How does time work in Avengers: Endgame (and the Marvel Universe)?
April 30, 2019
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We dive into one of the movie’s confusing plot points.

It’s only days since Avengers: Endgame opened in cinemas, and already the movie has broken various box-office records and was met with acclaim from fans and even critics. The movie runs at 3 hours, highting the lengths that our heroes have to go through to bring everyone back.

But one plot point became a source of confusion for some – and we’ll try our best to explain. Also, before you proceed you should know that we’ll be discussing plot points from the movie so…

SPOILER ALERT!

Ready? Right, so the main plot for Endgame requires the remaining Avengers to go back to the past to acquire the stones and undo Thanos’ snap. This is possible thanks to the Quantum Realm, where time moves differently – evident by the scene where Ant-Man escapes from the Quantum Realm after five years, but in his time it’s only been five hours.

Endgame does its best to make the time travel plot less confusing to follow, and even debunking the rule in movies like Back to the Future where if your past self dies, your present one also disappears. As Banner explains it, “If you travel back into your own past, that destination becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can’t now be changed by your new future.”

In this case, time in the Marvel universe is composed of alternative and multiple timelines. This means that if I go back to the past, I am already creating an alternate timeline where I can do whatever I want, without harming my current self. That timeline that where I left off will have to continue without me.

Take for example Gamora – she was killed off in last year’s Infinity War when Thanos sacrificed her to get the Soul Stone. 2018 Gamora is officially dead – but as you’ve seen in Endgame, Nebula encounters 2014 Gamora, years before she fell in love with Peter Quill and was part of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The movie’s climax brought 2014 Thanos and Gamora to 2023 (present day in the movie after the five-year jump), and by the time it concluded 2014 Gamora now lives in that timeline despite the 2019 Gamora being officially dead.

Even The Ancient One explains this to Bruce Banner when he was acquiring the Time Stone, but her concern is that taking away the stone from her time might have repercussions and as you have seen Bruce promised to give back the stones in the exact time it was taken, making it look like nothing happened. The Ancient One warned him that for that to happen they would need to win – which Bruce promises and later on they did.

That main rule is easy to follow once you get the hang of it, though a few questions still linger even after the credits roll. This includes Steve Rogers coming back to 2023 as an older man: since he ages slowly seeing him look like that means years of being with Peggy, even lasting longer than her lifetime. This is unless Steve traveled to multiple timelines to be with Peggy in alternate scenarios, though you’d question yourself why he managed to travel back to 2023 to give Sam his shield – does that mean he’s in that timeline? Or will he be coming back to another one?

It’s probably a question that doesn’t need to be answered, since as you can see our heroes all got their redemption. It’s a superhero movie, after all, a roller coaster of action and emotion that only asks you to enjoy the ride.

Do you agree with the time travel theories we’ve discussed above? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Avengers: Endgame is now showing across all cinemas in the UAE.

by Victor Philip Ortiz
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff. Passionate for all things tech - you’ll normally find him tinkering with the latest gadgets and computer peripherals. He is an avid collector of Blu-ray discs and occasionally plays on his Xbox.
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