The time has come to kick off an open thread to serve as a safe repository for your Avengers: Endgame reactions. Spoilers ahead, because that’s the point!
***SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRETY OF AVENGERS: ENDGAME ARE INEVITABLE***
While we here at The Mary Sue have a lot of opinions we’re keen to share with you next week, we wanted to provide a central place for our commenters to talk about the movie, away from the innocent eyes of those who have not seen it yet. Or perhaps you have no plans to see it, but are here to see your fellows tear the film into tiny, bite-sized pieces.
To start things off, I’m hoping our excellent hivemind can help us parse how the hell time travel functions in this film. I’ve spent a week thinking about it and discussed it with more than a dozen people, but no one seems to have an all-encompassing take.
Here’s where I’m confused: going by Endgame‘s rules of time travel, going back in time does not change the past, so the past remains a sort of static sandbox that you can play around in without fear of disrupting the future. The only thing that can make an impact on the past is the removal of the Infinity Stones, hence the need to return all the Stones to their proper places in time at the end of the movie. OK.
But what happens to all of the changes that the Avengers end up making in the past? To name a few things that stand out: Loki gets away with the Tesseract, Nebula kills her past self, Hydra now thinks Captain America’s one of them, Thanos from the past is pulled into the future and is killed, Steve goes back in time and marries Peggy Carter.
Are we meant to believe that these changes made are now totally diverging timelines from what we know? Or are they just supposed to be independent pasts that are playing out on their own after the Avengers’ meddling? Let’s take Loki here as an example. He escapes the Battle of New York with the Tesseract. Is he running around a brand-new timeline where everything in New York went differently, or does he still exist somewhere in the Avengers Prime world? This is relevant because some of us suspect the Loki Disney+ show will be based on this 2012-era Loki, who is now alive, but where and when?
Somewhat more distressingly, if the past can’t change the future, what about when the Avengers willfully and purposefully alter what already occurred? Steve goes back and marries Peggy. What about the entire life she had without him when he was in the ice? Did that still happen, or is it retconned? And if Steve is living out a new, divergent past unconnected to the present, how does he come back to reconnect with Sam and Bucky at the end?
It seems to me that Endgame wanted to eat its time travel cake without worrying that every new action taken in the past would have ripple effects in the future. But I haven’t seen a satisfactory explanation of what becomes of that altered past as it continues. If you can shed some light on the mechanics of how you think things are supposed to work here, that would be great.
Time travel questions aside, I want to hear about what you loved, what you hated, what surprised you, any lingering questions you have left. What’s on your mind? Tell us everything.
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