Avengers: Endgame didn’t exactly have a happy ending. Multiple heroes died (or disappeared into the past), leaving the future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes up in the air. But for the rest of the world, this was supposed to be a happy ending.
Half of the universe Blipped back into existence. Mothers. Husbands. Children. Everyone came back. Happily ever after, right? Maybe not.
Ever since WandaVision, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been dropping clues that undoing Thanos’s Snap may have caused more problems than it solved (or at least, caused some unforseen problems). But it’s never been clear exactly what that meant. Until now.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier vs. Avengers Endgame
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s main villains, the Flag-Smashers, keep saying that the world was better before the Avengers undid the Snap. They want to maintain “a world without borders.” In Episode 4, we finally learn what that really means.
First, in response to Flag-Smasher leader Karli Morgenthau’s decision to blow up a bolding full of Global Repatriation Committee soldiers, the GRC responds by locking down borders. (Whoops!) Here’s an exposition dump courtesy of an MCU news anchor:
“After condemning this latest action by the radical group known as the Flag-Smashers, the GRC formally began drafting legislation known as The Patch Act, which would seek to restore traditional border regulations and fast-track the return to normalcy.”
Soon afterward, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes discuss the Flag-Smasher’s motivations, with Falcon somewhat surprisingly siding with Karli. Here’s a key bit of dialogue spoken by Sam:
“For five years, people have been welcomed into countries that have kept them out using barbwire. There were houses and jobs. Folks were happy to have people around to help them rebuild. It wasn’t just one community coming together, it was the entire world coming together. And then, boom. Just like that, it goes right back to the way it used to be. To them, at least Karli’s doin’ something.”
In one short scene, Falcon and the Winter Soldier finally explains how the world adapted to Thanos’s Snap. And how the Blip undid some of that progress.
Avengers: Endgame’s secret ending, explained
After half of the universe disappeared, a lot of people and systems in the MCU needed to adapt. That likely meant mass migrations just to keep basic services running and food production from completely cratering. As Sam points out, countries that previously kept their borders locked up suddenly opened their doors, desperate for more warm bodies.
Imagine if the Snap happened in the real world and the U.S. tore down the walls along its southern border, inviting any and all immigrants who could help revive the American economy. Now imagine if all those dusted Americans suddenly came back. Do you think the U.S. government would let all the Blip-era immigrants stay, let alone keep their new jobs and homes?
That’s basically what happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Endgame, except Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set in Europe instead of America. A divided world came together. Then, in an instant, it came apart again. And the people who sacrificed the most to help repair the world suffered the worst.
It’s unlikely Falcon and the Winter Soldier will offer any real resolution for this kind of global immigration crisis. But now that we finally understand what happened, the MCU can begin to explore some actual solutions — or just try to blow up the Earth again.