNN, Brown reveals the Russo brothers were in the middle of shooting the two films when she got the call.
“I was on the set of The Mayor for ABC and I got a text from Joe Russo,” she recalled.
“He said, ‘Hey, what are you doing two weeks from now?’ And I called him — I didn’t even text back. I called him! ‘Is it? Is this it?’ He said, ‘This is it. It’s your turn. This is the call.'”
She explained she immediately called The Mayor‘s showrunner asking for the week off, “I was like, ‘I need next week off, because I’ve got to do this thing!’ And luckily, because Marvel is also under the Disney-ABC umbrella, they worked everything out and I was able to go to Atlanta for a couple of days and knock it out.”
“I don’t dream that big,” she confessed. “[But] after the Russos took over, I thought, ‘There’s a good chance.’ There’s a lot of people on Community, and there’s not enough movies for everybody to have a moment, so I was so excited that I got my chance.”
She added that one of the best parts of the experience was seeing what RDJ and Chris Evans were like on set.
“I got to see them outside of their superhero costumes… They’re really nice people. I’ve always thought it’s great if you’re talented and you’re rich and you’re whatever, Captain America – that’s great. How’s your heart as a human being? Those two men are lovely human beings.”
She added that it isn’t easy being the new person on set with people who have worked together for years, but added they “welcomed me as if I was playing Queen Bee, the new crime fighter. So it was really lovely”.
When her cameo didn’t appear in Infinity War she took it in her stride, “I just said, ‘Well, it was nice. It’s the thought that counts.’ And I forgot about it.”
A year later, almost two years after shooting her scene, she was at the cinema as a fan watching Endgame and at around two hours in she saw the bunker where her character worked.
“I’m sitting there with a group of [friends] in my seat like ‘This is going to be it. Oh my God, it’s an elevator! It’s me!’ I’m just sitting there, biting the inside of my jaw. I was so freaking excited, I can’t even tell you. So frigging excited! My friends were, too.”
Her friends also had no idea she was going to appear on screen, “I kept that secret for two years… That NDA was iron-clad. I really needed my left foot, so I never told anybody.”
However, one downside was that because she didn’t know she was in the movie, she didn’t attend the premiere.
In an Instagram post shared after the spoiler ban lifted, Brown put up photos from her day on set, writing, “Totally wasn’t supposed to take ANY of these pictures but I wanted to have these memories to keep and share AND I ‘sat’ on them for almost TWO years! Put them in an encrypted folder and everything. I should get some points for that!”
She added, “The set chair says #InfinityWar because that’s how long ago I shot my scenes. I actually thought I was gonna be in ‘Infinity War’! When I wasn’t in that film, I figured my scene got cut — it happens — and was just happy for the experience. But look at GOD!”
There have actually been many stars who have appeared on Community also appear in the MCU, but it’s likely that most of these instances are a coincidence. But the Russo brothers specifically choose to have stars of the show appear in their MCU movies.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the first MCU movie the Russos worked on and features a cameo from Danny Pudi, who is Abed Nadir on Community. In the movie, he’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. communications officer named Moore who is working with Cap, Sam and Natasha take over the communications room.
Jim Rash, who played Dean Pelton on the show appeared in Captain America: Civil War as the M.I.T. Liaison who speaks to Tony about his generous donation.
Ken Jeong appears very early in Endgame as the security guard in the storage facility when Scott Lang finally escapes the Quantum Realm.
There are a few other minor Community stars who also appear in the Russo movies like D.C. Pierson and Aaron Himelstein.
Donald Glover also famously appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming (which isn’t a Russo movie), as a nod to the campaign to have him cast as Miles Morales.