This post contains copious spoilers about Avengers: Endgame, so proceed at your own risk.
In the weeks leading up to the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, the stars of the film, who were unable to say anything substantial about it lest they spoil the twists and turns the film took, kept describing the movie as the satisfying culmination of a 22-movie arc. Now that the film is in theaters, we can all agree that they did not lie!
Avengers: Endgame successfully and definitively concludes the arcs of three of the original six Avengers: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sacrifices himself to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin) and gets to utter his iconic "I am Iron Man" line one last time in the process; Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) returns the Infinity Stones to the past where he reunites with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), getting both the dance and the happy ending he missed out on all those years ago (oh, and he hands off the iconic shield to Sam, so the mantle of Captain America is passed on); and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) sacrifices herself to get the Soul Stone on Vormir.
Meanwhile, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) returns home to his wife and kids; Thor (Chris Hemsworth) hands over the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and heads off with the Guardians; and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) continues to be Professor Hulk.
This is the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. After 11 years and 22 interconnected films, we've reached the end of the line. And yet, there's so much more we don't know. Marvel hasn't yet announced what Phase Four of the MCU will look like (the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home is technically still part of Phase Three), so as we ruminate on the events of Endgame, these are the most important questions we still have as we look back at the final Avengers film and contemplate what's next.
1. Why did Cap have to shave his beard?
The biggest flaw of Endgame is that Chris Evans doesn't have a beard. Since Infinity War and Endgame were filmed back-to-back, the Russo Brothers likely couldn't have predicted that Cap's beard would be the star of Infinity War (I could have told them, but they didn't ask me). And there's no real reason that Cap should have to be clean-shaven at the beginning of this film -- no longer being a fugitive isn't a good enough reason to kill such beauty in an already ugly world. The only time he needed to be clean-shaven is when he had to blend in as 2012 Cap. So I ask you, Russos, why would you hurt us -- and Chris, who prefers Bearded Cap -- in this way?
2. Did Thor get his cable fixed?
Thor joined the Guardians on the Benatar at the end of Endgame, so he's not in New Asgard anymore -- Valkyrie is the new leader of the Asgardians! -- but it's unclear what Korg (Taika Waititi) and Meek are doing post-Endgame. Did they return to New Asgard? And if so, do they have cable yet? It's imperative that we know if Thor took care of this before he left.
3. Is Guardians 3 going to be the search for Gamora?
In Endgame, a past version of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) joins Past Thanos and Past Nebula (Karen Gillan) in the present. After turning against her father and Past Nebula, Gamora fights on the side of the Avengers and Present Nebula in the climactic final battle. When said battle is over, she kicks Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) in the nuts, and that's the last we see of her. Will the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie follow the Guardians and Nebula as they search for her?
4. Could Thor be in Guardians 3?
Chris Hemsworth has said he's finished playing the God of Thunder, and we have every right to believe him. Like Evans and Downey, his contract is now complete, and it seems like everyone is happy to be moving on after a decade of playing these characters. But since Thor took off with the Guardians at the end of Endgame, and since his chemistry with the ragtag group made for some of Infinity War's best moments, we wouldn't be upset to find out Hemz signed on for one last appearance. Of course, it'd be incredibly easy to just say they dropped him off in space somewhere in between Endgame and Guardians 3. Anything is possible.
5. Why didn't we get a proper goodbye between Cap and Bucky?
For years, fans expected Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) to take over the mantle of Captain America after Steve hung up his shield, but Steve gives the shield to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) at the end of the film. Either character could have made sense -- both have been Captain America in the comics -- but given how close Steve and Bucky were, and given how much of Cap's narrative arc was grounded in their relationship, fans might be surprised, and even a little upset, that Cap gave the nod to Sam and the two shared a heartfelt moment instead of Cap and Bucky, who actually seemed unsurprised by Cap's decision. Was there a goodbye scene between the two friends we didn't get to see because it was cut for time? Did they discuss Cap's succession plan? And more importantly, if this scene exists, will it be on the film's director's cut?
6. Was Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) reading a Goop composting book?
Well, was she?
7. Was the pager scene from the end credits of Captain Marvel cut for time?
All the MCU movies are connected, obviously, but most of the credits scenes don't feel crucial to understanding subsequent films. However, that doesn't necessarily ring true for the mid-credits scene of Captain Marvel, which saw Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) arrive on Earth in 2019 after receiving Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) page. In Endgame, we first see her when she saves Tony and Nebula, who've been drifting in space for weeks. We can assume she arrived on Earth, met the Avengers, and was sent to find Tony shortly thereafter, but nowhere in Endgame is this actually explained. I don't think the scene necessarily needed to be included, but it does make things kind of confusing.
8. Who does put mayo on a hotdog?
9. Where is Loki now?
Approximately 400 million people around the world cried when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) died at the beginning of Infinity War; after all, he and Thor were finally in a good place after the events of Thor: Ragnarok. So the news that Hiddleston would reprise his most famous role for a limited TV series on Disney+, Disney's new streaming service that launches Nov. 12, was met with great enthusiasm by fans. But little was known about the series except that it would feature Loki in different places throughout time. We all expected it to be a prequel series, obviously, but now we know it probably isn't. At least not really. In Endgame, when Cap, Tony, Hulk, and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) travel to 2012 to steal the Space Stone, aka the Tesseract, Loki steals it instead and disappears. It seems likely that this event is what kick-starts Loki's new limited series, which is simply titled Loki.
10. Did the entire Mets team die?
Director Joe Russo makes a cameo in the film at Cap's support meeting, and he mentions that he misses the Mets. We saw an abandoned Citi Field just prior to the scene, so this raises the question of whether or not the entire Mets team disappeared. That seems awfully suspicious. Was Thanos a Phillies fan?
10b. How many sports teams vanished?
The Mets vanishing obviously raises more sports-related questions. How many teams actually vanished? Or, at the very least, how many had to suspend operations because there weren't enough athletes? And did this extend to other sports? Did Thanos snap LeBron James out of existence, for instance? What about the Warriors? Because honestly, I'm not sure anyone outside of Oakland would mind if they stayed gone.
10c. If baseball continued during World War II, why couldn't it continue after the Snap?
I'm sorry to have so many sports questions, but this is important. As we all know, America's favorite pastime didn't just die when the men went off to war, so why the hell did everyone let it die after Thanos eliminated half the population? If there's one thing that should have endured post-Snap, it was f---ing baseball.
11. Did they use the same CGI technology to shrink Downey that they used to shrink Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger?
Technology is constantly improving, obviously, but Downey looked really frail after he returned from space, and it reminded me of pre-serum Steve. Just curious.
12. Is Back to the Future all a lie?
Can we get some kind of definitive ruling from science people here?
13. Is Die Harda lie?
Die Hard is not a lie. It's obviously a true story.
14. Where were Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale?
Like, was Cassie living all alone in that house? Why, in a movie with 20,965 actors, did you eliminate Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale? Did you think they didn't matter? Could they not fit a scene into their schedules? I haven't forgiven Cannavale for beating Aaron Paul for an Emmy that one year, and even I'm mad about this.
15. Did Peter's entire high school class die in the Snap, or will he be in a new class in Far From Home?
At the end of Endgame, we see Peter (Tom Holland) return to school and reunite with his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), but this makes me wonder: Did Peter's entire class die in the Snap? Or will he be with a bunch of new kids in July's Spider-Man: Far From Home? We know the film closes out Phase Three of the MCU and takes place after Endgame, but a bunch of his classmates are returning, based on the film's trailer. So if five years have passed, shouldn't at least some of those kids have graduated by now?
16. Did Natalie Portman really return for just one scene?
As it turns out, yes and no. Portman does appear in Avengers: Endgame, but directors Joe and Anthony Russo told Entertainment Weekly that the footage is left over from Thor: The Dark World. Portman, however, did record a fresh piece of voiceover for her sequence.
17. Does the one inspiring scene featuring every female superhero make up for killing Natasha?
Look, there are going to be a lot of angry fans (and hot takes) come Monday since Natasha, the only woman of the six original Avengers, died in Endgame. It's going to happen. You know it. I know it. Too many women have died to serve the stories of men, and while personally, I am at peace with how Natasha's story comes to an end, it's understandable that not everyone will feel this way. So I wonder how everyone will feel about the scene in which every living female character who's appeared in the MCU teams up to attempt to destroy the Stones. Was it pandering? Will it be enough to pacify those who are angry about Nat's sacrifice?
18. What do Rocket's (Bradley Cooper) emails look like?
I bet they're really fun to read.
18b. What is Rocket's email address?
Now this is going to bother you too.
19. Was Benedict Cumberbatch actually at Tony's funeral, or was he CGI?
If he was present, why did he look flat? And why didn't he blink?
20. Did the lightning magically braid Thor's beard?
That is a neat trick.
21. Why aren't there any credits scenes?
We've all come to expect end credits scenes in Marvel movies, so if you stuck around through the film's credits to see what was in store, you definitely weren't alone. But instead of seeing footage teasing what's coming next, all you could hear was a metal-on-metal clanging sound. Some fans believe it was a callback to Tony working on the first Iron Man suit in the film that kicked off the entire MCU, and that is certainly a lovely bookend to this decade-plus journey we've all been on together. And it actually makes sense there isn't a post-credits scene. Although Spider-Man: Far From Home technically closes out Phase Three, this is the end of the Avengers saga. This is the end of the line. Phase Four of the MCU is going to look a lot different, according to Kevin Feige (there are already three series in the works at Disney+, if you get my drift). There will obviously be a Black Panther sequel and a Captain Marvel sequel, but we will likely never again see the same level of interconnected storytelling that we saw over the course of these 22 movies.
22. Is that America's ass?
(OK, technically the ass in question in that scene would probably be Evans' stuntman's ass. Just go with it.)
Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters. Which you probably already knew if you read this story.