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The biggest questions after Avengers: Endgame’s ending, answered

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Your guide to all of the Easter eggs and plot twists

Avengers: Endgame quantum time jump hands in Marvel Studios

So, you saw Avengers: Endgame.

The conclusion of Marvel’s 22-movie saga is full of satisfying moments, big and small. There are Easter eggs and references to past Marvel movies galore, as well as moments that might look like plot holes on the surface, and swirled together. The sheer scope of the blockbuster, combined with all the MCU mythology and character loose ends that needed tying up, probably prompted some questions.

We’re here to parse it all for you. Let’s dive in, questions first, answers — or necessary comfort theories — second.

[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Duh.]

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: ENDGAME - L to R: Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Marvel Studios

Who died in Endgame? Like really died?

OK, this is the big one. The Avengers were willing to do “whatever it takes” to bring back the people they lost in Infinity War and defeat Thanos for good; for a few heroes that meant sacrificing themselves for the cause.

Black Widow, who fell to her death at the Vormir shrine, allowing Hawkeye to claim the Soul Stone, is definitively dead. Her fall was all the more tragic because the audience knew what was coming; in Avengers: Infinity War we saw Thanos kill his adopted daughter Gamora at that same shrine. All our heroes knew, though, was that Thanos left with Gamora and returned with the stone. They didn’t really have time to ask questions before Peter Quill punched him in the face, breaking him out of Mantis’ trance, ruining everything.

And then there was Tony. Much of Endgame plays like Iron Man’s swan song, paying tribute to the character that started it all. In Endgame, Tony Stark becomes a father and gets some closure with his own dad. It’s a full circle moment for the misanthropic “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist”, who’s finally able to admit what we’ve always known — that Tony Stark has a heart.

Iron Man goes out defeating Thanos, after stealing the Infinity Stones from him and snapping the Mad Titan and his army out of existence. But the exertion proves too much for Iron Man, and he dies on the battlefield. His wife, Pepper Potts, assures him that they’re okay and he can rest now.

But how did Iron Man get the Infinity Stones from Thanos?

We can assume that was just some clever distraction and particularly impressive sleight of hand. It’s possible that Tony built some sort of quick eject mode into his Infinity Gauntlet, but more likely Thanos just doesn’t have much sensitivity in those giant mitts.

Captain America tries to lift Mjolnir — Avengers: Age of Ultron Marvel Studios

How did Captain America get the hammer (aka Mjolnir)?

In one of the most arresting moments in Endgame, Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, flies through the air to land in Captain America’s outstretched hand. Only one deemed “worthy” can wield the Dwarven-forged weapon, proving once and for all that Steve Rogers is indeed worthy.

It was a triumphant callback to a scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. During a party at Avengers Tower, the rest of the team tries to pick up Thor’s hammer. No one is able to “get it up,” but Steve is the only one who makes Thor look worried. There’s even a popular fan theory that Cap wasn’t really trying to lift it, but that he and Thor both know he could have. Whether that proves the theory or Steve has become worthy in the intervening years is up to interpretation.

Peggy Carter in Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015. Marvel Studios/Disney

Who was Captain America dancing with at the end?

Throughout Endgame, we were reminded that Steve Rogers lost the love of his life, Peggy Carter, when he crashed his plane carrying the Tesseract into the ocean. While he was frozen in ice for 70 years, Peggy continued to age, eventually becoming the director of SHIELD. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve visits a dying, 95-year old Peggy and attends her funeral (and, uh, makes out with her great niece) in Captain America: Civil War, but as we see in Endgame’s support group scene, he never got over what could have been.

When Cap is tasked with returning the Infinity Stones to their original timelines, he doesn’t come back. Bucky and Sam look over and see Steve Rogers, now an old man. He tells his two best friends that he stuck around in 1945 to try actually living his life. Then he hands over the Captain America shield and title to Sam.

The last scene of the movie shows Steve dancing with Peggy, which is a callback to the first Captain America. The two joked about dancing throughout the movie, with a scrawny, pre-Super Soldier Steve Rogers telling Agent Carter that, “women aren’t exactly lining up to dance with a guy they might step on,” but he was waiting for the right partner. As he plummeted into the ocean, he told Peggy that he’d need a rain check on their dance. And when he visits her in Civil War, he reminds her that she still owes him a dance. Looks like they finally made good on that rain check.

Did ... did Hulk dab?

Hulk dabbed!

Who is the kid at Iron Man’s funeral?

When Tony Stark is laid to rest, the camera pans over the assembled guests, showing all of the Avengers and their families waiting to pay their respects. Standing near the back is a teenager that you probably didn’t recognize, but he’s got strong ties to Iron Man’s past.

That’s Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins, the boy from Iron Man 3 who Tony begrudgingly took under his wing when he was stranded in Tennessee with a damaged suit. The two bonded over their love of gadgets and their daddy issues, and it’s nice to see that the two apparently kept in touch over the years.

scarlett johansson as black widow in avengers: endgame Marvel Studios/Disney

Is Black Widow gone for good?

The way that time travel works in Endgame is ... complicated (and a little hand-wavey), but Hulk and Hawkeye are convinced that there’s no way Natasha can be brought back to life, since her death was critical to retrieving the Soul Stone. Hulk even says that he tried, when he put on the Infinity Gauntlet, and it didn’t work. That said, it’s unlikely this is our last mission with Black Widow: Marvel has all but confirmed a Black Widow movie, which now has a screenwriter, a director, and an attached cast.

Is Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now?

After handing the rule of Asgard over to Valkyrie, Thor heads off for new adventures with the Guardians. We know that a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is coming, so unless Peter Quill gets sick of this tall, handsome threat to his authority before then, it seems like we’ll be getting the “Asgardians of the Galaxy” in the near future. Thor has always been one of the weirder Avengers and, honestly, we can’t wait to see what James Gunn does with the God of Thunder.

gamora in avengers: infinity war Image: Marvel Studios

Why Where is Gamora?

The Gamora in our current timeline isn’t the Gamora who bonded with the Guardians and eventually fell for Peter. Thanos killed 2018-Gamora to get the Soul Stone, and because it happened before the Decimation, she wasn’t resurrected by Hulk’s fix-it snap. Instead, it’s pre-Guardians, 2014 Gamora who is in our current 2023 timeline. Since she has no attachment to the Guardians (even kicking Peter Quill in the nuts when he tries to kiss her), after the last battle she simply disappears — likely back to space, since that’s her home, but we’re not entirely sure, since Peter is unable to track her. Presumably, we’ll learn what happened in the third Guardians movie.

How is Disney Plus’ WandaVision going to be a thing when Vision is dead?

WandaVision, one of the many Marvel shows coming to Disney Plus, will focus on Wanda Maximoff and Vision ... at some point in the MCU timeline. Sounds great, except since Vision died before the Snap and not because of the Snap, he didn’t come back to life with Wanda, Spider-Man, T’Challa, Doctor Strange, and the rest of the crew. At the end of the film, we see Wanda reflecting on the loss of loved ones, but which direction she’ll go after the final battle, and the shattered Avengers Initiative, is a mystery. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda, did mention to Variety that the series takes place in the 1950s, so we may see even more time travel in the Marvel universe’s future.

Where did Loki go?

A fumble in 2012 leaves Tony, Steve, Scott, and Bruce’s target, the Tesseract, in the hands of Loki, who grabs it amid a scuffle and uses it to teleport off Earth. To where? We’re not sure. But it could be anywhere across space — and could possibly be the hook of Loki’s Disney Plus series.

Flash, Ned, and Betty are the center three; Peter and MJ appear in the next shot
Marvel

Are Peter’s classmates all five years older than him now?!

The people who were snapped by Thanos in Infinity War came back just as they were five years ago. For the adults, it doesn’t really matter, but for teenage Peter Parker, that means that some of his classmates are in their 20s now. Luckily, it seems — judging by the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home — that most of Peter’s circle (MJ, Ned, Betty, and Flash) got snapped, then restored. What a coincidence it’ll be if everyone in his immediate circle was a victim of Thanos! (Hey, it’s the movies.)

Are we still playing Fortnite in 2023?

When Rocket and Hulk visit Thor in Norway’s New Asgard, he and his buddies are playing a game of Fortnite. While, sure, there’s a possibility that the popular battle royale game could still be as popular in 2023, the events of Avengers: Infinity War make for some interesting observations in how we create and consume entertainment. With half the workforce gone — be it game developers, screenwriters, actors, etc. — it seems unlikely that society as a whole would be able to keep up the relentless, ongoing stream of entertainment that we have in 2019. Perhaps the Decimation was a time for reflection, a time to slow down, to turn to the nostalgia of old games, movies, and shows — a reminder of things that once were.