By The Impersonator 5 Comments
Understanding the Endgame Timeline
These days, time travel can be a real headache for anyone. After watching the movie, you keep scratching your head, and wondering what just happened. For those of you, who are trying to understand what happened during the time trips, and Cap's happy ending. I'll try to explain this time-travel complication, just like "Understanding the Terminator Timeline."
BEEP! BEEP! Warning! Spoilers Ahead! BEEP! BEEP!
The Avengers’ plan is to steal the Infinity Stones, which the Ant-Man dubbed the "Time Heist," from different time periods before Thanos gets them. This is the only way to ensure that purpose, so that they can recreate the Infinity Gauntlet in 2023, and bring everyone back after being dusted in 2018. In 2018, Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones, therefore time travel was the only solution for the Avengers.
Original Timeline- Post-Snap Crisis, 2018 and 2023 A.D.
The entire universe is in shambles. The last remaining survivors struggled to move on with their lives when they find their loved ones got snapped by Thanos. Earth is in peril, and the surviving Avengers couldn't do anything about it. Tony Stark, who was stranded in space along with Nebula, came back to Earth after being rescued by Captain Marvel. The Avengers decided to pay Thanos a visit, after Rocket Racoon figured out his planetary coordinates. They intent to capture Thanos and undo his snap. But Thanos said he destroyed the Infinity Stones, so the Avengers couldn't undo his snap. After Thor finally killed Thanos, the Avengers split, and moved on with their lives. Five years have passed, and Ant-Man was trapped inside the Quantum Realm. Thanks to a rat, he finally got out and find himself in the decimated world of 2023. Scott goes to the Avengers and notify his survival. He then provides another solution for undoing Thanos' snap, and that is time travel.
Timeline 1- Clint Barton's Farm, 2018 A.D. (Pre-Snap Crisis)
In order to test out that time travel works through the Quantum Realm, Hawkeye is sent back to 2018 before Thanos snapped half of the universe. Clint's daughter calls her dad. 2023 Clint was about to meet her. But he went back to the present timeline, due to a time-travel, test run.
In case, you're wondering where 2018 Clint was, he could be anywhere, working on the farm, or practicing archery. It didn't matter where he was or what he did. You can go back in time and meet your past self. But if you do that, it will create an alternate timeline. So, it's a relief that 2023 Clint didn't interact with his family or his past self.
Timeline 2- Battle of New York, 2012 A.D.
After the accomplishment of time travel, the Avengers gathered together, and went back to different time periods. First trip is Battle of New York, where the Avengers used to fight Loki and the Chitauri. Here, they must recover the Time Stone, Mind Stone, and the Space Stone.
At the Sanctum Sanctorum, Bruce Banner convinces the Ancient One that he needed the Time Stone to save his 2023 timeline. The Ancient One did warn Banner that once taken the Time Stone from the past, it creates an alternate timeline. Banner said that after saving his 2023 timeline, he can bring the Time Stone and others stones back to their exact locations. He also said that Doctor Strange saw this "Window of Opportunity" in 2018, which means it was the only way to defeat Thanos, and undo his snap.
But it creates a problem. If you take the Time Stone away from the Ancient One, then most likely, the evil forces of other dimensions such as Dormammu could infiltrate their human-dimensional reality. Because the Time Stone was the key to defending Earth. So, how do you know that those outside forces will not infiltrate their reality until the Time Stone has been brought back?
In that case, if the Avengers didn't succeed in saving their 2023 timeline, then the 2012 timeline is fractured. Therefore, Earth will be vulnerable to interdimensional forces in the near future.
When the hidden HYDRA agents once secured the Mind Stone from Loki's Scepter, Cap goes to the elevator with them, to try and take the Mind Stone. He tells them that he has the authority to take it. It’s a callback from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when he fought the HYDRA agents inside the elevator. This time, Cap didn't fight them. Instead, he whispered, "Hail Hydra." Cap retrieved the Mind Stone successfully.
Remember, the Mind Stone is used to give Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their powers. Without the Mind Stone, they would be powerless. Not to mention, Vision wouldn't have been activated in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If that's the case, then the Mind Stone should be returned to its exact location in 2012.
Once Cap takes the Mind Stone, he meets his past version, and that the past version thought 2023 Cap was Loki. So, they fought each other. In the original timeline, the double-Cap fight never happened. This funny moment shouldn’t affect anything because 2012 Cap thought that 2023 Cap was Loki in disguise.
However, 2023 Cap revealed to his past self that Bucky was still alive. Then, he knocked him out. We wonder if 2012 Cap will remember those words, and how that will affect the rest of the 2012 timeline.
Tony and Scott retrieved the Space Stone successfully until Hulk got angry, who couldn't go to the elevator with the Avengers, came downstairs and almost wreak havoc inside the building. This provides the opportunity for Loki to steal the Space Stone again, and disappeared.
Wait! What happened to Loki? What happened to 2012 Loki in the previous movies? Did he ever come back to Asgard? What he did to do with the Space Stone? Where did he go?
A Space Stone is used to transport a person through time and space, so it means that Loki must have escaped to another universe, timeline, or even a planet. Look what happened to Red Skull. He had been transported to planet Vormir after having a fight with Captain America in 1945. If that's the case, then Loki had just created an alternate timeline in 2012. He shouldn't have left 2012 in the first place. Because in the original timeline, Loki was captured and taken to Asgard along with the Space Stone.
This alternate timeline, since Banner mentioned to the Ancient One, that once you bring the Infinity Stones back to their exact locations, the timelines won't get fractured any further. Once Loki took the Space Stone with him, the events in 2012 changed drastically, and Asgard who was supposed to keep the Space Stone is not there anymore. And this situation proved difficult for Tony, Steve and Scott to find another way to get the Space Stone.
This tough situation forces Tony to learn that the Space Stone was also located in the 1970s. How does he know this? Because his father, Howard Stark used to work for SHIELD, creating top-secret projects, and researching the Space Stone. So, Tony and Steve went there to get the stone, leaving Scott behind.
As for Loki's disappearance in 2012, this complication will be hopefully explained in his solo series.
Timeline 2- Camp Lehigh Army Base, 1970 A.D.
Tony and Steve retrieved the Space Stone successfully. But in order to get back to their timeline, they needed more Pym Particles. Once the Pym Particles had been overused, they can't go back. Solution? Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man had experimented the particles in the 1970s.
This creates a problem for the Loki Temporal Principle (Let's call just that). If Tony and Steve steal the Space Stone from 1970, then it creates another timeline. This would cause SHIELD to panic once they find that the Space Stone was stolen. If that's the case, then Loki wouldn't have started the Chitauri invasion because Tony and Steve stole it in 1970.
Again, once the Thanos snap has been reversed in the 2023 timeline, the Space Stone should be put back in 1970. Because, without the Space Stone in 1970, the events of the 2012 timeline wouldn't exist, and therefore, Loki wouldn't have started the Chitauri invasion.
Timeline 3- Asgard, 2013 A.D.
Rocket and Thor retrieved the Reality Stone from Jane Foster, Thor's former girlfriend. Here, Thor's mother, Frigga is about to be attacked by the Dark Elves. In the original timeline, Frigga never interacted with his son from the future. Or even met Rocket.
Taking the Reality Stone does create an alternate timeline, except the fact that Thor's mother was going to die anyways, once Thor and Rocket leaves 2013. Even after returning the Reality Stone to its exact location, the outcome is still the same.
Besides the Reality Stone, Thor also took his favorite weapon, Mjolnir. If he had taken the Mjolnir from 2013, how Malekith was defeated in 2013?
It could explain that there might be another weapon in Asgard, but that's not the case. Thor had to use Mjolnir to defeat Malekith and his army. If not Mjolnir, what weapon did 2013 Thor use?
Thor didn't use any weapon, therefore Malekith wasn't defeated in 2013.
Timeline 4- Morag and Vormir, 2014 A.D.
Nebula and War Machine appears on the planet Morag to steal the Power Stone. These events take place in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1.
Again, it creates another timeline. Once Star-Lord gets knocked out by War Machine, he and Nebula were able to retrieve the Power Stone from the Morag temple. In the original timeline, Star-Lord never got knocked out. Therefore, he was the first person to steal the stone. To ensure that Star-Lord steals the Power Stone in the first place, it should be put back in its exact location.
When War Machine went back to 2023, Nebula got interrupted by her past self, and got stranded in 2014. The 2014 Nebula's eye implant is displaying images from the future. Is this supposed to happen? The eye-implant is not a temporal equipment. So, why 2014 Nebula is receiving these future images from 2023 Nebula?
It’s revealed that the Nebula’s eye implant acts as a memory network that records audio and visual images. A disturbance in the time stream must have activated Nebula’s implant. This could explain why 2014 Nebula is receiving them.
Again, it creates another timeline, now that Thanos knows of the time interference being made by the future Avengers. 2014 Nebula was going to betray him in the future, but she begs Thanos another chance to correct this course of history. What does she do? Capture 2023 Nebula and replace her, and then travels forward to the 2023 timeline. The original 2023 timeline becomes Timeline 5, which we'll be getting there in a moment.
Black Widow and Hawkeye travels to Vormir to get the Soul Stone. When they meet the Red Skull, he explains to them how to get it. Black Widow sacrifices her life to save Hawkeye's family and himself. Hawkeye gets the Soul Stone.
If the Soul Stone gets taken from Vormir in 2014, then Thanos wouldn't have come there to sacrifice his daughter, Gamora to get the Soul Stone in 2018. It means that Hawkeye was the first person to get the Soul Stone.
Timeline 5- Post-Snap Crisis, 2023 A.D.
The original timeline becomes Timeline 5 because 2014 Thanos, Gamora and Nebula have infiltrated the 2023 timeline.
2014 Thanos and his army infiltrates the 2023 timeline, with the help of 2014 Nebula through the use of Quantum Realm, and the stolen Pym Particles. You begin to wonder how Thanos was able to make his warship small by using the particles. He’s that smart.
Once 2014 Thanos and his army infiltrates the 2023 timeline, the Avengers have to stop Thanos again before he attempts to use the new Infinity Gauntlet, again. Only this time, Thanos decided to vaporize the entire universe, and replace it with a new one.
2014 Nebula gets killed by 2023 Nebula with no hesitation. Because at this moment, 2014 Nebula tricked Hawkeye into giving the Infinity Gauntlet, so she can give it to 2014 Thanos. You would think that 2023 Nebula did a stupid thing here. But most likely, it doesn't matter. Because she had caused havoc along with Thanos in her past life, and that kind of life was meaningless and worse. So, killing her past self would end her present existence. But it didn't. Why?
In fact, many viewers will argue that 2023 Nebula supposed to die because she killed her past self in 2014. I was confused when this happened. But if you remember Banner’s temporal discussion with James Rhodes, 2014 Nebula entered the 2023 timeline, and 2023 Nebula kills her with no impact. Therefore, killing her past self wouldn’t cause any changes in the present timeline. It still didn't make sense. Because if 2023 Nebula kills her past self in the future, 2014 Nebula wouldn't infiltrate the 2023 timeline in the first place, or possibly join the Avengers.
It’s just like Professor Hulk said, you can change anything in the past without affecting the future. If the past Nebula arrives in the future, and gets killed by the future Nebula, then there is no effect. Because 2023 Nebula was already part of her home timeline. But what happens when 2023 Nebula kills 2014 Nebula in the past? Would that end 2023 Nebula’s existence?
This complication plays quite similarly in Trunks' timeline (Dragonball Z). Trunks went back in time to change the past. But when he came back to the future, nothing has changed. He may have created an alternate history, but his post-apocalyptic future stayed intact. It means that Future Trunks was already part of his future timeline whereas his past self exists in a non-apocalyptic timeline. So, if past Trunks gets killed, it wouldn’t affect Future Trunks’ existence.
In this case, the 2014 Nebula didn't exist because she left her 2014 timeline and entered 2023, and got killed by her future self. 2023 Nebula still exists.
As for 2014 Gamora wandering around the Post-Snap Crisis Timeline, it creates a speculation of her future in the MCU. In 2014, Gamora never met the Guardians, including Star-Lord for the first time. So, her presence in the present timeline will create a distant boundary from the Guardians. If she survived Tony's snap that is, 2014 Gamora's character will be explored in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
Timeline 6- Post-Second World War, 1945 A.D.
After defeating 2014 Thanos in 2023, Steve Rogers returned the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir back to their exact locations in the time periods that the Avengers already went to. But Steve didn't come back to the 2023 timeline. He planned to stay in the 1940s to live with Peggy Carter for the rest of his life. Then, we noticed that Old Steve Rogers sat on a bench, looking out the front view.
Where did Old Steve Rogers come from? Let's try to wrap our heads and see what just happened.
When Steve Rogers went back to 1945 (Let’s assume this is the date that he went) to reunite with Peggy, he decided to marry her. In this case, the other Steve Rogers, who got trapped in ice after the battle with the Red Skull, exists. Because the events of the previous movies that showed Captain America fighting his enemies, and working with the Avengers should happen. Therefore, there were two Caps in the main MCU timeline.
But when Peggy mentioned to Steve in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that she met someone, and married him, that someone wasn't specifically mentioned. Which begs us the question, whether Peggy and Steve had a secret life together.
It's possible and it makes sense. Peggy thought Steve Rogers died in 1945. But Steve came back and told Peggy the truth that he was from the future. Or he could have lied to her that he survived the battle against the Red Skull.
But if that's the case, then Steve wasn't completely honest with Peggy. It would create out of character for Steve, especially if he wants to live with her. So, he told the entire truth. Instead of looking for the frozen Steve Rogers, she lived with future Steve Rogers through the main timeline until she died. Because the frozen Captain America needs to be awakened in the future, and join the Avengers.
But what happened to the original timeline? Did Peggy really marry someone else? What if she didn't marry at all?
In this case, we'll witness two possible scenarios that might have occurred in 1945.
Post-Second World War Timeline, Possible Scenario 1
Peggy Carter thought Steve Rogers was dead. So, she moved on without him. Along the way, she met someone else, other than Steve Rogers from the future. She married him, and then have kids. Steve Rogers is frozen in ice, wakes up, and fought alongside the Avengers until 2023.
Post-Second World War Timeline, Possible Scenario 2
Peggy Carter never married anyone. Because her love for Steve Rogers was so strong that she couldn't marry another man in her life. If that's the case, then her children from Scenario 1 wouldn't be born, whether she didn't marry an unknown man or 2023 Steve Rogers.
Wait! The picture of Steve Rogers was found on Peggy's desk during her time as the Director of SHIELD in the 1970s. What does this mean? Did Peggy really married Steve during that time, or is she just keeping that picture in honor of Steve's death? We may never know.
Now that Steve lived through his life with Peggy, Old Steve came back to the exact moment in time to meet his best friends, Sam and Bucky. The question is, when or where? Did Steve really did go back to 1945 in the original timeline?
Let's formulate another set of scenarios for this confusing picture. It’s still Timeline 5, even though the actions of 2014 Thanos had affected the Post-Snap Crisis timeline.
Post-Snap Crisis Timeline, Possible Scenario 1
After returning the Infinity Stones to their rightful places, Steve decided to stay in 1945 with Peggy. He married her, and then have kids. The past Steve Rogers is frozen in ice, wakes up, lived until 2023, while 2023 Steve lived secretly with Peggy. Peggy dies on her deathbed. Old Steve Rogers lived in a retirement home or with some of his grown-up kids. There is no indication whether Old Steve Rogers was part of the Thanos' snap. If he didn't get snapped, he could have alerted the Avengers about what's about to happen. But he didn't want to do it because of his private life, and it wasn't the right time to show himself. Not to mention, he was “already” retired, and didn’t want to mess anything in the timeline that he’s in. Because changing anything in the past would create an alternate timeline.
After 2018 Thanos' snap got reversed in 2023, Old Steve waited for the right moment to come out, and visit his best friends. How did he get there? He probably drove his vehicle or some hippie dropped him off.
Post-Snap Crisis Timeline, Possible Scenario 2
After returning the Infinity Stones to their rightful places, Steve decided to stay in 1945 with Peggy. He married her, and then have kids. The past Steve Rogers is frozen in ice, wakes up, lived until 2023, while 2023 Steve lived secretly with Peggy. Peggy dies on her deathbed. After her funeral, Old Steve goes back to the 2023 timeline.
This scenario makes much sense, given the fact where Old Steve Rogers came from. If he did come back from an alternate timeline, he should come through the Quantum Realm. Not just out of nowhere. Because Old Steve Rogers didn't wear the white suit. So, what happened?
Old Steve didn't need the white suit. He could have found another way to return to the 2023 timeline by various, technological means.
Post-Snap Crisis Timeline, What-If Scenario
After returning the Infinity Stones to their rightful places, Steve decided to come back to the 2023 timeline. Why? Because he thought his presence in 1945 could create an alternate timeline, and his future is with the Avengers. After all, the Avengers needed a strong leader. Right? Now that Tony Stark is dead. If that happened, then Old Steve Rogers wouldn't be sitting on the bench. Therefore, Steve didn't live with Peggy his entire life. Either Peggy married someone else or didn't.
But there's another reason for this what-if scenario to happen. Imagine, Tony and Steve did manage to steal the Space Stone from 2012 without Loki's interference. Then, they wouldn't have gone back to 1970 to steal the Space Stone from SHIELD. Steve wouldn't have met Peggy and saw his picture on her desk. This could explain why Steve didn't have to go back to 1945 after returning the Infinity Stones to 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Of course, this scenario doesn't exist because Steve had to go back in time, and spent the rest of his life with Peggy. After all, we saw the Old Steve sitting on the bench.
Aside explaining the complicated timelines, now we head into the important, plot points of time travel. Here goes nothing.
The Use of Quantum Realm
By the time, we reach Endgame, everyone is aware of Quantum Realm and what it can do. This concept of time travel was mentioned in Ant-Man and its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Quantum Realm allows certain individuals to travel to a microscopic universe. Not just that, but different time periods as well.
However, during both Ant-Man movies, we never knew how time travel works in Quantum Realm. So, we get to see how the Avengers did it in Endgame. They created a platform, similar to Doctor Doom's comic version, so they can go to certain points in the past in order to retrieve the Infinity Stones.
The solution sounds simple, but it isn't that simple. You would need to know the exact locations of the Infinity Stones. So, the Avengers pin-pointed their locations by having a group discussion. This way, they can secretly steal them, without notice, and not damaging the timelines. It's not a simple solution.
By working together, the Avengers made it work. However, there is a problem. You would need extra Pym Particles to make the round trip back to the original timeline or other certain points in time. In this case, Tony and Steve went back to 1970 to steal the Pym Particles. But the main reason behind this event is because of Loki stealing the Space Stone, and escaping from 2012.
Besides the Pym Particles, the environmental suits are also required for the time trips. This was clearly mentioned in both Ant-Man and its sequel. The suits provide a safety measure against anything hazardous that might happen in the microverse. That also includes breathable atmosphere.
The other problem is that you could easily get trapped inside the microverse. Look what happened to Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. He got stuck inside the microverse for five hours, but the outside time was five years. So, it feels that Scott was trapped for a short amount of time. If you stay longer in the microverse, you may get trapped, and probably never get out. So, time is short.
Quantum Realm could also lead to a multiverse, a series of parallel universes that exists besides our own. This could lead to the possibility of an X-Men crossover After all, interdimensional travel was also mentioned in Doctor Strange. So, anything is possible.
The Avengers have certainly used the Quantum Realm to their advantage, and successfully completed the mission. By using the Infinity Stones that they have stolen from the different time periods, they undid the 2018 Thanos' snap. Then, Steve returned the stones, and Mjolnir back.
But why go all this trouble in retrieving the Infinity Stones, when they can go back further in time and prevent Thanos from obtaining the Infinity Stones?
The Kill-Baby Thanos Theory
James Rhodes said that you can go back and kill Thanos as a child. But Banner said that's not how time travel works. Why is that? If the Avengers can go back and kill Thanos as a child, then he wouldn't able to obtain the Infinity Stones in the first place. He wouldn't use the Infinity Gauntlet to perform the snap in 2018. Therefore, everyone will be back from the snap. Right? Wrong.
Let's look at Dragonball Z as an example, and try to get some sense here. Future Trunks went back in time to save Goku from a heart condition. But it didn't change the future. Future Trunks only created a divergent timeline, where Goku and his Z-fighting team is alive. Future Trunks thought about this, and realized no matter how much he changes the past, his post-apocalyptic future stays intact.
In this case, you can say that the Avengers can't change their 2023 timeline, just by killing Thanos as a child. You can only change the past, but not the future as stated by Professor Hulk. So, the Avengers didn't take this route because it will only create a divergent timeline where Thanos didn't collect the Infinity Stones, and performed the snap in 2018. So, most likely, someone else might be using the Infinity Stones other than Thanos.
But, if the Avengers did take that route, does the theory undo the snap? No. Because the snap already occurred in 2018, and the Infinity Stones are so powerful that they won't even get affected by any time disturbance in the past. This makes logical sense. Once the snap is done, it's done. In order to bring everyone back, you need to collect the Infinity Stones, and recreate the Infinity Gauntlet. Killing Baby Thanos will not reverse the snap.
The other reason that the Avengers didn't take the easy route is because they aren’t killers. Even Thanos as a child, who is destined to become their archvillain, they still couldn’t do a horrible thing.
As I’ve said before, the Pym Particles are needed to travel back and forth through the Quantum Realm. Otherwise, the Avengers would have found themselves trapped in one of the alternate timelines. In this case, they need extra ones, but where can they get them?
Ever since Loki escaped from 2012, Tony and Steve traveled to 1970, so that they could steal the earlier version of the Space Stone. Along the way, Steve steals the Pym Particles to make the round trip back.
Now, if we remember correctly from the beginning of Ant-Man, Hank Pym accused Howard Stark in stealing the Pym Particles, so that they could be used to replicate the Ant-Man technology. Hank was angry about this, because the particles are considered dangerous, and if they fall into the wrong hands, Howard Stark is to blame. This is the reason why Hank resigned from SHIELD, and went off the grid. This scene takes place in 1989.
What does this scene mean? Does it connect to the events of 1970? Did Steve already steal the Pym Particles? It sounds far-fetched, but it’s possible. If anything is true, then Steve did steal the Pym Particles, and when Hank found out that the particles were stolen, how do you think he will react?
Hank will have to question somebody in SHIELD that someone had stolen the particles. Besides, he worked hard for the shrinking project, and if anyone had dared to steal them, he would be quite angry.
However, Hank can make more particles, now that they were stolen. But that doesn’t change the fact the particles went missing. They went missing because someone stole them, and that someone turned out to be Steve Rogers.
But if it wasn't Steve Rogers, then it could only mean one thing. Either Howard Stark send one of his fellow colleagues to steal the particles, or a HYDRA agent have infiltrated Hank's lab to steal it.
The Impact of Time Stone’s Existence
The Time Stone plays a huge role in the world of Doctor Strange. Now that the stone has been destroyed after two snaps in the 2023 timeline. What happens now?
Remember what the Ancient One said, that the Time Stone is needed to defend the human realm against the dark forces from other dimensions. Without the Time Stone, these interdimensional beings such as Dormammu, Mephisto, or even Nightmare will infiltrate the human realm, and possibly cause destruction on Earth.
This isn’t good news for Doctor Strange and the other sorcerers out there. What are they going to do about it? Of course, Doctor Strange can’t go back in time, and ask the Ancient One to keep the Time Stone because that will certainly create an alternate timeline.
The possible solution to this problem is either use some other magical object to combat these dark forces, or ask another sorcerer of great experience than the Ancient One. Because the Ancient One is dead now, and the Time Stone has been destroyed due to its overuse.
The Impact of Morgan Stark's Existence
Five years have passed after the events of Infinity War. Tony Stark finally managed to pursue a normal life with Pepper Potts and their daughter, Morgan Stark. But when the Avengers came to Tony's peaceful home cabin, they discussed an idea of stealing the Infinity Stones from different time periods. At first, Tony thought it was crazy, but the Avengers had a good point. It's possible to go back in time, but at what cost?
This whole time-travel theory worried Tony a great deal because Morgan was born in the Post-Snap Crisis timeline. If he and the Avengers attempt to change the past, how this will affect Morgan in the present timeline? Whose life is greater? Morgan's? Or half the lives, who were dusted by 2018 Thanos' snap?
In a way, it's understandable to argue that Tony makes the right choice to live happily with his new family. Besides, Pepper wanted a normal life. Tony also wanted it. He had been a good father to Morgan, unlike his own dad, Howard Stark, who was never there for him. So, this proves the point why he didn't want to join the time- travel craziness. But other lives prove more important that not even Tony and Pepper can ignore. Not to mention, Peter Parker. So, Tony decided to accept the Avengers' crazy plan.
And that plan will lead him to discover that he can preserve his daughter’s existence, without tampering the timelines. If he and the rest of the Avengers can bring the Infinity Stones back to their exact locations in time, Morgan Stark's existence is preserved.
Of course, we know that Banner’s temporal discussion has made it clear that going back in time will only change the past, not the future. How can you trust this statement? Is Banner right about this? There are risks involved in time travel. So, we really don’t know how changing things in the past will affect the future.
The Impact of Loki's Existence
Okay, this “Loki Temporal Principle” can confuse most viewers out there, including me. Logically, we have to assume that there is a different version of Loki that exists in the MCU. Because we know that Loki was killed by Thanos in 2018. And this isn't one of Loki's illusionary tricks, folks. 2018 Loki was really dead, the original timeline's Loki.
What does this mean for 2012 Loki's escape? By taking the Space Stone with him, it creates an alternate timeline, which Loki exists. So, what we're looking at here, is not the Loki, who was killed by Thanos in 2018. But the Loki who escapes from the Avengers and SHIELD after being captured in 2012. Thanks to Hulk's I-Can't-Take-The Elevator rampage, Loki manages to steal the Space Stone and escapes from 2012. If that's the case, how will that affect the 2018 Loki’s existence? Nothing.
Why is that? If 2012 Loki escaped to God-Knows-Where, shouldn't 2018 Loki still be alive? Even in 2023? What about his involvement in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. This raises mind-boggling questions to certain viewers that 2018 Loki should be alive and active because 2012 Loki has escaped to God-Knows-Where. But if you look at Banner's statement about changing the past, the past can only be altered, much like Goku's existence in Dragonball Z. Not the future. Therefore, 2012 Loki is still alive somewhere across time and space.
It raises another question regarding Tony and Steve's involvement in the 1970s. After Loki stealing the Space Stone, Tony and Steve had no choice but to steal an earlier version of the Space Stone. They retrieved it successfully. But the question remains. How will this affect 2012 Loki's existence? Would he still able to steal the Space Stone, and escape from 2012 later on?
Not likely. Loki still wouldn’t exist in 2012 because he’s already gone. Because now, we have a different version of Loki that exists in the 1970s, who has not stolen the Space Stone from SHIELD yet. If that's the case, what happened to 2012 Loki in the events of the Avengers?
2012 Loki has to exist. Right? He should exist because the Battle of New York should exist. But to say that 2012 Loki's absence in the Battle of New York creates an ultimate complication.
Unless, something can be explained that should make sense. Loki who escaped from 2012, even though Tony and Steve stole the Space Stone from 1970, he came back to the 2012 timeline. It sounds bit of a stretch. But it should make sense. Right? With the use of the Space Stone, 2012 Loki can come back to his home timeline, and ensure his involvement in his capture. And that also leads to his possible involvement in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. If that's the case, wouldn't he meet his other future selves in both Thor sequels? Not likely. Because Loki already escaped from 2012, which means he wasn't held captive and taken to Asgard in the first place, and the events of Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok acted differently. So, his existence proves absently from both Thor sequels. It even makes Asgard wonder where Loki is. Unless, Loki returns to one of these Thor sequels, Thor: The Dark World (2013) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
But what if 2012 Loki doesn't come back to his home timeline where the Battle of New York happened? What will happen to Loki from 1970 onwards?
In that case, there are two past versions of Loki. From 1970 till 2012, Loki exists because of his future invasion with the Chitauri, and the 2012 Loki who already escaped from 2012. Sounds confusing?
Loki has to exist in 2012 to start the Battle of New York. Without him, who is going to do it? Nobody. So, Loki has to do it. Not 2012 Loki, who escaped with the Space Stone to God-Knows-Where. This time, Loki from 1970 onwards will be hopefully captured by the Avengers, and gets taken to Asgard for his crimes. This will only happen, once Steve returns the Space Stone back to 1970.
Hopefully, this whole "Loki Temporal Principle" will explain things further in his upcoming solo series.
The Impact of Guardians' Existence
Even after Cap returns the Power Stone to the Morag temple, the 2014 timeline is still fractured because Thanos, Gamora, and Nebula traveled forward to the 2023 timeline. This means that they weren't present in 2014 the entire time.
It creates a speculation of what will happen to the Guardians of the Galaxy from there. Besides, if Star-Lord gets to steal the Power Stone, he still wouldn't meet Gamora because she doesn't exist in the 2014 timeline anymore. She's now part of the 2023 timeline, if she survived Tony's snap. Star-Lord probably wouldn't meet the Guardians as well. Because in the original timeline, Star-Lord fought Gamora, since she stole the Power Stone from him. As a result, they got captured by the Nova Corps, and gets taken to Kyln Prison. There, they meet Drax, Rocket, and Groot for the first time.
It also means the events of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 didn't exist. Star-Lord wouldn't get to meet his father, Ego the Living Planet, and Mantis wouldn't have joined the Guardians team. What a mess!
Of course, it is still an alternate timeline thanks to 2014 Nebula's implant. But how this will affect the 2023 timeline for the Guardians. Nothing. If you still look at Banner's statement, as long you put the stones back to their original locations, the timelines won't get fractured any further. But he was wrong. Now we're dealing with an alternate timeline where the Guardians didn't exist at all. Either Star-Lord will stay with the Ravagers team, or be on his own.
We do know that the Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, and Mantis came back from the snap in 2023. But the past alteration didn't affect them. Not to mention, 2014 Gamora might still be alive in the Post-Snap Crisis timeline.
The rules of time travel play differently here, similar as the one that happened in Dragonball Z. But we have to remember, the Avengers went to different points in time that exists in an original timeline. Since they went to different times, and collect the Infinity Stones, the original timeline splits into different variations, meaning separate, alternate timelines, even though the original timeline stays intact.
The Impact of Black Widow's Existence
We have seen Black Widow sacrificed her life in Vormir, so Hawkeye can get the Soul Stone to save his family and himself. However, we do know that 2023 Black Widow's dead body is stranded in Vormir. How does it affect 2014 Black Widow on Earth? Nothing.
Because Black Widow came from the future. In the original timeline, she didn't come to collect the Soul Stone. So, Black Widow coming to Vormir in 2014 doesn't change anything on Earth, where she's still alive.
The Impact of Thanos' Existence
Thanos has been killed twice in Endgame. When we first saw 2018 Thanos beheaded by Thor, we wonder if the Avengers will ever encounter the Mad Titan again. Thanks to time travel, we do see that happen in 2014, where the Avengers have to steal the Power Stone in planet Morag.
In the original timeline, Thanos didn't know the Power Stone's location. He was still on the hunt for the Infinity Stones. When 2023 Nebula enters the picture, that's when things started to get interesting for the Mad Titan. Because 2014 Nebula has been receiving future images from 2023 Nebula. This dire situation forces Thanos to act fast, and prevent the future Avengers from spoiling his master plan.
2014 Thanos' plan was to allow 2014 Nebula capture her future self, and then replace her, so that she could infiltrate the 2023 timeline. During that time, the Avengers didn't know the temporal switch. 2014 Nebula managed to bring 2014 Thanos and his army to the 2023 timeline through the Quantum Realm.
In the 2023 timeline, 2014 Nebula failed to bring the newly-developed Infinity Gauntlet back to Thanos, since she was killed by her future self. 2014 Thanos' plan was to use the new Infinity Gauntlet to wipe the entire universe, unlike what 2018 Thanos did.
In this case, 2014 Thanos had obtained the Infinity Stones early. If he had left 2014, then 2014 Thanos wouldn't have taken the hard route in finding the Infinity Stones. It creates an alternate timeline. Because 2018 Thanos had performed the snap whereas 2014 Thanos didn't. So, that means, if Thanos left 2014 to pursue the future Avengers, then he wouldn't have performed the snap in 2018.
Again, any time disturbance in the past will not affect the Infinity Stones. Because the snap already happened, no matter what version of Thanos did. So, we're looking at a different version of Thanos, who didn't perform the snap in 2018.
After Tony's snap, 2014 Thanos and his army have been dusted. What does this mean? Was Thanos erased from existence? Because if Tony snapped 2014 Thanos, then the past versions wouldn't exist. Right?
No. You can still go back in time and meet the past versions of Thanos. In a way, he isn’t really dead. He does exist in other timelines, even though 2014 Thanos was snapped in 2023. It's not like Tony wished the alternate versions of Thanos to go away. What we do know is that 2018 Thanos was beheaded by Thor, and 2014 Thanos was snapped by Tony. That's pretty much it.
The Impact of Gamora's Existence
We have not seen 2014 Gamora lately after Tony's snap. Not even after Tony's funeral. So, where is she? She might have escaped from Earth after the final battle. This poses a question, whether she got dusted by Tony's snap.
Tony wishfully snapped for 2014 Thanos and his army to get dusted. It shows that Doctor Strange was right about his "Window of Opportunity" in 2018. It was the only way to defeat Thanos, but not what we have expected.
What about Gamora? Did Tony wishfully snap 2014 Gamora too? After all, she was working with 2014 Thanos. So, it’s possible that she also got dusted.
But Star-Lord was looking at Gamora's image on his starship. What does this mean? It means that 2014 Gamora must have survived Tony's snap. In that case, she might be roaming somewhere across the galaxy in 2023, and it will be explored in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
The Impact of Nebula's Existence
Nebula is a tough one to explain. Because she just killed her past self with no hesitation. So, why Nebula still exists in the 2023 timeline is beyond our understanding. We have to assume when 2014 Nebula infiltrates the 2023 timeline, she becomes a "fixed" point in time, meaning the past Nebula's presence doesn't affect the future Nebula's actions in 2023.
You'll be wondering "Huh?" Is that how time travel works? You can kill your past self in the future? What about the opposites?
Let's take a look at these scenarios and see how they would act differently.
The Kill-Nebula Theory, What-If Scenario 1
Let's say that 2023 Nebula killed her past self in 2014. What then? Will 2023 Nebula still exist? We have to recall Banner's statement earlier. He stated that you can change the past, not the future. But it doesn't make sense. If 2023 Nebula killed her past self in 2014, then Nebula wouldn't have joined the Avengers to stop Thanos from his master plan in the future. Which also means, Nebula shouldn't exist in the 2023 timeline at all.
The Kill-Nebula Theory, What-If Scenario 2
Let's say that 2014 Nebula killed her future self in 2014. What then? It wouldn't change anything because 2023 Nebula comes from the future. So, 2014 Nebula can still exist and have a future, but quite differently. Because she learns that 2023 Nebula had betrayed Thanos after witnessing future images. She can change that.
If that were the case, then 2014 Nebula might get dusted by Tony's snap after infiltrating the 2023 timeline. Unless, Tony doesn't think that way because he survived along with 2023 Nebula in space. Without Nebula’s help, Tony wouldn't have survived. However, he might learn that 2014 Nebula is truly loyal to Thanos. In this scenario, 2014 Nebula will get dusted.
The Kill-Nebula Theory, What-If Scenario 3
Let's say that 2014 Nebula killed her future self in 2023. What then? It still wouldn't change anything because 2014 Nebula still has a future, even though she infiltrated the 2023 timeline. Therefore, she becomes a "fixed" point in time or a temporal replacement. She's already part of the 2023 timeline, now that 2023 Nebula is dead. However, she might get dusted due to Tony's snap. Unless, Tony doesn't think she was loyal to Thanos. However, if he learns that 2014 Nebula is not the Nebula he knew in space, she will get dusted.
The Impact of Captain America's Existence
Besides the "Loki Temporal Principle," we have another one that creates a kind of complication for our favorite Avenger. Captain America, the First Avenger has finally got that dance with Peggy Carter. This situation raises mind-boggling questions, whether Steve Rogers was destined to become Peggy’s husband.
You could argue that has always been the case, much like Kyle Reese was destined to become John Connor's father and Sarah Conner's love in the Terminator franchise. But is this really true for our Captain America that we know and love?
Steve Rogers had always been in love with Peggy. There is no doubt about that. When Steve woke up from the frozen ice, he lost his precious life with Peggy and that she had moved on, after thinking that Captain America was dead. Peggy probably married someone else. Steve couldn't blame her.
However, we wonder whom Peggy really married to. Do we really know? Let's look back at Captain America: The Winter Soldier for instance.
The still-young Steve Rogers visits the aged, Peggy Carter in the hospital. It's confirmed that Peggy had Alzheimer's disease, and that she couldn't recall her past or recognize her own family. But still, she had secrets. Maybe Nick Fury knew about this big secret, and decided to let it be.
It's those secrets that prove reliable in maintaining the current MCU timeline. But the question remains. If Peggy hadn't married 2023 Steve Rogers, whom did she marry? If it was someone else other than Steve Rogers, then it means that 2023 Steve didn't go back to 1945.
So, it makes sense, why Steve had to go back and live with Peggy. It's called predestination paradox. Steve was destined to become Peggy's husband. In fact, the whole time, not even the Avengers or anyone in the world knew that Peggy married 2023 Steve secretly. And while their happy, married life went on, the Steve Rogers who fought Red Skull, was frozen in ice for 70 years.
What is Predestination Paradox?
A predestination paradox is when someone goes back in time and become part of the history that he was meant to. Because he had started that past event in the first place. Therefore, it was his destiny to go back in time. This can be considered as an infinite loop of sort, where a certain character has to perform this event repeatedly.
If it weren't for Old Steve's appearance in 2023, then he wouldn't have gone back to 1945, and live with Peggy. So, it makes sense why 2023 Steve went back. Because he wanted a normal life, similar to Tony Stark’s. It's this chance that Steve also wanted to spend a happy, normal life with Peggy.
But the Old Steve sitting on the bench raises some questions of how he came back. Where did he really come from? Why now?
All we know is that Old Steve might have come back from an alternate timeline, where he had a normal life with Peggy. After Peggy's death in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Old Steve returned to the 2023 timeline. If he did that, why didn't he come through the Quantum Realm? He didn't wear an environmental suit. In order to travel through the Quantum Realm, you need the suit.
Here are four possibilities for Steve’s sudden appearance, without the suit.
Remember the quantum machine that was used to bring Ant-Man to the microverse? It’s possible that Old Steve must have come out of the van, and then removed the suit.
Even though he had the white suit, whether he wore it or not, he still had the time bracelet. So, he must have used it to bring himself back to the 2023 timeline, and then removed the suit.
The Quantum Tunnel
Old Steve must have been told about Hank Pym’s secret laboratory in Ant-Man and the Wasp. So, he must have sneaked inside the lab, put on the suit, came back to the 2023 timeline, and then removed it.
Maybe, he had other means to travel through time. Of course, there is Wakanda and SHIELD technology. Anything is possible. Right? Old Steve must have used either of those technology to travel through time. Therefore, he suddenly appeared on the bench without the suit.
But if he hadn't used any of that technology, then it could only mean one thing. Old Steve had lived throughout his life in the main MCU timeline.
The Shield of Captain America
We have seen Old Steve passing the shield to Sam Wilson. This creates a shining moment because Sam is going to become the next Captain America. But it raises a question of how Old Steve managed to get his shield back. What we know is that Steve's shield was broken during the fight against 2014 Thanos. So, where did Old Steve get his shield from?
Of course, there is Wakanda technology to consider. Obviously, the shield is made of vibranium. Old Steve must have asked Shuri to make a new shield, so he could pass it on to Sam Wilson.
The other possibility is when 2023 Steve went back to 1945, he found out that Howard Stark created another shield or asked him to.
Infinity Stones and Mjolnir
Bringing back the Infinity Stones proves a huge task for Captain America. In order to fix the fractured timelines, Steve Rogers must return the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their rightful places. But we don't see that onscreen. So, we'll have to imagine how he did that. Because Cap's final mission is not simple.
Alternate Timeline 1- Battle of New York, 2012 A.D.
Given Banner's information, Steve Rogers visits the Ancient One at the Sanctum Sanctorum. There, he gives the Time Stone back to her. She's happy to hear that Banner has reversed 2018 Thanos' snap in 2023. Now, she can use the stone to defend the human realm against the interdimensional forces.
Steve puts the Mind Stone back inside the briefcase, so the hidden HYDRA agents can take it for human experimentation. Of course, Steve never wanted this, but he had to fix the timeline.
Alternate Timeline 2- Camp Lehigh Army Base, 1970 A.D.
Since Loki stole the Space Stone from 2012, Steve went back to 1970. There, he infiltrates SHIELD again, and places the Space Stone back in Hank Pym’s laboratory, where Tony had stolen from.
If he wanted to make several time trips to put the other Infinity Stones back, he would have to steal the Pym Particles from Hank’s lab. Otherwise, Steve will get trapped in one of the alternate timelines.
Alternate Timeline 3- Asgard, 2013 A.D.
How did Steve return the Reality Stone? We know that Jane Foster had the stone within her body, after being infected by the Aether on another world. So, while she was sleeping, Steve somehow injected the Reality Stone back inside her body.
How did Steve return Thor's powerful weapon? It could be the vault. Or he could have placed it in Thor’s chambers.
Alternate Timeline 4- Morag and Vormir, 2014 A.D.
Steve appears on the planet Morag to put the Power Stone back, so Star-Lord can steal it.
Again, returning the Power Stone will not fix the timeline. Because Thanos, Gamora, and Nebula does not exist in the 2014 timeline anymore.
Now this is the same year. So, you wonder how Steve can travel to planet Vormir. Did he steal someone else's ship? Not likely. Again, Quantum Realm can also transport a person to a different time in the same year. So, Steve didn't have to use a starship like Black Widow and Hawkeye did in 2014. In that case, he simply appeared on Vormir to return the Soul Stone. Now the question remains. How did he return it?
The Red Skull, who is now the guardian of the Soul Stone probably asked Steve to give it back to him, and placed the Soul Stone in mid-air over the cliff before it disappears. Now, you would be thinking if the Red Skull had actually revealed himself to Steve. Imagine Steve's reaction when he finds out that his former nemesis had survived. Probably, the Red Skull didn't show his face as he appeared like an unknown entity. We may never know.
The Bench Crisis
We may still be confused regarding Old Steve’s appearance in the 2023 timeline. We have to ask ourselves if this is the same Steve Rogers that we have seen in the previous movies? Let’s ask these questions. Shall we?
Is Old Steve the same Steve Rogers in the main MCU timeline?
Yes. This is the same Steve Rogers that we know and love. He went back in time, and decided to stay with Peggy his entire life. He came back and handed the shield to Sam Wilson. It’s not a parallel universe version of Steve Rogers. He either stayed with Peggy the entire time until 2023, or he came back to the 2023 timeline after Peggy’s funeral.
Were they two Captain Americas in the main MCU timeline?
Yes. There were two versions of Steve Rogers. The one was frozen in ice, and the one who came from the 2023 timeline. This has to make sense. Because once you go back in time, your past self exists. In this case, Steve is still frozen in ice, waiting to be awakened in the present day, while the future Steve stayed happily with Peggy.
However, if we’re dealing with two Captain Americas, then we’re looking at an alternate timeline where we have watched Iron Man (2008) till Avengers: Endgame (2023), which means in the original timeline, Steve hasn’t gone back to 1945.
In the original timeline, it’s possible that Peggy must have married someone else. Most likely because Steve hadn’t come back to 1945. Not yet though. You need a certain event to establish Steve’s role in time travel to begin with. Why did he go back? To marry Peggy? It’s more than that. Ever since Thanos wiped half of the universe, the team had to go back in time and retrieve the Infinity Stones. Therefore, Steve decided to stay with Peggy after returning the stones, and Mjolnir to their rightful places. In the first place, Steve didn’t think of going back in time to stay with Peggy, until Thanos wiped half of the universe, and Ant-Man proposing the idea of time travel.
This means that Peggy did marry someone else other than Steve Rogers. Or she didn’t marry at all. It doesn’t matter. Either way, Steve Rogers never went back to 1945 in the original timeline, until Thanos wipes half of the universe.
If Steve Rogers stayed with Peggy in 1945, wouldn’t he try to change any event that already happened in the main MCU timeline?
Steve Rogers would have change anything. He even could have saved Bucky from being turned into the Winter Soldier. But he didn’t. People will say that Steve acted selfishly, not helping his friend or make any change in the past. Instead, he lived with Peggy like a normal person. After all, the past can be changed, and thus not alter the future. Right? So, why 2023 Steve didn’t do anything?
We have a couple of reasons why he didn’t take any action to prevent the horrible outcomes of the future.
Steve did his job well. He wanted to live a normal life, and we have to accept it. His time of saving days is over. Now, he wants that dance with Peggy. No matter how bad the outcomes of the future will be, Steve lived a happy, successful life.
Changing things in the past will create a mess, and Steve didn’t want that. Even though he knows it won’t affect his future, where he came from. He didn’t want to make things complicated further. He knows those things are bound to happen. So, he decided to let it be.
Captain America is still frozen in ice, and someday will join the Avengers. 2023 Steve didn’t want himself exposed to the world, and enemies that there were two versions of Steve Rogers. So, he lets the frozen Cap to take care of things as it was intended.
How did Old Steve come back to 2023?
There are certain ways to explain this. When Steve left the 2023 timeline to stay with Peggy, the Old Steve appeared out of nowhere. He didn’t wear the environmental suit. This states that Old Steve should appear at some point in the future. It not as if Old Steve popped out of existence after Young Steve stayed in 1945. There has to be a logical explanation to Old Steve’s strange appearance.
Old Steve must have used different kinds of time-travel technology besides the Quantum Realm. There’s SHIELD, Wakanda, and other reliable sources out there. Anything is possible.
The other possibility is that Old Steve had lived in the main MCU timeline all along. We didn’t know this, and it’s considered as a big twist to Steve’s character. Because Peggy had secretly married him that not Young Steve or the other Avengers knew. Maybe Nick Fury knew about it. Who knows? He’s a man of big secrets.
What happens to Old Steve now that he’s back in 2023?
Retirement home. Where else? Old Steve had lived a good life, and therefore isn’t much needed to help the Avengers any further. He also passed the torch to Sam Wilson to become the next Captain America. However, he can give some good advice in leaderships and the extension of the Avengers team.
If Old Steve lived his entire life until 2023, did he ever get snapped in 2018?
I know this sounds crazy. You would think it couldn’t happen, but it’s possible. The only problem is we really don’t know. Assuming how Steve manages to stay alive the entire time, you can say that he still lives because of his Super-Soldier serum. The serum can slow down aging. There’s that. There’s also the five-year snap. Everyone who got snapped in 2018, came back in 2023 as the same age where their unsnapped ones aged 5 years apart. Even though Steve had the Super-Soldier serum, he could have been snapped in 2018.
Did Old Steve really appear on the bench out of nowhere?
This question is related to the fourth one. But it doesn’t specify if he did appear on the bench just like that. Or how long he was sitting on it. One reason would have to be that Steve had other forms of time-travel technology to appear, sitting on the bench. Or if he had stayed throughout his life until 2023, he might have drove a vehicle or some hippie dropped him off. You decide.
Loki Temporal Principle
Well, what do we have here? We’re always coming back to this so-called “Loki Temporal Principle.” Loki is a mischievous god at best. But apparently, he’s technically not dead. Why do you say that? Because he escaped from 2012, where the Avengers went back to get the Time, Mind, and Space Stone.
As I’ve said before, this confusing principle will be explained further in the solo series. But we really don’t know if the writers are going to explain it. There are so many questions waiting to be unanswered. And everyone would want to know where did 2012 Loki go.
Loki must have gone to another planet, timeline, or some other realm, we don’t even know of. Or he could have went to the distant past, where he can be worshipped as a god. Anything is possible. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Now that being said, what’s the deal with Loki being still alive? Is he a different version of Loki? Let’s have a look at three different versions of Loki here.
2018 Loki (Dead)
In the beginning of Infinity War, Loki gets killed by Thanos. Again, this isn’t one of Loki’s illusionary tricks. You would begin to wonder why he didn’t perform this trick because Thanos knows it very well. And if Loki did such a thing, Thanos would know it.
So, Loki is dead in the original timeline. And according to Banner’s statement, if you did go back and change the past, it wouldn’t affect anything in our present timeline. Therefore, 2018 Loki is truly dead.
2012 Loki (Missing)
Here comes the confusing part. During the Hulk rampage, Loki managed to escape from 2012 by taking the Space Stone with him. Let’s look at one question of how this will affect the rest of the 2012 timeline.
If Loki escaped from 2012, what happened to the events of Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War?
There are a lot of possibilities that might have happened, and we don’t have to explain in full detail. Now that Loki went missing, what happens to the Space Stone in that timeline, and including Loki himself? Anything can happen differently. However, Loki might be aware of what he’s doing now. So, wherever he went, he might come back to 2012 and surrender himself. But would Loki really do that? We doubt it.
Let’s assume that he didn’t return to 2012. Then that means, Thor may not have defeated Malekith and his Dark Elf army in Thor: The Dark World. Malekith might have won the battle, and possibly taken over Asgard.
In Thor Ragnarok, Loki wasn’t there to witness the battle tournament between Thor and Hulk, and make jokes of how Hulk used to do that to himself. So, these events of Thor Ragnarok didn’t exist. Because any changes to the 2012 timeline will cause a certain amount of changes that didn’t happen in both Thor sequels.
As for Avengers: Infinity War, what happened to the Space Stone? Loki probably didn’t give the stone to Thanos, because he wanted it for himself. So Thanos wouldn’t have the Space Stone. Therefore, he couldn’t have wiped half of the universe in 2018 without it.
You see how confusing this is?
1970 Loki (Alive)
We don’t see this version of Loki on-screen, but we do know is that he will cause the Battle of New York someday in 2012. It has to happen. However, we have to ask ourselves this question.
If Loki escaped from 2012 already, will 1970 Loki escape later this time?
This is a tough question to answer. We’re looking at different timelines where certain events happen differently all due to the time travel. 1970 Loki will cause the events of Battle of New York, if Steve returns the Space Stone. But he won’t be able to escape from 2012 this time. Because the Avengers didn’t come back to 2012 in this timeline.
I know this sounds confusing. But remember, we’re still looking at a different timeline here. And this is the timeline that plays similarly to the original timeline, where Loki steals the Space Stone from SHIELD, and later got captured.
Yes, the Avengers did come to 2012 to collect the Time, Mind, and the Space Stone. But that doesn’t mean the Avengers will come back again, even after the events of 1970.
If Steve Rogers didn’t return the Space Stone in 1970, then Loki wouldn’t have started the events of Battle of New York.
Who would have thought a rat can save the universe? It sounds laughable if you think about it. A rat saved Scott Lang’s life from being trapped in the Quantum Realm any further. Yes, Scott Lang was trapped for five hours in the Quantum Realm (Five years our time), and a curious rodent just saved his tiny butt.
According to Doctor Strange’s “Window of Opportunity”, he must have seen one of these potential futures, and relied heavily on a rat that can save Ant-Man. Without the rat’s help, Scott Lang would have been trapped in the Quantum Realm for God-Knows-How Long. Therefore, the events of Endgame wouldn’t exist.
We have come to the end of this mind-blowing article. Hopefully, we don't see any time travel plots in the MCU's future because they give me a serious headache. And I'm sure they give you one as well. It's interesting to see where the rest of our heroes will go from here. Which is why all of us are looking forward to Spider-Man: Far from Home. The events of that movie will take place after Avengers: Endgame as we know.
As for other movies that comes after Phase 3, some of them are prequels, and some are sequels that focuses on the Post-Snap Crisis Era.
Does this article make any sense? I know it is a lot to digest. Endgame is probably more complicated than the Terminator franchise itself. You would have to watch the movie a couple of times to understand the big picture. I'm sure you have your own explanations and theories of what just happened in Endgame. If I'm missing anything, feel free to share them.
Note- This article might get updated due to the events of Spider-Man: Far from Home.