Now before I get started, I know what you’re all saying: NO SPOILERS! PLEASE GOD NO SPOLIERS!
Well honey, all I can say is that I’ve kept my mouth closed for a week now, and it can’t stay shut much longer. So, if you are one of the few that …still… hasn’t seen Avengers: Endgame, then please hit that little red cross in the top right hand corner of your screen.
There have already been countless pages on the newest hit film, some about reviews, some about the success and even some about a tree (if you know what I’m saying). But I don’t want to focus on the entirety of the film, because let me tell you – there’s a lot. And I mean… A LOT. No, what I want to talk about is “how such and such do the thing for the thing-ey-ma-jigs”.
CONTAINS SPOILERS! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THEN GO AWAY… NOW!
For those of you who stayed, did you debunk the “code words”? Because I figured that I am going to have to try and think up a title that doesn’t give anything away, but is still enough for the fans to figure out. Also, I didn’t want Marvel Studios hunting me down for simply writing this. So what better way to please everyone than using a bunch of useless words?
If you didn’t figure it out, then this is all about the famous infinity stones. How did the Avengers manage to pull off time travel, and how exactly did they obtain all of the stones?
Back To The Future?
We all know how confusing time travel can be. There’s so much science behind it that even the smartest writers struggle with the physics of going back in time – take J.K.Rowling for example, she had to destroy all time turners in Harry Potter just to avoid plot holes. Now don’t get me wrong, the analytics of time travel itself is actually explained by Bruce Banner in Avengers: Endgame, but that doesn’t mean I understood it. In fact, I couldn’t even get my head around the first sentence – and I’m assuming I’m not the only Marvel fan out there that struggles with this. So that is why I have done mountains of research to try and explain just how the Avengers managed to pull off time travel within the Quantum Realm.
It is Ant-Man who first explained to the Avengers that time travel could be possible to bring everyone back from The Snap. He believed this was possible due to him being in the Quantum Realm for five years – yet it only felt like five minutes to him. To do this, the Avengers had to use Pym Particles (a serum of particles created by Hank Pym before he was snapped by Thanos) in order to shrink into a subatomic size – small enough to enter the Quantum Realm; due to Tony Stark and his big brain, he only has to fiddle with these particle for a day before he has figured out how to alter them, allowing the team to travel whenever they want in the past in order to retrieve the infinity stones.
When most people think of going back in time, we picture the simple rules: don’t mess with your past self or else your present timeline to be altered. But that doesn’t exactly happen in Endgame. If it did, then going back in time for the infinity stones may have stopped the Avengers from being assembled all together. (And let’s not forget the fact that Nebula literally shot her past self and continued to walk around as if nothing happened.) In essence, this is a version of the Grandfather Paradox: Travel back in time to kill your grandfather, and the consequences would be you never being born, therefore never being able to kill your grandfather. Well, not in the Marvel universe apparently!
Avengers: Endgame has used a specific time travel theory which involves quantum physics. There is even a teeny tiny Easter egg within the film, when Iron Man mentions the name David Deutsch – who originated the Multiverse Theory. To put this theory simply, he states that “our universe” is one of many parallel universes. And so, if you go to the past (which essentially is you just travelling to a new parallel universe) and alter the timeline, it won’t effect the universe that you call home. Let’s use Nebula as an example. We all saw her shoot her past self. Now, this past Nebula actually came from a different universe, which has no ties to the one that we live in. Therefore, Killing past Nebula would have had consequences in her own universe, but not in ours – which leaves present Nebula able to walk free.
To Infinity, And Beyond!
Before we get started on how the Avengers manage to acquire the infinity stones, lets recap exactly what they are. The infinity stones are six gems holding ruthless power to anyone that finds them. They are scattered throughout time and space and numerous characters within the Marvel universe have captured a few. Earth holds the record for having the most infinity stones within the atmosphere within one timeframe.
So here is how and when the Avengers gain all six stones from the past.
New York, 2012
We all know what went down in New York. Loki unleashed an army of aliens on the Earth, trying out his luck on ruling over the planet. But that’s not all, 2012 is also the year that Earth contained three infinity stones. Firstly, lets look at present day Hulk.
The new and improved Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) visits Sanctum Sanctorum, trying to find past Doctor Strange, who yields the power of the time stone. Unfortunately, Hulk is faced with an issue: Doctor Strange has yet to become the Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) is still alive and is the one to confront Hulk. Of course, The Ancient One isn’t very willing to give the time stone to Hulk, and after a bit of back and forth banter from the two, it isn’t until Hulk confesses that Doctor Strange willingly gave up the stone that The Ancient One understands the cost of the mission. Afterwards, she gives up the stone to Hulk. One down, five to go.
Whilst this is all happening, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Chris Evans, the one who possesses America’s Ass), and Ant Man (Paul Rudd) deal with what Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has pulled into New York. When the team arrive, Loki is already in custody which leaves present Captain America going to the Stark Tower in search for the sceptre – which contains the mind stone. Originally in 2012, the mind stone is given to Brock Rumlow and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. – but we all know why Cap is reluctant to let that happen again. Hail Hydra. Things seem to be going well for America’s Ass, until he is stood in front of his past Ass… who can do this all day. Past Captain America of course thinks he is stood in front of the God of Mischief, and gets ready to fight. Which leaves present Captain America with the situation of literally hitting himself in the face.
Meanwhile, Iron Man and Ant Man are given the task of getting their hands on the Tesseract, which contains the space stone. In order for this to work, they plan to give past Iron Man a heart attack as a diversion whilst they take the briefcase containing the stone. All goes well, until past Hulk smashes down the door and knocks present Iron Man flying across the room. The briefcase is dropped and the Tesseract is once again in the hands of Loki, who uses his wits and disappears before anyone notices. Of course, this means that Iron Man and Ant Man were unsuccessful in getting the space stone. To fix their mess, they leave Ant Man to travel back to the present day with the Sceptre and they devise a new plan to find the Tesseract.
Camp Lehigh, New Jersey, 1970
Due to the loss of the space stone, Captain America and Iron Man are forced to think of another time when the stone was introduced to Earth. Only, not only do they now have to find the stone, but they also have to find more Pym Particles in order to get back home. It is with the help of Tony’s trusty brain that he thinks of the year 1970. This year is important, as it is when S.H.I.E.L.D. first stored the Tesseract. And as a little bonus, Hank Pym also worked at the military base at the time – talk about perfect timing.
Finding the Tesseract wasn’t too hard within this timeframe, as it was simply being stored within a locked case within the military base. Instead, Iron Man is faced with an even bigger issue – meeting his young father, Howard Stark (John Slattery – without the white hair). With Tony making friendly – and awkward – conversation with his father, Cap soon finds the Pym Particles they need to get home safely. But we all know where he is, and boy do we want him to dance. You can practically feel the heartbreak as he watches Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) through the window, knowing he has to say goodbye once again.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) have teamed up to snatch the reality stone. The stone is currently in Asgard, or should I say in Thor’s ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who is currently in Asgard. As the due set off to find Jane, Thor is currently in the same room as his beloved mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) and we are reminded that it is on this day that she sadly passes away. Confronted by waves of grief, Thor finds himself unable to help Rocket retrieve the stone, and instead runs off to hide. This doesn’t go according to plan, as he soon stumbles upon his mother. We are then graced with the tear jerking scene of Thor speaking to his mother, gaining comfort that he didn’t know he needed, making sure to not tell the loving Frigga her future. Rocket soon returns with the infinity stone (which he of course stole) and Thor quickly calls back Mjölnir before they set their watches and return home.
Nebula (Karen Gillan) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) don’t have to do much in order to get the power stone. They travel to the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy, taking place on Morag, before quickly hiding and waiting for Star Lord (Chris Pratt) to dance their way to the stone. All goes to plan, as they watch him use his moves as Peter Quill leads them to the stone. Once they have the location, they simply knock out Quill before Nebula burns half of her arm off retrieving the orb from it’s cage. Unfortunately, the good luck stops here for Nebula, as Rhodey travels back without her unknowingly. Right as Nebula is set to go back to the Avengers facility, she is struck with an awful pain. The two Nebulas are linked.
When the scene of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) travelling to Vormir begins, we all have to hold in a gasp as we know how this is going to end. Marvel doesn’t make it easy of course, as he has the two best friends make one last joke about their days in Budapest. Everyone grips their seat as we wait for the infamous Red Skull appears to talk the pair through a soul for a soul. In order to get the soul stone, one of the two must sacrifice themselves to the deadly drop of Vormir. Now, will it be Black Widow, who has spent her years repainted over the red she has gained? Or will it be Hawkeye, who has lost everything to The Snap? Of course the two fight tooth and nail, both wanting it to be themselves; in the end we are forced to say goodbye to Black Widow, as she bids farewell to Hawkeye and soars to the ground. Hawkeye soon wakes up the same way Thanos did, in the water with the soul stone in his hand – but the only difference this time is that he isn’t happy. He is grieving the death of his best friend.
And there you have it. Six stones. Five Locations. Four years. And one solemn goodbye to our favourite assassin.