Avengers: Endgame Directors Clarify The Rules Of Time Travel


The use of time travel in Avengers: Endgame has been consistently debated since the film’s release back in April. Though the movie repeatedly attempted to explain the complex mechanic, it nonetheless played things a little fast and loose with how it functions.

For instance, did the fact the Cap was staying in the past with Peggy harm the timeline? Did 2014 Thanos dying cause a splintered timeline that’s now running adjacent to the prime MCU? These are just a couple of the questions that have been popping up about the time travel shenanigans of Endgame.

Now, however, directors Anthony and Joe Russo have opened up on the topic, immediately shooting down one popular thought, with Joe commenting: “A Back to the Future rule is not applicable in our universe. We’re playing by a different set of rules.”

And while it’s good to get that out of the way, as that was a frequent touchstone in the film for time travel, Anthony was quick to elaborate on the actual system they tried to adhere to, saying:

You may be thinking about the fact that Doctor Strange doesn’t want to tell Tony about what timeline they’re in as they’re going into the climactic fight with Thanos. The difference between these two situations are when Smart Hulk is talking to the Ancient One, the Ancient One is no longer alive during the events that they’re discussing whereas Tony is very much involved in the events he and Strange are talking about so there’s a little bit of a distinction there.

This does make a lot of sense, given the story and where the characters were at. If Tony Stark had known beforehand that he would have to sacrifice himself to win the day, he may not have been able to do it, because, in a way, it would have taken the choice away from him. Or, as the Russos put it:

You don’t want to emotionally confuse them or create a situation where they no longer want to go through with what they are supposed to go through with. Especially when your chances are one in 14 million. You have to be very, very careful about not messing it up.

While this doesn’t clarify a lot of the trouble fans are having with the overall usage of time travel in Avengers: Endgame, it does, at least, establish that the directors had a plan. But at least we can rest safe knowing that no characters are going to go back in time and get hit on by their own mother. One movie about that is more than enough