Dr. Mike Robinson ~ UL Communication Studies Professor
[Warning: Spoilers for this summer’s Marvel movies]
Hurrah! Happy ending! Thanos is beaten and all is well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean sure, heroic sacrifices were made and all that, but such things should be expected when the ultimate evil is engaged. The important thing is that things are back to normal.
Avengers: Endgame was a movie built upon time travel hijinks and superhero brawls. At three hours long, one certainly can understand that not every aspect of the temporal dilemmas and not every question about alternate universe experiences were addressed in it. Spider-Man: Far From Home did take on some of the problems of half of the world’s population being returned to life after five years. However that exposition was abandoned in favor of a summer class trip inspired adventure.
I never expected these movies to go into detail. That would be too pedantic for even the nerdiest of nerds. And it is a testament to the scenario that it has left enough questions to put the speculative in speculative fiction:
Where exactly did the dusted return?: We were left with the idea that those dusted in Avengers: Infinity War came back and resumed their lives. There is an acknowledgment of the difficulties inherent in that. In Far From Home, Aunt May references how surprised the new tenants of her home were when she suddenly reappeared there. If that is the rule for everyone else, some people are in serious trouble the instant they reappeared. For example, in an Infinity War end credit scene, we saw a helicopter crash from the sky just before Nick Fury disappeared. If those people returned exactly where they vanished, they would suddenly find themselves several hundred feet in the air over Manhattan Island. That is quite the surprise. Hopefully those people falling to the street upon materialization did not distract Nick because he was standing in the road when he returned.
What is the deal with E.D.I.T.H.?: Far from Home showed Peter Parker inheriting a global defense system from Tony Stark called E.D.I.T.H. But when did Tony build it? It must have been before Peter was heartbreakingly dusted before him in Infinity War. Otherwise, why program it to obey Peter? But if so, why did Tony not think to program in another inheritor in the five-years he thought Peter to be dead? More importantly, why did Tony not use the system in the massive battle for the fate of the universe that so spectacularly takes up the last third of Endgame? Surely that what the system called for.
Who is the new Sorcerer Supreme?: Doctor Stephen Strange was dusted too, dead and gone for five years along with half the population of the planet. I have wondered a lot about what that must be like for anybody. To the undusted, no time has passed. These people experience shock upon discovering that their lives have changed. Their homes may not be their homes any more. Their jobs certainly are not their jobs. Amusingly, one might imagine how the current president might react to such an experience. But in the MCU there are far more important jobs. The ever-reliable Wong no doubt protected the Sanctum Sanctorum, but who took on the role of protecting the universe from magical menaces? I can not believe pan-dimensional baddies like Dormammu said, “Ah, they are struggling, I will not invade now.”