There is an awful lot to unpack in Avengers: Endgame. It is a film that creates as many questions as it does answers. In my ongoing attempt to use this site as therapy, here are my attempts to answer some of the most burning questions that will spend hours stabbing us in our brains with tiny sporks.
Obviously, MASSIVE SPOILERS for Endgame. So if you haven’t seen it, turn back now. Past the break is the point of no return.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. WHY DID THEY CALL THE SNAP “THE DECIMATION” WHEN BY DEFINITION A DECIMATION IS WHEN YOU LOSE 1/10 OF WHATEVER IS AFFECTED?
I have no goddamn clue. I suck at math and even I know that’s wrong.
DID THANOS REALLY DESTROY THE STONES?
This does seem to be akin to the “If God is all powerful can He create a rock that He himself cannot move?” brain puzzler. But we know the Stones can be destroyed: Wanda manages to destroy the Mind Stone in Infinity War. So I suppose it could be accomplished. And like Nebula said, Thanos isn’t much of a liar. He pretty much tells you exactly what he’s going to do and then goes about it.
WHY DID IT TAKE THE RAT FIVE YEARS TO FREE SCOTT?
That was Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. It takes a long time for a rat to make its way across the country. Especially on its own dime. It has no pockets to hold dimes.
WHY DIDN’T CHANGING THE PAST ALTER THE FUTURE/PRESENT OF THE CHARACTERS WHO WENT BACK IN TIME?
I’ve seen a number of articles confused about this, but the film addresses it at least twice. And it does makes sense, actually. If you…sort of squint and turn your head to one side. Going back in time and altering the past changes a future, but not the “future” of the characters who went back in time because for them, that “future” was already past. Got it? As Tilda Swinton (who I know is playing a character called The Ancient One but let’s face it: it’s Tilda Swinton) points out, changing the past will create a branching/alternate reality that affects the future but only in that branch.
DID MARVEL JUST BASICALLY BACK INTO THE IDEA OF AN MCU MULTIVERSE?
If they run with it, yes.
SO THERE’S NOW AN ALTERNATE REALITY WHERE LOKI ESCAPED WITH THE TESSERACT INSTEAD OF BEING TAKEN TO ASGARD FOR TRIAL.
That’s right. And also in that alternate reality, Captain America knows earlier than before that Bucky is alive. Also, Hydra may or may not believe that Cap is one of them. So, yeah, the alternate reality where Hulk took the stairs has got a lot going on.
IS THIS ALTERNATE LOKI GOING TO BE THE FOCUS OF THE LOKI SERIES ON DISNEY+?
Possibly. Or it could be a prequel series. I’d probably watch Hiddleston as Loki doing a cooking show, to be honest.
IF THE STONES ARE RETURNED TO THE WHERE AND WHEN THEY WERE HEISTED FROM, WILL THAT REALLY KEEP ALTERNATE REALITIES FROM BRANCHING OFF?
This is a tricky one. I’m thinking No. And the reason is if you make any changes at all to the past, you change the future (although in this case, apparently in the MCU you branch off an alternate future). It’s a principle shown in Bradbury’s story, “A Sound of Thunder.”
A SOUND OF WHAT?
Okay, you know the bit in The Simpsons where Homer goes back in time and swats a mosquito and completely alters his reality when he gets back?
OH. YEAH, I SAW THAT ONE.
Right. Any seemingly inconsequential action that happens in the past that is “new” to that past changes the future branching off from that past. In fact, the random things that Bruce-Hulk smashes before he heads off to the Sanctum…those weren’t supposed to be smashed by him and certainly not then. So that’s changed something. So I’m thinking you could have repercussions from the time heist in ways we can’t even imagine at the moment.
ARE THERE OTHER BRANCHES THAT WE KNOW HAPPENED AS A RESULT OF ENDGAME?
Well, yeah. There’s the branch where Thanos exited his timestream in 2014, went to 2024, and was ultimately defeated and destroyed. Thus, there’s no Thanos in that reality to attain the Stones and wreak havoc in the first place. And 2014 Gamora is gone too from there, so no Gamora joins those Guardians. In fact, there may not be a Guardians in that reality if Ronan isn’t dispatched by Thanos to get the Power Stone.
There’s the fact that they stole Pym particles from 1970…did they then go and put the Pym particles back too? If not, then we don’t know what those particles would be ultimately used for, or how their disappearance will affect SHIELD/Pym in that reality. Also, Tony meeting his father Howard…who knows what that would affect in Howard’s life going forward?
WOULD 2014 NEBULA AND PRESENT DAY NEBULA REALLY BE ABLE TO SYNC UP THEIR NETWORKS ACROSS THAT FAR A DISTANCE?
I have no idea. But if Thanos can provide that kind of coverage, I’d probably sign up for any wireless plan he had. AT&T appears to be sometimes confounded by clouds.
HOW DID 2014 THANOS GET TO 2024/PRESENT IF NEBULA HAD ONLY ONE PYM PARTICLE FOR HER RETURN AND 2014 NEBULA USED IT?
I’m not sure I understand how this worked either. There had to be a Pym particle used for Thanos’ ship to enter the quantum realm. Kim pointed out that the one Pym particle that remained unused in the entire heist was Natasha’s and it presumably was left on Vormir in 2014. So if Thanos and company knew that in order to get the Soul Stone somebody wasn’t going to be able to leave Vormir, they might have gone there and…acquired it? But yeah…not sure. This is one glaring plot hole for me, to be honest.
OKAY, SO EVEN IF 2014 THANOS GOT A PYM PARTICLE, WOULD THAT BE ENOUGH TO SHRINK HIS WHOLE DAMN SHIP?
Well, it might be a stretch, but…yes. I don’t know what the limitations of Pym particles are, but they appear to treat a single thing as a single thing. A gas truck in Civil War, for example. Or an entire freaking building in Ant-Man and the Wasp. So yeah, that part I could buy.
WHAT HAPPENED TO 2014 GAMORA WHEN 2014 THANOS WAS DEFEATED?
Okay, this is a toss-up. And it sort of depends on how specifically Tony used the Gauntlet. If he basically willed Thanos’ entire army to disintegrate, then 2014 Gamora could have been included. But if he was thinking something like “make all the bad guys go away” then 2014 Gamora might not have been considered a bad guy at that point and could have survived. I don’t think we quite know how literally the Gauntlet would take your intentions.
ANY CHANCE OF PRESENT-DAY GAMORA OR NATASHA BEING ABLE TO COME BACK?
According to the rules as they seem to have been set out…no. Hulk tried to bring Natasha back when he brought the Vanished back in 2024 and said he couldn’t make it happen. Those transactions to get the Soul Stone appear to be irreversible.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR A BLACK WIDOW MOVIE COMING OUT?
Well, if it’s starring Scarlett as Natasha, then it’s either a prequel or an alternate reality. One would think, anyway.
ANY CHANCE OF HAWKEYE’S REGULAR HAIRCUT BEING ABLE TO COME BACK?
We can only hope.
HOW DID CAP PUT BACK EVERYTHING RIGHT WHERE/WHEN IT WAS RETRIEVED?
Well, the Stones and Mjolnir were apparently returned when Cap went back into the Quantum Realm. I think it’s a little weird that they sent one guy to basically jump around time and space and do all of that, but okay. Fine. Presumably since he was using the time/space GPS, he was able to go all the places the team previously had gone. I would love to have seen his interaction with the Red Skull.
HOW DID HE PUT THEM ALL BACK JUST AS THEY FOUND THEM, THOUGH?
Yeah, this is another plot hole as far as I can tell. They pulled the Aether/Reality Stone out of Jane Foster…so did they have a way to revert it from the Stone back into the Aether? Was Cap supposed to put the Space Stone back into a box so it was the Tesseract again? No idea.
HOW DID CAP GET BACK TO THE PRESENT, AND SPECIFICALLY THE PRESENT/REALITY HE CAME FROM?
Well, Kim pointed out that we never found out who Peggy Carter’s husband was. Her description of him that Cap overhears in Winter Soldier…actually fits him. If you change something, then reality branches…but Cap went back to a certain point and rode the timestream forward. And just stayed out of everyone’s way (especially himself’s). Because he apparently already did this…it was his future (though it took place in the past) so he could get away with it. It’s a little messed up, considering he knows when Peggy will die and knows she will get Alzheimer’s. And knows that he could step in and try to help/stop things he knows that are coming…but I think he knows that won’t help the reality he came from, just create a new branching reality. So “his” friends wouldn’t be helped at all. And he wants to get back to his present so he can pass on the shield.
WHERE DID HE GET THE SHIELD? HIS SHIELD GOT SHREDDED.
I am…not sure at all. I mean…there are possibilities. We’ve seen a prototype shield in Tony’s workshop at one point. Could there have been a second shield? I think in the comics, if I remember correctly, there’s a point made about how the shield was a unique one-time thing that couldn’t be duplicated. (That may have been retconned out of existence…it’s Marvel, so that’s highly likely.) I don’t know that we had that same stipulation in the movies…? So that’s one idea. The other idea is he just went to some other reality where the shield was hanging out unused and stole it? I’m not sure. I mean…there are ways he could have gotten one but I don’t know that we know which one.
SO SAM IS THE NEW CAP.
Looks that way, yes. I hope they put that movie out ASAP so we can gleefully watch racists’ heads explode.
SO WHAT ABOUT THIS WINTER SOLDIER/FALCON SERIES ON DISNEY+?
Prequel? Alternate reality? Impending name change? Who knows?
SPEAKING OF WHICH, SINCE VISION IS APPARENTLY STILL DEAD, WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE “WANDAVISION” SHOW ON DISNEY+?
No clue. Again: prequel, alternate reality, who knows. Maybe Shuri backed Vision up before Thanos killed him? No idea. The fact it’s being called “WandaVision” makes me kind of hope it’s Vision and the Scarlet Witch hosting a talk show.
AND THOR IS IN GUARDIANS 3?
Looks that way, yes. I hope he is. I think that would be an amusing mashup.
WASN’T DAD-BOD THOR A LITTLE SILLY?
Maybe, but Hemsworth was playing it perfectly: he’s a guy traumatized by feeling like he failed the entire universe. Remember that time you got a C on your report card and you felt like you had let your parents down? Just imagine getting an F on your report card and your parents were actually THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Oh, and by getting an F you made one of your parents get disintegrated.
IS HULK GOING TO GET HIS ARM BACK?
Probably. If anybody would be able to heal from that, it would be the Hulk. We’ve already established he’s pretty much immortal.
ARE WE GETTING A NEW IRON MAN?
I think eventually, yes. Who it’s going to be…no clue.
COULD WE GET TONY BACK?
I mean…I guess? But his arc was so good. I hope they just leave it alone.
COULD WE GET NON-OLD STEVE ROGERS BACK?
See my answer for Tony. As much as I would love more Chris Evans…he’s served and served damn well. They could both appear in flashbacks, but going forward: I hope not. I think if Marvel starts treating MCU continuity as badly as they treat the comic continuity, that will kill the franchise.
SO IS SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME GOING TO TAKE PLACE POST-ENDGAME IN 2024?
I mean…I guess so? But as far as the MCU as a whole going forward, I have no idea what they’re going to do. It was an incredibly ballsy move to not have Stark undo the Snap completely. That’s normally what happens in the comics: you go back to some version of the status quo. But by bringing the Vanished back after a five year gap in their lives, you have the entire human race traumatized by what’s happened. Well, I mean…the whole freaking universe traumatized. That will have to be addressed.
BUT…IF PETER WAS GONE FOR FIVE YEARS, WOULDN’T THAT MEAN HIS FRIENDS WHO DIDN’T VANISH WOULD HAVE KEPT GOING IN SCHOOL? HOW ARE THEY STILL ALL IN THE SAME YEAR? AND WHO WAS LEADER OF WAKANDA WHILE T’CHALLA WAS GONE? IF ALL LIVING THINGS WERE HALVED BY THANOS AND TONY BROUGHT EVERYTHING BACK…WHAT HAPPENS TO AN ECOSYSTEM THAT SUDDENLY GETS THAT MANY CREATURES RE-INTRODUCED TO IT? AND ANOTHER THING–
Okay, that’s enough for now. I need to go have a drink and lie down. My eyebrows are starting to melt.