Any film that deals with time travel often comes with a wealth of plot holes and Avengers: Endgame is no different. Those who’ve seen the film will know that there are several large and looming paradoxes created in the film’s final snappening that carry a lot of confusion with them.
So, to clear things up, I thought I’d put together a break down of how the timelines in the film work and how it’s contradictory elements come together form a cohesive narrative.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to know what happens in it then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way, huge thank you for clicking the video, I hope you enjoy it, now sit back, relax and let’s explain how the Paradox’s work in Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame Paradox Explained
The big bit of confusion that surrounds Avengers Endgame revolves around the fact that the Avengers manage to defeat the 2014 version of Thanos before he ever has the chance to carry out the snap that caused the events in this film.
This is more commonly known in theoretical physics as The Grandfather Paradox. The Grandfather paradox involves a person traveling through time to kill their own grandfather before the conception of their father or mother. This becomes a paradox because in doing this, the time traveler will never be born and therefore cannot travel back in time to kill their grandfather.
Yeah, it’s a lot of timey wimey stuff.
How Does Nebula Kill Herself?
We see a similar scenario happen in Avengers Endgame when Nebula kills her past self. Surely, the rules of time travel stipulate that in doing this, the future version of Nebula should not exist and therefore she would not be able to kill the past version of herself and…yeah my heads hurting.
Those who’ve seen the movie Looper will know that this was used to great effect in the film’s finale as a way for the protagonist to take out the villainous version of himself from the future.
However, in Endgame, Nebula doesn’t disappear and when Tony Stark later kills Thanos in the film, the timeline isn’t destroyed even though it should be because Thanos was never around to carry out the snap-in Infinity War that lead to the Avengers being forced to travel through time.
So why exactly is this?
Well, there are two possibilities that seem the most likely.
The first one I’ve seen that whilst I don’t really agree still could potentially be the case and this revolves around the way that Tony carried out the snap.
When doing this and completely dusting all of Thanos’ forces, I’ve seen some theorise that Tony did not completely kill them and instead returned them to their original timeline where they were completely unaware of the incident and therefore continued life on the predetermined path that they did.
Bruce Banner Talks To The Ancient One
The other theory and one that seems most likely comes from Bruce Banner’s conversation with the ancient one.
She states that when something is changed in the past, such as the Infinity Stones being removed, a new timeline is created and one that angles off from the original reality.
Therefore it’s safe to assume that what the Avengers are actually doing is creating multiple branching realities and dimensions which alternative characters can exist in. So, when Nebula kills herself, she’s actually killing herself from an Alternative reality similar to something like The One starring Jet Li, which by the way definitely deserves a remake.
Anyway, this also carries over for Thanos and his Black Order. Their alternative dimension versions are killed and therefore a timeline is created where The Avengers never have to face him down, Infinity War doesn’t happen and Tony probably gets to grow old with his daughter Morgan who loves cheeseburgers just as much as I do.
Though Tony is sacrificing his own happiness in the end, he’s also creating a version of himself that will get to experience it, similar to how Captain America seeks to have some in the finale of the film.
Avengers: Endgame: Alternate Timelines
Remember, Doctor Strange said that there are 14 million branching paths to take in defeating Thanos so it’s a safe assumption to make that there are different timelines operating all at once.
Marvel are clearly putting alternative dimensions in place as they are already producing a Peggy Carter show for Disney Plus which centres around what would have happened if she’d taken the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers.
The final question that is created if this is the case is ‘how does Steve Rogers return to the reality at the end?’
Well, though we don’t get confirmation of this it is possible that this version of Steve was always part of Peggy Carter’s life and we just didn’t know about it. There have been references to her husband though we’ve never got confirmation of this. She also keeps a picture of Steve on her desk which seems like a strange thing to do if the two never hooked up, is this photo instead a memory that she has that she wants to keep around to remind her at work of who’s waiting back home?
I’d like to think so and perhaps Steve kept out of the limelight because he knew that if he were to step forward it would create problems.
He couldn’t miss that final passing of the Torch to Sam just in the same way that he couldn’t miss that final dance and that’s why he decides to re-emerge once more to let his friends know that in the end he found happiness.
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Timeline and if you have a different theory then comment below and let me know. If you loved this video 3000 then make sure you give it a thumbs up and check out my full breakdown of Steve’s mission and how he returned the Soul Stone which will be linked at the end.