endgame paradoxes

It’s that time again. Time for the Russo Brothers to jaunt around explaining everything that happened in their new movie. The filmmakers went on a whirlwind tour after Avengers: Infinity War, attempting to answer questions that movie raised. Now they’re doing it again with Avengers: Endgame. In fairness, the new Avengers film deals with some fairly complicated logistics, leaving some viewers scratching their heads.

Immediate and major spoilers follow.

Any time you have a movie dealing with time travel, you’re opening yourself up to a whole variety of questions and confusions. Since humans have yet to master time travel (and likely never will), the concept is a quandary, and whenever filmmakers employ it, some viewers can’t help but ask, “How the hell does any of this work?”

During a recent Q&AEndgame co-director Joe Russo did his best to address some of these questions. For instance, a question that gets raised in the film itself involves whether or not the Avengers can bring back Black Widow after she sacrifices herself to get the Soul Stone. When pressed on if there was a way to reverse this, Russo replied: “No, the process is irreversible. Even if you have returned it to its original location, you wouldn’t be able to get the person back. In fact, it’s not really returning the stone, more like put it back properly. The tribute soul for the soul stone will forever be sealed in that place, therefore Black Widow is gone forever.”

Guess we’ll never see Black Widow again! (Kidding; she has her own movie coming soon.)

Okay, so what about saving Iron Man, then? Could the Time Stone be used to save Tony Stark after he bravely sacrifices himself? Again, no. Russo says, “Among the 14 million possibilities that Doctor Strange has seen, Iron Man’s sacrifice is a must for that one win scenario.” Also: it’s just how storytelling works, folks. Tony’s sacrifice is a big, dramatic moment with an emotional payoff. Why would you want to immediately reverse that?

The element that seems to be confusing everyone (even I had trouble with it) was the return of all the people Thanos snapped out of existence. The convoluted plan hatched by the Avengers brings the dearly departed back, but not to the point where they disappeared. Instead, it brings them into the present – which is five years after they all went up in smoke. Those who vanished, then returned, haven’t aged, while the original Snap survivors have aged five years.

This has some wondering: why, when Peter Parker returns to high school at the end of the movie, does he encounter his old pal Ned? The answer should probably be obvious through deduction: Ned was dusted by the Snap as well, and then returned. But just in case you need that spelled out for you, Russo says: “The reason Spider Man saw his friend again in high school at the end was simply because his friend was…also dusted like Spider Man was. Of course, there are people in his grade who didn’t die and they are probably already in college by now.”

And do any of these un-dusted people remember being dusted? No – none of them are aware of what happened, except Doctor Strange, since he kind of knows everything.

If you’re still unsure about this whole time travel thing, Russo tries to simply things further by stating:

“You can’t change the future by simply going back to past. But it’s possible to create a different alternate future. It’s not butterfly effect. Every decision you made in the past could potentially create a new timeline.”

And if all that isn’t enough of an answer, consider this: Avengers: Endgame is just a movie. One of the main characters is a space raccoon. It’s okay to just accept some stuff as-is.

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