Though the genocidal ending of Avengers: Infinity War succeeded in shocking audiences around the world, most of us took it as a given that we hadn’t seen the last of the dusted heroes. After all, it was known even back then that Spider-Man had a sequel on the way, and after the box office success of Black Panther, there was no way that Disney was going to end T’Challa’s run after one solo movie.
Sure enough, the recent Avengers: Endgame saw the purged half of the population come back from the dead, though it took a lot longer than many viewers were expecting. Specifically, the Infinity War sequel jumps forward a whole five years, and in a chat with the Empire Film Podcast, co-writer Christopher Markus explained that the pic’s Act 1 time jump was intended make the snap more consequential:
“It’s almost a desire to go we know what you’re thinking, we know how you think we’re going to get out of this, and we want to reiterate we were serious last time (laughs), and we’re still serious about it, because that’s what we really wanted to explore. The long term after effects of a gigantic loss on these heroes.”
Co-writer Stephen McFeely went on to compare the changes that unfolded during the time jump to the What If comic books, which place Marvel characters in unusual hypothetical scenarios:
“It was sort of the way, are you familiar with the What If comics? It was basically a way to do the What If’s,” McFeely said. “So by jumping 5 years you get to have Tony, What If Tony got married and lived happily ever after or What If Hulk became basically the only superhero and was smart. What If Cap seemed like he might want to give up. What If Natasha never left the house and was the last woman on the wall you know? All that kind of stuff. What If Thor became sort of a fat drunk, that was the idea to do that but not as What If. Keep the stakes, that all happened, that’s all part of canon. So that’s sort of part of where it comes from.”
Though you can imagine that a bigger time jump might’ve allowed Avengers: Endgame to explore an even stranger set of “What If” scenarios, McFeely remarked that going further into the future would’ve put a strain on their visual effects budget. On top of that, Markus pointed out that a 20-year time jump would’ve essentially required the entire line-up of snap survivors to be recast:
“You’re also…we know knew that we wanted it to stay permanent on an ongoing basis throughout the MCU, and it would basically mean that anybody who didn’t get snapped is 20 years older and if we undid the snap, like you’d need new supporting casts for all your franchises. It would just be chaos. It’s already going to be chaos.”