Avengers: Endgame Writers Say The Time Travel Was Accidental


Even before the release of Avengers: Infinity War, a rumor was making the rounds that the film’s sequel would feature time travel as a major part of the story. This prediction became all the more popular once moviegoers had witnessed the genocidal snap at the end of Infinity War, and at the time, there was much concern from certain corners of the fandom that reversing Thanos’ victory through time travel would come across as a bit of a cheat.

Of course, once Avengers: Endgame arrived in theaters, many of the skeptics promptly withdrew their complaints when they saw the fresh approach that co-writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had taken to the old sci-fi cliché. But back when the general plot was still being worked out, even the scribes themselves apparently shared the concerns of the fans.

During a panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Markus recalled how the notion of time travel was considered early on, then quickly dismissed:

“It was a bit of a problem. We knew we wanted the first movie to end with this [snaps fingers]. Then we had to figure out how to fix that. We didn’t want a ‘get out of jail free’ card, we didn’t want to find out he didn’t actually do this, he did this. ‘Time machine’ comes up very quickly, the same way ‘rocket jetpack’ would come up. It’s a cheesy science fiction idea that you throw out quickly and go, ‘We can’t do that, it’s too stupid’…obviously it’s not stupid.”

Nonetheless, the team eventually circled back to the idea when they were forced to incorporate the subsequent Ant-Man and the Wasp into their plans:

“But we had this great thing happen, which was: we weren’t allowed to use Ant-Man in the first movie. Because there was an Ant-Man movie coming out in between Infinity War and Endgame, and if he was in Infinity War you would have a dark and depressing Ant-Man movie. Which is not what anybody wants out of a Paul Rudd movie, so we kept him out. But we were allowed to use him for the second one, which opened up Hank Pym and the Quantum Realm. And literally we just… I Googled ‘quantum realm.’ This is how great things happen.”

In his research on the Quantum Realm, Markus came to realize that the opportunity for a credible time travel story was there for the taking:

“Everyone over on the other side of the table in the conference room where we were trapped for months, this is Fall of 2015, were talking about something else. I Googled ‘quantum realm’ and… time is different in there. I think I sort of raised my hand and went, ‘We can do a time machine! Because we have an excuse to do a time machine.’ And that is around when cooler heads prevailed and brought in an actual physicist to tell us either we were crazy, or we were right, or that we were crazy but it was okay to do it because, you know, we’re not making a documentary. And all of those things happened, and here we are.”

The foundations for Markus and McFeely’s time travel plot were laid in the mid-credits scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which ended with Scott Lang stranded in the Quantum Realm. This cliffhanger would ultimately lead into the events of Endgame, which saw Ant-Man escape from the Microverse five years later with a vague understanding of how to undo the snap. By now, you probably know how the rest of the story goes, but if you need a reminder, Avengers: Endgame is now available on Blu-Ray and Digital.