Avengers: Endgame will forever be the “time travel Avengers movie.” After losing half the team to the Snap, the remaining Avengers put the only plan they had left into action: pulling off an almost-impossible Time Heist.
Despite the odds, this scheme succeeded, though not without a few heartbreaking sacrifices. And while the Avengers’ world returned to relative normalcy, the fallout of Endgame may have broken the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a way only Loki can fix.
By establishing the existence of the Time Variance Authority, which keeps the flow of time the way it’s “meant to be,” Loki has brought much-needed order to the MCU. The time heist carried out by the Avengers in Endgame, the TVA’s introduction makes clear, happened because it was sanctioned by the Time Keepers.
This explains why the superheroes weren’t “pruned” back into place like other errant time travelers. But with that in mind, why can’t the Avengers just use time travel to solve all their problems from now on?
One fan theory, put forward by Redditor PapaSparky, suggests Loki could resolve this plot hole and bring the Avengers back to square one. It’s already known that Loki will flesh out the Marvel “multiverse,” as evidenced by the multiple branching timelines seen in Episode 2.
These multiverses, once they expand beyond the TVA’s control, could fundamentally change the foundation of the MCU, meaning Tony Stark’s initial calculations to figure out time travel could be rendered invalid. As Tony Stark was one of the casualties of Endgame, this means time travel will officially be off the table for future Avengers adventures — though doors to alternate universes are just now opening.
Even if time travel were still possible, TVA agents exist as “time police” and could keep the Avengers from solving their problems too easily. Introducing time travel was a “break glass in case of emergency” situation for the MCU, a last resort in the most dire situation imaginable. It’s not the sort of plot point that will necessarily be repeated.
In terms of sheer entertainment value, if there’s another massive battle between the Avengers and a major villain, going back in time to save the day would also feel like a retread. If Marvel wants to keep raising its already high standards, the studio will need to find a way to avoid leaning on time travel as a catch-all story device.
Thankfully, between Loki’s upcoming Nexus event catastrophe and the possibility of future TVA interference in the MCU, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Loki is now streaming on Disney+.