Avengers: Endgame, which was released on April 26, has proved that a superhero movie can make you laugh and cry at the same time. The three-hour-long movie features several moments that we are going to discuss in the weeks to come but before we dwell on other territories, let us talk about the time traveling and how multiple timelines have most probably been created.
Major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame
To reverse Thanos' actions, Avengers decides to go back in time with the help of Quantum Realm and capture those six Infinity Stones to destroy Thanos once and for all. When it comes to time traveling, everything gets messy as a lot of fans are left clueless as to what happened and how that happened. We will try to explain Avengers: Endgame time travel in the easiest way possible.
For starters, the movie's timeline is the year 2018 — 22 days after Thanos' snapping of those six Infinity Stones. It means that as per the movie timeline, Infinity War and Endgame happened in the same year.
After Thor "goes for the head" and kills Thanos, the movie time jumps five years to 2023. At this point, we see Scott Lang aka Ant-Man finally exiting from the quantum realm, where he was trapped after the events shown in Ant-Man and the Wasp. But as we have discussed earlier, laws of time and physics work differently in the quantum realm, so when Scott comes out of the tunnel, he has lost only five hours and has no idea as to what happened in the last five years.
In 2023, all the surviving Avengers decide to go back in time to steal the Infinity Stones from several points in time. Let's first discuss that:
- Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Ant-Man go to New York to get Time Stone, Mind Stone, and Space Stone — the year is 2012 during the events of The Avengers.
- Thor and Rocket go to Asgard to get Reality stone — the year is 2013 and just before the events shown in Thor: The Dark World.
- Nebula and Rhodey go to Morag to acquire Power Stone from Stark Lord — the year is 2014 during the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.
- Black Widow and Hawkeye go to Vormir to get the Soul Stone — the year is 2014.
Things become too complicated for Tony Stark and Steve Rogers when they are unable to get the Tesseract from Loki. The duo then decides to go back from 2012 to 1970 to steal the Space Stone from the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Pym particles.
Everyone takes the stones and comes back to 2023 but Nebula creates a massive twist in the story. When Nebula goes to Morag to get the Power Stone, she is captured by 2014's Nebula, Gamora, and Thanos. By this, the 2014-Thanos learns about the Avengers plans and swaps the two Nebulas. So, the Nebula who comes to 2023 is actually the Nebula from 2014.
After coming to 2023, the 2014-Nebula opens the portal and allows the 2014-Thanos and his army to come to the future and tries to capture all the six Infinity Stones. Hulk wears the hand consisting of all the six infinity stones and snaps his fingers. His action undo Thanos' action from 2018 and brings back all the disappeared superheroes to the year 2023.
In the final moments of the movie, we see Iron Man using those Infinity Stones to erase 2014's Thanos. Bu it sets off a major paradox!
Steve Rogers then goes back in time to return all the Infinity Stones from the point where they actually first stole them. What it means is that if had visited The Ancient One and given her the Time Stone, he would have gone back to 1970 to put back the Tesseract.
After doing this, he made it possible for Hydra to later steal it. At the same time, since all the stones are now in their right place, Hela would destroy Thor's hammer, Loki would later use it to use his magic, and so on. Those stones will later be collected by Thanos who would snap the Universe into half — and then later, all the Avengers will go back in time to reverse everything!
In the very beginning of the movie, Thanos said that he is inevitable but we later saw that his 2014 version was snapped by Iron Man in 2023. It means that whatever happened with Thanos or by Thanos after 2014 never actually happened. By this logic, Heimdall and Loki are still alive and so does Gamora.
But most importantly, the events shown in Infinity War did not really happen in the first place and Black Widow and Iron Man are very much alive as well.