Avengers: Endgame — Ten questions you may have after watching the final film in Marvel's Infinity Saga
Warning: This article has major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, if you’ve not seen the film, it’s not yet time to read this.
So, you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame and you even had decent seats, lucky you. But now that the catharsis has worn off, you have questions. Questions that even watching Thanos quietly accept his fate as he turns to dust can’t quell for long. Well, I have answers, a few theories and a bit of wild speculation.
Let’s start with what most of you were probably thinking right at the end of the movie.
The young mystery man standing by himself behind Wanda Maximoff at Tony Stark’s funeral? This was the first thing I googled after getting out of the theatre and the internet didn’t disappoint. If you were wondering and didn’t look it up yet, that is believed to be Harley Keener, the boy that Stark befriended in Tennessee during the events of Iron Man 3.
Remember when getting his Malibu home destroyed was the worst thing to happen to Stark? Ah, such innocent days.
Are the Infinity Stones truly gone?
It’s true they have been destroyed, but they are unlikely to be gone for good, even if they don’t play a central role in future MCU films. As The Ancient One told Banner/Hulk when he was retrieving the Time Stone, the stones themselves are the physical manifestations of the fundamental forces of the Universe. By that logic, destroying them should have destroyed the Universe in its entirety as well. And since the Universe is still around, we can only assume the Infinity Stones are equally resilient.
Turning to the comics offers some confirmation of this theory since in Marvel comics, the Infinity Gems can be destroyed, but will eventually reform elsewhere in the cosmos. It appears that cosmic power and those who covet it could potentially threaten the universe once again in the future.
What is the fate Of Black Widow?
Since Black Widow’s soul was claimed by the Soul Gem, there’s no way to bring her back. At least that’s what Banner seems to think. I like Jeremy Renner, but with all due respect to Barton, it’s a travesty that the worst Avenger walked away from Vormir with the Soul Stone and at this point has survived yet another cataclysmic event.
But it’s possible that Black Widow isn’t as dead as we are being asked to believe. We all know that souls claimed by the Soul Stone are safely deposited in a pocket dimension existing within the stone, a ‘Soul World’ if you will (It’s where Thanos and young Gamora were temporarily reunited at the end of Infinity War).
It’s not impossible that Natasha Romanoff received similar treatment from the stone and is currently in the most zen space imaginable. While it is true that the stones have been destroyed in this timeline, it is also true that the Soul World appears to exist outside the normal confines of space and time, perhaps existing with all its occupants at all times simultaneously.
With her long over-due solo film finally due for release soon, it was indeed a strange decision to have Black Widow die in Avengers: Endgame.
Even when we are familiar with a character, knowing how she meets her end can distract audiences from fully enjoying the exploration of her mysterious background. It’s all the stranger when you consider that at this point, everyone else who died from anything other than the Thanos snap during Infinity War has managed to return, or will soon do so in one way or the other (except for Heimdall from what I can tell). The Vision will apparently be part of Scarlett Witch’s spinoff TV show, WandaVision (which sounds like it takes place in a ‘House of M’ inspired dreamworld of her own creation). Similarly, Loki is currently getting ready for the return of the God of mischief in his own small screen adaptation (more on him in a bit). Even Gamora, who found herself dead at the bottom of a pit at the hands of her adoptive father, Thanos, has managed to be at least temporarily replaced by a past version of herself.
So, with everyone else back how does it make sense that Romanoff is the odd woman out? Maybe she won’t be. We know that escape from the Soul World is difficult but possible; if only she had the aid of someone who has been proven to be capable of that, oh I don’t know, maybe someone who we’ll probably be seeing by the next Guardians of the Galaxy, Adam Warlock.
What new scrutiny has humanity brought upon itself?
Back in 2012, Thor declared that Earth’s possession and use of the Tesseract would be taken as an indication that they were prepared for ‘A higher form of war’. Several years later, Vision posited that the continued success of the Avengers had turned the Earth into a veritable lightning rod for other-worldly or extra-dimensional threats, stating ‘Our very strength invites challenge.’
It won’t be long before other worlds start hearing tales of how humanity not only brought the universe’s most prominent genocide enthusiast to justice twice, (well technically they were both acts of extrajudicial killings by vigilantes) but were also the ones responsible for reversing the act which wiped out trillions of lives in an instant.
While that reputation will likely see Earth and the Avengers lauded as heroes by many worlds, it’s possible that their actions could put them on the radar of extremely powerful forces who may see them as a threat, a challenge to their strength, or fear that they are upsetting the balance of power in the galaxy/universe/multi-verse.
Will we be seeing Loki again?
Yeah, maybe. In some version of reality, Loki has grabbed the Space Stone in 2012 and escaped custody immediately after the battle of New York. Given the trickster God’s penchant for showing up in places he shouldn’t be able to go, and the fact that he now wields the Space Stone, it’s not impossible, and I’d say, even likely that he could start popping up in the prime reality to cause trouble for his brother.
Loki also has a TV show in the works for Disney’s new streaming service Disney+, so even if he’s out of the MCU, at least we’ll see the adoptive Odinson on his own new adventures across the nine realms.
Does ‘Old Man Steve’ break the rules of time travel as determined by Banner?
It’s made pretty clear in the films by Bruce Banner (or Professor Hulk if you prefer), that wading through the time-stream and changing the course of events won’t alter their present, but instead create a new offshoot reality whose future they cannot predict and play no part in. It is precisely this fact that enables Nebula to shoot and kill her time-travelling past-self with no apparent paradox-related repercussions erasing her from existence (although, chillingly, given their shared memories, Nebula can now perhaps actually remember the experience of her death from both the perspective of killer and victim). The Ancient One also seems to suggest this when stating her arguments for why she shouldn’t relinquish the Time Stone to Banner.
However, this inexplicably does not seem to apply to Steven Rogers, who goes AWOL in the past after completing his mission to return the Stones (and Mjolnir) to their correct time and places to none of their past/alternate selves would be any the wiser. Despite the fact that Steve staying in the past should create a new reality, he nevertheless, ends up waiting on a park bench near the time machine for Sam. Kind of like that scene at the end of Back to the Future 2, where Marty gets a letter from Doc Brown a hundred years in the past, just seconds after he disappeared.
So, how’d Steve do it? Honestly, I have no idea and it could be that this is just a plot hole rather than an as-yet-unexplained phenomenon.
Why was Cap’s influence on events not felt in the future?
And while we’re on the subject of Steve’s escapades in time, I have to ask, did he not tell anyone, anything about the future? Not even a single word to his one-time friend and ally Howard Stark or his main-squeeze turned wife Peggy Carter, that S.H.I.E.L.D., the global peacekeeping organisation they had helped create, was vulnerable to infiltration from their mortal enemies, Hydra?
That’s saying nothing of the Ultron crisis, the Chitauri invasion of New York or the most recent matter of a furious aubergine extinguishing half of all life in the Universe, who succeeded primarily because the heroes were simply under-prepared. With no paradoxes or time distortions to worry about (apparently), why not share this wisdom with his friends.
Will there be a new Iron Man?
Apart from Black Widow, this is the other big question. After kicking off the MCU in 2008 and dominating it ever since, Iron Man has consistently been key to the success of The Avengers, as well as the financial success of the MCU. Given how Endgame played out, with Tony both solving time travel over the course of a few days and also wielding the Infinity Gauntlet to hand Thanos his final defeat, it’s clear that Marvel agreed.
But final victory against the mad titan cost Stark his life. So how will the MCU make do without their resident genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? Well, they may not have to. In the comics, Stark has died or been practically dead several times, always finding a way to get back in the fight, whether it was by backing his mind up and downloading it to clone or by programming his own consciousness into an A.I.
This second approach could be a great way to keep Stark around even beyond death if desired (provided Downey Jr. ever agrees to reprise the role.) and would allow him to not only continue his scientific work but fight alongside the Avengers once again as an A.I. controlling a suit. Perhaps we may also be introduced to new characters such as Riri Williams (Iron Heart) a college student who built her own suit of Iron Man armour and eventually became the apprentice to a Tony Stark A.I.
While it was a recorded message, we even got to see Tony as a hologram when we saw the recording he left for Pepper and Morgan. It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility (in fact it’s pretty darn likely) that a character as powerful and intelligent and with as much to lose as Iron Man, would find a way to make sure that his work was able to live on and continue to protect the Earth, even if he could not.
Did Iron Man change anything else with his ‘snap’?
No clue, but wouldn’t it be great if he did? If anyone could have the presence of mind to jam a whole lot of cosmic commands into that one action while under pressure it would definitely be Stark. He didn’t turn all worlds in the universe into a paradise or anything, but maybe he made a few, more subtle changes to the nature of the universe. Only time will tell on this one.
Are the Atlanteans about to reveal themselves?
This is mostly wild speculation, but early in the film, General Okoye mentions an underwater earthquake during a meeting regarding rebuilding efforts on Earth. It’s a throwaway comment and ultimately it could be just that, but it does seem like it could also be a carefully constructed and subtle hint about future events in the Marvel Universe, specifically the emergence of the Kingdom of Atlantis.
Given that the Wakanda and Atlantis have a strained and frequently hostile relationship, the fact that the Wakandan General is reporting on this event makes it feel a lot like foreshadowing for the introduction of Marvel’s chief aquatic superhero/villain/anti-hero) Namor the Submariner.
Bonus - 11. Will Thor meet Beta-Ray-Bill?
Okay, this is not actually a question that I had, though it is one that some fans have been asking online. But I do think I have an answer, so I thought it’s worth including. With the former sovereign apparently teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the door is open for them to possibly cross paths with fan favourite from the Thor comics, Beta-Ray-Bill, champion of the Korbinite people and one of only a handful of heroes ever deemed worthy of lifting Mjolnir.
Many have speculated that we could see Bill make his debut in phase 4 of the MCU, but right now I’m leaning towards, probably not. By my reckoning, it seems a little late to introduce Bill since his main claim to fame is that he was worthy of Mjolnir. At this point, both Vision and Steve Rogers have already wielded Mjolnir, so there’s really no novelty. Besides, currently, in the main continuity of events in both the comics and the MCU, Mjolnir is only a memory.
Although Thor does have another powerful enchanted weapon, Stormbreaker notably has no requirement of worthiness in order to use it since Odin was already dead before it was forged. Which is part of the reason why Thanos was able to use it against the Thundergod during their final confrontation with no visible drawbacks.
Besides remember that Bill was included as an Easter-egg in Thor: Ragnarok, where those in the know (who weren’t blinking at the time) would have seen Beta-Ray-Bill depicted as a former grand champion of Sakaar’s gladiatorial arena.
So, unfortunately, with his main claim to fame gone, and the odds being good that very few before the Hulk were able to survive quitting the position of grand champion, I have my doubts that the MCU and the Korbinites are likely to cross paths despite my personal fondness for the character.
Well, those are all the burning questions I had after watching Avengers: Endgame. Thankfully, for some of these answers, we probably won’t have to wait too long as now that Endgame is out, Marvel is free to stop holding back information about phase 4 of the MCU.
Here’s hoping MCU’s second act can live up to what we’ve come to expect from the epic successful franchise over the last 11 years.
Updated Date: Apr 29, 2019 16:52:53 IST
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