'Avengers: Endgame' Could Migrate the Entire MCU Into an Alternate Reality

A whole new universe for this cinematic universe.

Inverse String Theory

Regardless of what happens to the MCU’s many beloved characters in Avengers: Endgame, it’s clear the universe will never be the same. Since Thanos wiped out half of all living creatures at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, plenty of fans have theorized that everyone who turned to ash was actually transferred to an alternate reality or even trapped inside the Soul Stone. But we’ve got another proposed theory — that the only way to fix half the universe dying is to defeat Thanos and migrate into an alternate reality where everything is different.

In a March 21 TV spot for Endgame, Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers says, “Today we have a chance to take it all back. We will. Whatever it takes.” For all we know, this is another case of misdirection the Russo brothers use in the film’s marketing. If it is a real piece of dialogue, however, then it definitely sounds like the Avengers at least think they might be able to undo Thanos’ Decimation.

That could mean time travel or using the Infinity Stones to reverse the process — or it might mean a mix of the two if and when the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe migrates into an alternate reality.

This is just one Inverse String Theory, but it could be true. So consider yourself warned about potential Avengers: Endgame spoilers.

Avengers Endgame Trailer
What if things never brighten up here?

What if there really is no hope for the dark and dreary world of the heroes left behind in Avengers: Endgame? Maybe there’s no way to undo what Thanos did. “If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll avenge it,” Tony Stark said to Loki in The Avengers. The only mission they’re preparing for in the Endgame trailers could be solely about going after Thanos and Avenging the Earth. That’s probably the A-plot that happens at the start of the movie.

Scott Lang showing up could offer the obvious B-plot: an opportunity to use Quantum Realm technology to migrate into an alternate, better world. Doctor Strange looked at a million different timelines until he found the “only way.” This could be that only way.

This is also a twist on one particularly bleak fan theory from redditor u/Enervata in February that posits all of the survivors are the ones who die in Endgame.

“What if instead Thanos didn’t actually wipe out half the universe’s inhabitants with the Snap, but instead created an alternate universe and tossed half the occupants into this other universe via the ‘dusting’?” they write. “And this alternate universe is the one that Marvel moves forward with in the future.”

This would be consistent with Marvel’s upcoming slate of films, which include Spider-Man: Far From Home, Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — all films with dusted heroes. They have to return somehow, and within this theory, they’ll appear because everything after the Infinity Saga takes place in an alternate reality where plenty of pivotal events never happened.

The idea here is that the surviving heroes have to sacrifice themselves, and their universe, to defeat Thanos in Endgame. Doing so might also destroy the Infinity Stones, resulting in the death of Marvel’s longest-running heroes, along with the other survivors.

That’s super-dark, dramatic, and kind of cool — but it’s not going to happen quite like that.

Where and when is the 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' trailer?

It may be time for Captain America and Iron Man to retire, but most of us would love to see another Taika Waititi-helmed Thor movie like Ragnarok. Killing off Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man this soon would also be criminal, and there’s Rocket Raccoon and Nebula to consider. In this theory, they’d both wind up dead and not a part of the now-confirmed Guardians 3.

Even more obvious: Captain Marvel is smashing box office records. Marvel isn’t going to hire someone like Brie Larson for two movies before eradicating her character. People are going to die in Endgame but not every single character left alive after Infinity War. That’s just silly.

A far more likely twist on this bleak theory is that the many heroes re-tool Hank Pym’s Quantum Realm ship and use it to transport some characters into the alternate timeline while other heroes have to stay behind to fight Thanos or make some other grand sacrifice. This syncs up well with a another theory that Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow are the only four heroes to die while everyone else escapes. Even if they don’t actually die, leaving them behind in an alternate universe will be a dramatic farewell.

Yet another twist on this theory — much like in X-Men: Days of Future past — is that while most of the heroes do die fighting Thanos, Scott Lang alone could fly the Quantum Ship into an alternate reality where everything is different. After all, those “time vortexes” mentioned in the Ant-Man and the Wasp post-credits scene could be the key to navigating between dimensions.

If we do migrate into an alternate reality, then the events from Infinity War and other previous Marvel movies essentially never happened. That would explain why Peter Parker only has his Homecoming Spider-Man suit in Far From Home and not the Iron Spider costume — and also how he’s alive at all.

Could whole characters be erased from existence as a result of this process? Possibly, depending on whether or not time travel is involved. Thankfully, the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer includes a line where Ned compares Mysterio to Iron Man and Thor, so whatever reality comes after Endgame, at least people still remember two of the world’s greatest heroes — after they’ve probably died.

In the final lead-up to the release of Avengers: Endgame, Inverse is unleashing a few fan theories of our own. Read all of them here and check back for weekly theories from some journalists who spend way too much time thinking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, 2019.


Have any strong thoughts about this theory or want to pitch your own? Email the author at corey@inverse.com.