No one is denying that Avengers: Endgame was an epic event, bringing nearly every major character from Marvel Studios together for a climactic confrontation against Thanos with the fate of the universe at stake. But the ending? Well, some fans are confused about it, while others are lambasting it entirely. In fact, even directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have different ideas of what it all means.
In separate interviews, the directors and the writers both offered separate opinions on what those final scenes mean, as well as the rules they established for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And now we're even more confused by the whole thing.
Warning: Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below.
After the ending of the film showed Steve Rogers as an old man, ready to pass on the shield and mantle of Captain America, fans had questions about the branching timelines that were presented.
Markus explained that only the removal of an Infinity Stone from the timeline would create a branching alternate reality, as he said to Fandango.
"That is our theory. We are not experts on time travel, but the Ancient One specifically states that when you take an Infinity Stone out of a timeline it creates a new timeline," said Markus. "So Steve going back and just being there would not create a new timeline. So I reject the 'Steve is in an alternate reality' theory. I do believe that there is simply a period in world history from about '48 to now where there are two Steve Rogers. And anyway, for a large chunk of that one of them is frozen in ice. So it's not like they'd be running into each other."
And yet, Joe Russo seemingly contradicted the writer's statement when they offer their own interpretation on the film's end, according to a Q&A with Chinese tech giant Tencent QQ.
"The time travel in this movie created an alternate reality," Joe said. "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."
These are obviously opposing viewpoints; one says that only the Infinity Stones leaving can create deviations, while the other supposes that ANY change would cause an alternate timeline. The latter does leave more story opportunities for future filmmakers, but the former does offer more rigid rules that are easier to follow.
Maybe we'll find out how Marvel Studios decides to tackle that when Spider-Man: Far From Home premieres in theaters later this summer.
Avengers: Endgame is now playing in theaters. You can catch our own Q&A with the director next week, when Game Over: An Evening With Joe Russo airs on Facebook Live on Monday, May 6th.
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