Okay, so I’m still seeing posts from people who are confused about the time traveling in Endgame. I’ve already made a post about this so I’ll try to summarize all the main points.
1) Going back in time doesn’t change your own present day. All it does is create a new timeline, which is pretty much an alternate universe. Think of the new timeline as a branch from the main timeline, with the starting point being the moment when the time travelers arrive. The events of the past movies can’t be altered in any way.
2) When Ancient One says they’ll be dooming her new reality by taking away the Infinity Stones, she means that the Avengers could potentially be crippling the alternate universes they are creating with their travels. Think about it, without the Time Gem, Alternate 2012 Doctor Strange won’t be able to defeat Dormammu. That’s why the Avengers have to return the gems by the end of the movie.
3) That said, they didn’t erase the new timelines they made. Erasing the alternate universes would mean the Avengers would have to erase all the trips back to the past (erasing the starting point). Which we already know they can’t do since they can’t undo their past actions. What they’re actually doing is making sure they aren’t dooming any of those alternate universes to an apocalyptic future. Go back to the Doctor Strange example, by returning the Time Gem to Alternate 2012, the Avengers made sure Alternate 2012 Doctor Strange can defeat his universe’s version of Dormammu.
4) MCU Nebula is able to shoot and kill Alternate 2014 Nebula since by that point, Alt Nebula became her own person. She exists on a separate timeline / universe. Using Arrowverse terms, think of Alt Nebula as her doppelgänger.
5) The Avengers are able to return to their own timeline due to the Ant-Man GPS, which is set to the moment they leave to the past. Like Scott says, it’s a “round trip”.
6) Steve Rogers did not live in the MCU past. The Russos have already confirmed that Steve created an alternate 1946, in which he settles down with Peggy and presumably destroys HYDRA before they grow inside SHIELD. After growing old, he uses the Ant-Man GPS and jumps back to the MCU timeline to give the shield to Sam. Agent Carter is still canon, Steve settled down with Alt 1946 Peggy. That being said, the exact point where Steve jumped back to the main timeline is unclear.
7) Going back to point four, that’s why Thanos of 2014 is able to arrive in 2023. Thanos of 2014 is now his own person due to the actions of the Avengers. The only time we see main, MCU Thanos was the opening scene. Think of it like this; there are two versions of Thanos we see in the movie and they’re from two different universes.
8) Yes, this does mean that the Gamora we now have is a doppelgänger of the main timeline Gamora. It’s pretty much the same character but without any of the character development from the Guardians movies and Infinity War. It’s not “our” Gamora but “a” Gamora. Unfortunately, unless Soul World can be opened, main universe Gamora is still dead (maybe this is where Adam Warlock comes in?)
9) Main universe Gamora was sacrificed for main universe Soul Gem. Main universe Black Widow sacrificed herself for Alternate 2014 universe Soul Gem. Two different universes, two different Soul Gems.
10) The Avengers created five alternate universes as a result of their travels (2012, 2013, 2014, 1970, 1946). Alt 2014 might actually be peaceful since they lost their Thanos. EDIT: correction, there's six alternate universes. Clint's test run, when he called for Lila and she went downstairs.
11) If the idea of alternate universes and timelines is confusing, I recommend reading up on multiverse and how Marvel (and DC) incorporate it into their writing. Doctor Strange already mentioned the multiverse, Endgame is where we start to get into the concept.
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WHAT IF I MADE A HILARIOUS BUT INFORMATIVE BOOK THAT TEACHES ANYONE HOW TO REBUILD CIVILIZATION FROM SCRATCH, IN ANY PERIOD OF EARTH’S HISTORY?
THEN WHAT IF I LAUNCHED A KICKSTARTER WHERE YOU COULD GET THE BOOK, BUT ALSO GET AWESOME THINGS LIKE A TIME TRAVEL SURVIVAL BANDANA AND TEMPORAL TOURISM POSTCARDS FROM DIFFERENT PERIODS IN EARTH’S HISTORY, ALL FOR THE SAME PRICE AS YOU’D PAY FOR THE BOOK ALONE??
WELL I HAVE GOOD NEWS BECAUSE ALL THESE THINGS ARE REAL BECAUSE I JUST DID THEM!!!
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Alright, folks, there are a lot of people in my inbox right now talking about time travel and talking about it is just CONFUSING, so I created some visuals with some explanations as I understand it, so let’s go through this together.
This is Steve’s natural timeline:
But then Steve goes back in time!
By the Russos explanation, this is what we have now:
A divergent timeline! EXCEPT???
Thanos turns to dust in 2023. That has specific connotations within the universe, which means the only logical explanation to divine from it is that he is killed rather than sent back to his own time.
The timeline from 2014 onward should collapse. There’s no more 2014!Thanos! But if it DOES collapse, he never traveled to the future to be killed, because there is no “future” to travel to!
But if it DOESN’T collapse, there’s no past!Thanos to create the Gauntlet, thus no Snap, and therefore no reason to time travel in the FIRST place. You having fun yet, gang???
But wait! There’s more!
WHERE IS THE STEVE FROM THE ORIGINAL TIMELINE?
If we have a divergent timeline, there should be 3 different Steves from 1970 onward:
1) The one in the ice
2) The one who stays, creating the divergent timeline
3) The one who doesn’t stay and goes back to his original time
THAT IS HOW THE MULTI-VERSE WORKS.
And then, what??? The other!Steve just casually reality-jumps to the original 2023--which should not even exist anymore!!!--to hand over the shield and be like, “BYE BITCHES I DUN LIVED MY LIFE”?
In conclusion: The Russos did not think this through at all.
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