Avengers: Endgame is finally out which means we know how the Infinity Saga ends. The film is wildly entertaining and it’s packed with tons of callbacks to many of the previous 21 Marvel films, which is something you already know if you’ve already seen it. It also features several controversial choices, which is something you should have expected given this is the fourth movie made by the same people who shocked audiences before.
I had several questions after seeing Endgame, as well as potential explanations for one of the film’s key plot points. And while I wasn’t expecting Marvel to address them just yet, the Russo brothers stepped up to deliver several official responses. Beware, however, that what follows will ruin Endgame for you if you haven’t seen it.
The Russos talked to Chinese-language site QQ, answering several questions related to Endgame. A Redditor then translated all of these questions and answers, and you can check the whole thing in full at the end of this post.
I’ve already explained how time travel works in the MCU, and that what happens to Captain America at the end isn’t clarified adequately on screen. I wondered whether he lived in the MCU-timeline, or created one when he met Peggy in the past, and now we have the official answer. Cap did, in fact, create an alternate reality, one where he lived his life with Peggy. But what year did Cap go back to? I think it’s in 1946 at the earliest, but the Russos wouldn’t say:
Q: Peggy Carter was probably already married and in her mid-40s in 1970, in that case, what year was it that Captain America went back to dance with her?
A: We can’t answer it, for now, this is a story that happened in an alternate reality. Maybe it will be revealed in the future.
Q: Did Captain America’s action at the end affect the timeline? Does that mean there was a time where two CA existed in a same universe?
A: To me, Captain America’s action in the end wasn’t the fact he wanted to change anything; it’s more like he has made a choice. He chose to go back to past and lived with the one he loved for the rest of his life. The time travel in this movie created an alternate reality. He lived a completely different life in that world. We don’t know how exactly his life turned out, but I’d like to believe he still helped many others when they were needed in that world. Yes, there were two CA in that reality, it’s just like what Hulk said, what happened in the past has already happened. If you go back to past, you simply created a new reality. The characters in this movie created new timeline when they went back to the past, but it had no effect to the prime universe. What happened in the past 22 movies was still canon.
The directors made it clear that every change of the past spans a different timeline, something we also explained in great detail a few days ago. For example, we know that there are a bunch of realities out there right now, including one where Loki is alive, and one where Thanos vanished in 2014.
Q: [Endgame’s] plot, is it a parallel universe or a closed time loop?
A: Nope, not a time loop. Both Ancient One and Hulk were right. You can’t change the future by simply going back to past. But it’s possible to create a different alternate future. It’s not butterfly effect. Every decision you made in the past could potentially create a new timeline. For example, the old Cap at the end movie, he lived his married life in a different universe from the main one. He had to make another jump back to the main universe at the end to give the shield to Sam.
So why did Iron Man have to snap Thanos away and not someone else? The Russos explained too:
Q: Why Iron Man has to be the one to do the final snap, couldn’t the people like Thor, Star-Lord or Captain Marvel whom all previously have handled the power of Infinity Stones done it instead?
A: Thor in this movie couldn’t do it, only Hulk was strong enough to do the snap without dying. We are still not sure whether Captain Marvel can also withstand all the power of Infinity Stones at once. The reason we choose to let Iron Man do it in the end was because he was the closest one to Thanos at the time. In all the futures Doctor Strange foresee, Iron Man was the only one who could get close to Thanos and do the snap. People usually think the death of a hero is a horrible tragedy. But we think this is different. When his death was able to bring back hope, to save half of the universe, then his death was powerful and meaningful. We shouldn’t feel too sad or angry about it.
Finally, the Russos also explained that the heroes couldn’t have saved Tony Stark using the Time Stone at the end of Endgame, just like Thanos resurrected Vision at the end of Infinity War:
Q: In IW, Thanos used the time stone to reverse the time so he could the already dead Vision, and it didn’t cause any time parallax. Why did no one use time stone to save Iron Man’s life in EG?
A: It’s because even if you save Iron Man, it will still not change the fact that Thanos will eventually win the war. Among the 14 million possibilities that Doctor Strange has seen, Iron Man’s sacrifice is a must for that one win scenario.
Some people felt like Natasha deserved a funeral just like Tony. I explained the kind of scene that would have really worked well instead of a funeral. The Russos cleared the air regarding this topic as well:
Q: Why didn’t Black Widow get a funeral as well?
A: Did you forget when the heroes were mourning for her after when they returned from the past? Maybe her funeral happened off screen. Maybe it will be shown in future installment because there are still tons of stories in MCU that are waiting to be told.
The directors also explained that when you return the Soul Stone to Vormir, you don’t get the soul back. That means Nat can’t be magically resurrected:
Q: Can you get the soul your sacrificed for the Soul Stone back when you return it?
A: No, the process is irreversible. Even if you have returned it to its original location, you wouldn’t be able to get the person back. In fact, it’s not really returning the Stone, more like put it back properly. The tribute soul for the Soul Stone will forever be sealed in that place, therefore Black Widow is gone forever.
This, in turn, means that the Gamora we knew died for good back in Infinity War.
Thanos’s Pym particles
The Russos also explained how Thanos brought his ship to the future, and it’s exactly what we thought it’d be, he and his children recreated the Pym particles needed to travel through the Quantum Realm:
Q: How did Thanos bring his army to the future?
A: There is a guy called Maw in his army; he was a great wizard. Thanos himself was a brilliant genius as well. Those two easily reverse engineered, and mass-produced Pym Particles.
Here’s the full translation of the questions the Russos answered:
Joe Russo’s Q&A about the plot of Avengers: Endgame in China from marvelstudios