When you’re dealing with a cinematic universe as extensive and interconnected as Marvel’s 22-film saga that culminated with Avengers: Endgame, it’s pretty much a given that superfans will have plenty of material not only to chew over but to fuel theories and speculation about how everything fits together. And not just that, but that also fuels assertions about why certain choices were made — and even spaws seemingly wild guesses about things we might have missed.
One of the most so-amazing-it-has-to-be-true theories that emerged from the tireless MCU fanbase has to do with the origin of the “I love you 3000” line that Tony Stark and his daughter share with each other. In a new interview, the Russo brothers who co-directed the movie directly address the theory with a response that seeks to address the extraordinary coincidence at the heart of the theory.
The line certainly packs a punch with fans, especially because of its re-use later in the movie in the recording played at Tony’s funeral. Fans had originally theorized that it was a reference to the cumulative runtimes of every MCU movie in Phase 3, including Spider-Man: Far From Home. Including the latter’s 129 minute runtime, as we mentioned here, that gives you a whopping 3000 total minutes of content. A coincidence that you’ve just got to love 3000.
Unfortunately, the truth is much less mind-blowing. Speaking with Deco Drive, Joe Russo finally addressed the theory by noting that it’s “absolutely coincidental” that it matches up with the total MCU runtime. “We’re not that smart.” Picking up the thought from there, Anthony Russo chimed in by adding that “it’s hard enough to make these movies. To try and hit a minute count like that seems off the mark.”
However, “I love you 3000” is not just a throwaway line, either.
The directors’ had already confirmed its origin as being something one of Robert Downey Jr.’s children said to him. The Iron Man actor loved the phrase so much he pressed for its inclusion in the film, something the directors confirmed last month, separate from pointing out that its relationship to the 22 films’ runtime is purely coincidence.
Fans can enjoy Tony deliver that line all over again, and the rest of the thrilling Endgame story, when a re-released version of the movie with extra material tacked on to the end arrives in theaters this weekend.