The world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a lot like ours. Sure, Wakanda may not exist in the real world, but our reality and the MCU overlaps in other ways. Okoye did want a Starbucks after all which means the world of the MCU might have Sesame Street and it's that idea that inspires what might be the most heartbreaking mashup ever.
Shared over on Tumblr, one Avengers: Infinity War fan set up a conversation about what they called "the pedagogical implications Thanos' snap would have on the Sesame Street curriculum within the greater MCU." As you can imagine, things got sad with people imagining Bert without Ernie and discussing the idea of what lesson the program could center on post-Snap. One user, however, figured out exactly the lesson the program would teach: one about unexplainable loss.
It's a description which you can check out in full here, but the general gist is the beloved and iconic Big Bird is waiting in front of Hooper's Store for a very long time, well past the time when proprietor Alan usually opens up. Eventually Chris, the student who works part-time for Alan at the store, arrives having been crying and informs Big Bird that they won't' be opening the store. When Big Bird doesn't understand why, Chris explains the Snap and eventually informs him that Alan is among the many missing and there's no answers.
"Is Alan dead, Chris? Big Bird asks. "I remember when Mr. Hooper died."
"The honest answer is that we don't know. He might be. Or he might just be missing."
Big Bird tries to understand that. "Missing?"
"Yeah," Chris says. "He might come back some day, and he might not. We just don't know."
The imagined episode goes on to have Chris explain how other people they love may be gone and how their loved ones may come back someday, but they also may be lost forever. Chris ultimately offers Big Bird the solution that all they can do is love and take care of those who are left, solid advice for Big Bird and the kids watching in the MCU.
While the Infinity War/Sesame Street mashup is a crushing work of fan fiction, there's real-world precedent for it. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Sesame Street found a way to address the tragic events by addressing the aftermath and the emotions of fear and of no longer feeling safe. In that episode, the show uses metaphor -- specifically a fire in Hooper's Store and Elmo feeling too scared to go back to the store after all is safe again -- as a way to help children process and understand.
With the Snap being an event that would have an arguably more devastating impact on children, it makes sense that an MCU Sesame Street might tackle things a bit more directly and there's precedent for that, too. When Will Lee, the man who played Mr. Hooper on the series, died in 1982 they broke the news to Big Bird -- and thus children in the audience -- in a similar fashion, gently and lovingly explaining things to him while also trying to reassure him that a new normal would settle in.
Here's to hoping that, should those lost be brought back in Avengers 4, Alan returns and gives Big Bird a great big hug.
Avengers: Infinity War is now available on digital HD and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 14.