Remember when we thought Avengers: Endgame would erase all of the consequences of Infinity War and leave future movies with a clean slate? How very wrong we were.
Sure, the film does bring back the victims of Thanos' snap as expected. But it doesn't undo everything, and its events will have massive repercussions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for many years to come. The last few scenes also significantly alter our understanding of several upcoming projects.
Here are the biggest ways Endgame just changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe for good.
1. The snap still happened — Unexpectedly, Endgame doesn’t actually prevent Thanos' snap from happening in the first place, and the implications of this world-altering event remaining as a piece of history are mind-boggling.
Presumably, for instance, all the people who died as a result of the snap but not in it — say, those killed in the car and helicopter crashes we saw at the end of Infinity War — are still dead. What about all the world governments that collapsed? How much of the Earth's infrastructure needs to be rebuilt? How many people moved on from relationships when their significant other snapped away, only for them to return?
From Spider-Man to Doctor Strange to Black Panther, nearly every present-day Marvel movie going forward will have to grapple with this brave new world, and they can't possibly just go right back to normal immediately. Right?
2. 2023 — Endgame's five-year time jump also not being reversed comes with its own implications. It most notably affects Spider-Man: Far From Home, a film that may strain credulity if Peter’s entire social circle just happened to be snap victims, which seems to be the case based on the trailer since they're all still in high school.
Additionally, any future Marvel project that isn't a prequel is now required to take place in the year 2023 or later. Will these movies and shows intentionally occur over short periods of time, allowing us to “catch up” with the 2023 timeline? Or are all MCU movies always going to be years ahead of us from now on?
3. The Search for Gamora — Endgame leaves the deaths that occurred prior to the snap in Infinity War in place, meaning Gamora will evidently not return in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after all. Instead, the ending implies the third Guardians film will involve Peter looking for the alternate timeline Gamora (who has none of Gamora's memories but who Peter is seen searching for in his last Endgame scene).
4. Asguardians of the Galaxy — Endgame also implies Thor will be joining the Guardians and will be featured in their third film, which should have a fundamentally different dynamic than the first two as a result. Might a love triangle between Thor, Peter, and alternate Gamora be explored in Vol. 3, as teased in Infinity War? Still, Thor may not always be confined to the Guardians series, as Tessa Thompson has suggested a fourth Thor film is being discussed.
5. Black Widow is a prequel — Natasha Romanoff's shocking death confirms that her upcoming solo movie will be a prequel, maybe one exploring the Budapest mission she and Clint Barton can’t stop talking about. This suggests at least two prequels are on the way, as Captain Marvel's last scene with Ronan also implied that follow-up will be set in the past. Perhaps going back in time — and only releasing two movies next year instead of the usual three — is part of Marvel's plan for dealing with the time jump and allowing Endgame to feel extra conclusive.
6. WandaVision — It seemed like a fair assumption that Vision would return to life in Endgame since he has a Disney+ series in the works with Wanda called WandaVision. But he didn't, so what's the deal with this show? Will it be about Wanda trying to bring Vision back? Or will it be yet another prequel?
7. The earthquake — An early scene in Endgame makes a conspicuous mention of an earthquake happening underwater, which sure seems like a hint that Namor the Sub-Mariner, a character who in the comics comes from Atlantis, is on his way. Could he be in Black Panther 2?
8. Stature — In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott Lang's daughter, Cassie, wanted to be his partner, but she was far too young. Well, she's now a teenager thanks to the time jump, setting the third Ant-Man film up to let Cassie in on the action as Stature, her superhero persona from the comics.
9. The New Avengers — At least three original Avengers are out of the picture after Endgame, including arguably the main character of the MCU, Tony Stark. So what will the new lineup look like? And will one of them emerge as the new de facto leader? That may take years to come into focus, but it seems likely future movies will revolve primarily around four key players: Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel.
10. Sam will become Captain America, but when? — Sam Wilson is now the new Captain America, so when will we actually see him in action? You'd think it would be in his upcoming Disney+ show with Bucky Barnes, but the title of that series has been officially announced as Falcon & Winter Soldier, not Captain America & Winter Soldier. Maybe Sam won’t officially take on the name until the end of that series, which could transition him into a role as Captain America in the next Avengers movie — although that's likely many years away.
11. Alternate timelines — Steve Rogers returning the Infinity Stones to the exact moment they left presumably does not close off all of the alternate timelines created during Endgame. After all, there's now a timeline where Thanos disappears and the events of Infinity War, therefore, don't happen, not to mention the timeline where Loki escaped the Battle of New York. So might anything become of these new timelines? Will this alternate Loki be the protagonist of the Loki Disney+ show? With a vast multiverse now at Marvel's disposal, the opportunities truly are endless.