This Interactive Timeline Helps Make Sense of Avengers: Endgame’s Time Travel Logic

It’s okay, Tony doesn’t understand the timeline either.
It’s okay, Tony doesn’t understand the timeline either.
Image: Marvel Studios

Time travel is complicated, which means it’s time for some charts.

I’m particularly fond of this one, created by fan Oren Bell. In an elaborate, detailed interactive timeline, Bell explores the various realities created by the actions of the Avengers in Avengers: Endgame, tracing the actions of each protagonist and their impact on the timeline(s). Simply click a character, and you can follow their journey, from the present to the past to the present again.


What I love about this timeline is its exercise as both an explainer and a piece of speculation. Bell imagines what the aftermath of the meddling in teach timeline is, and traces the existence of each branch the heroes would have created. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has an opportunity now to break out across multiple timelines and realities—a chance that, if Spider-Man: Far From Home is any indication, creators seem intent on pursuing—and that means we’re going to have a lot more to keep straight in the years to come. Little bites of clever design and some exploratory writing like Bell’s are a great way to keep up with these worlds and think critically about them at the same time.

So by all means, click here to check out the timeline, and dive deeper into the multiverse when Spider-Man: Far From Home comes out July 2, 2019.

[h/t Comic Book Resources]

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.



I’m not sure I agree with his final conclusion.

Since cap doesn’t return through the machine, we can conclude he never returns to his own reality. The Cap sitting on the bench is not the Cap that we just saw travel back in time. Rather, the Cap on the bench is from this branch’s parent reality. Thus, the movie does not portray prime reality, it portrays a branched reality.

This supposes that there are TWO futures where the Avengers defeated Thanos, and Cap traveled between them, which seems unlikely. Unless Doctor Strange just stopped looking for wins after he found the first one (unlikely for him) or he would have had to look for 28 million futures before he found a second win, it seems like stating the movie must be an alternate reality where they ALSO won is incorrect. If there are islands in the multiverse where the Avengers occasionally save their universe I don’t know how Old Cap would find them.