Back during the filming of Avengers: Infinity War speculative reports surfaced about the MCU using time travel. This didn’t happen in the movie, but will Avengers: Endgame use a similar catastrophe-avoiding and death-defying technique, hinted at during the recent trailer?
In the Avengers: Endgame trailer Steve Rogers looks longingly at Agent Carter’s effigy. The camera pauses on the photograph of Peggy and reminds us all of Steve’s loss during the sequence where they discuss whether the world is doomed or whether they have a new plan that might work. It’s not a coincidence that this visual and this conversation were edited together. Arcing back to Captain America: The First Avenger it reminds us that when Steve thought all was lost during World War Two, it wasn’t and himself and the world recovered. It also serves to show just how much Steve would give anything to see Peggy again and how much he misses her even so many years later, after her death.
When you factor in that time-travel or bending existing realities seems a viable option for reversing Thanos’ snap, you start to wonder if this is where the MCU is heading. The comic books have explored extensively introducing alternate realities or changing existing realities into brand new clean slates for characters using magic and cosmic stones or cubes. More recently in Secret Empire and Infinity Wars’ comics but also stories like the controversial Brand New Day.
The only hint at how to save the day shown to us during Avengers: Infinity War is through Doctor Strange. We learn that there is one possible outcome to succeed and Stephen Strange saves Tony Stark for a reason. Doctor Strange’s entire first movie explored the realms of time travel, bending reality and space as well as the discovery of different plains of existence. Maybe these are the answers to how Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will succeed?
Earlier in the year, we saw that Hayley Atwell was on the set of the Avengers as her much-loved character Peggy Carter. The Russo Brother’s shot both Infinity War and Endgame back-to-back and as Atwell does not appear in Infinity War it could be assumed she will appear in Endgame. Will she return to Steve’s present through changing current realities and rewriting history? Or will Steve use time travel to save the day and revisit his past?
The Infinity Stone’s that have been used the least so far are the Soul Stone and the Reality Stone. These can bring people’s soul back from the dead and rewrite reality. Combined with the Time Stone which can instigate time travel and that we now know the secrets of the Quantum Realm from Ant-Man, these seem like viable solutions.
Perhaps the Avengers will be able to save the world by putting in place a new reality. This would be a strategic move for Phase Four of the MCU. It could bring back favorite characters who no longer exist in the current canon like Agent Carter or Loki. It could provide a clean slate for newer characters like Spider-man or Black Panther to come bounding into the next phase. It could allow characters like Iron Man and Captain America to be altered, re-cast or become less significant in the MCU to make way for a new generation of heroes. Kevin Fiege has described Phase 3 as the end to the chapter and Phase 4 as a new start, altogether different from the last ten years. Based on the method’s comic’s have used to rebrand or restart new runs, it seems like rewriting reality or using time travel to alter the present could be an exciting way to achieve this as well as give old characters new environments and relationships to challenge them in innovative ways.
Only time will tell as Avengers: Endgame is currently slated for April 2019.