Here’s How Time Travel Works In Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

We’re about to go deep into the thick of Avengers: Endgame’s plot details here, so if you still haven’t had a chance to watch the year’s biggest blockbuster, then you may want to turn back now.

For those of you who are still here, chances are that you’ve already seen the Avengers: Infinity War sequel, but may have left with a few questions. Specifically, you might still be trying to wrap your head around the film’s time travel plot, which operates by a distinctly different logic than, say, the Terminator movies. And if so, then perhaps we can help you out.

The concept of time travel was previously hinted at in the mid-credits scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp, when it was suggested that the Quantum Realm holds the key to journeying into different periods. Sure enough, in this week’s release, Scott Lang emerges from the microverse after five years, and says that his period of imprisonment felt like mere hours.

From here, Scott correctly draws the conclusion that it’s possible to enter the Quantum Realm at one point in time, and exit it at a different point entirely. Our heroes gain the ability to control when and where they emerge thanks to the time GPS device invented by Tony Stark.

What really distinguishes Endgame’s time travel logic from that of most sci-fi films, however, is that altering your past doesn’t affect your future. Bruce Banner touches on this when he explains why the Avengers can’t simply travel back in time and kill Thanos as a baby. Changing the past in such a way would only create a new timeline, while leaving the team’s current timeline (where Thanos didn’t die as a baby) unaltered. This is why Nebula was able to kill her past self without fading away Back to the Future-style – she only killed the Nebula in another timeline.

In operating by a logic of alternate realities, Avengers: Endgame has essentially opened the doors for future projects to explore a range of different timelines (yes, we’re looking at you, Loki show). No longer is Marvel Studios just dabbling in a cinematic universe. The future of the franchise is starting to look like a cinematic multiverse.