While time travel in Avengers: Endgame will be tricky to navigate, the key might rest in an overlooked scene from Ant-Man and the Wasp. Remember Bill Foster’s lecture on quantum entanglement? Us neither, but it could play a key part in the Avengers’ plan to defeat Thanos and undo the Decimation in Endgame.
This complex new theory, which deals with parallel realities and argues that one Avengers already managed to bridge the gap between multiple dimensions, comes from redditor u/juanbergur, who noticed something interesting in what might initially sound like random scientific mumbo jumbo meant to introduce another smart character.
Inverse is posing a few theories of its own with Inverse String Theory, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Endgame.
Here’s the quote from Ant-Man and the Wasp (or watch it here):
“In an isolated system, particles coexist in a stable phase relationship - if the system is interfered with, that stability becomes chaos. Unpredictable, dangerous, beautiful. Isolated completely, a quantum system would revert back to separate states of matter, each entangled with a distinct state of its environment. In other words, the object in question would be in and out of phase with multiple parallel realities.”
Foster doesn’t outright state that he’s referring to the Quantum Realm, but the implication is there. Imagine the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a linear progression of time, undisturbed. That is, until the Avengers use time travel to prevent Thanos’ snap from ever happening. Enter Bill Foster’s claim that “chaos” can happen if the particles of a particular phase are tampered with.
Basically, the timeline as we know it could be split into multiple phases, all happening at once. It’s already been established that the Quantum Realm has pathways to multiple universes and is capable of bending time in a way that doesn’t affect the outside world. It’s currently stable, but that could change once time travelling begins.
The instability could also happen because the Avengers visit various points in time instead of one. After all, if they’re to collect the Infinity Stones, or even their energy signatures, they’ll have to be in more than one time period at once. Being in the Quantum Realm will allow them to move in and out of phases, connecting to parallel or alternate realities while doing so.
Essentially, Foster’s lecture provides the scientific basis for whatever time travel shenanigans the Avengers get into in Endgame.
The same theory goes on to argue that Doctor Strange used the Time Stone to exist in “multiple phases” during Infinity War to ensure the Decimation only happened after Ant-Man was safely inside the Quantum Realm. This would explain Doctor Strange’s last words to Tony Stark about there being “no other way.” The vague message could mean anything, but it highlights the fact that he knew something important before fading from existence.
The theory also claims Thanos may have already created a disturbance when he projected a false image of Knowhere to trick the Guardians of the Galaxy in Infinity War. Was he summoning an alternate reality through the use of the Reality Stone?
Since several moments within the Quantum Realm’s space-time continuum can exist simultaneously, this theory potentially eradicates the need to worry about maintaining the original timeline. Once disturbed, Foster explains that it could allow the “objects” (the objects in this case being the Avengers) to travel in and out of phases without disturbing the primary timeline. In other words, the last ten years of the MCU should also remain intact.
However, the “objects” that traveled through time may never be able to return to a single reality, which could explain what will happen to key Avengers like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor after the actors who play them part ways with Marvel following the release of Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters April 26, 2019.