After Avengers: Infinity War ended with a jaw-dropping twist – Earth’s mightiest heroes finally losing to a villain who was too powerful for them – MCU fans spent an entire year speculating on what would happen in the sequel, Avengers: Endgame. So, it’s shocking in itself that the Russo brothers managed to surprise them at all.
Right out of the gate, the Russos subverted expectations by killing off Thanos in brutal fashion within 20 minutes and then suddenly sending the survivors of the Mad Titan’s successful universe-wide genocide into the other side of a five-year time jump. During that time, they all changed a lot, so here are Avengers: Endgame’s 10 Most Surprising Changes After The Time Jump.
10 Tony and Pepper were married and living in a cabin in the woods
We’ve seen Tony Stark take up a few different residences in the MCU. He had that awesome mansion facing the ocean in Malibu, he seemed to live at the top of Stark Tower in New York for a while, and we even saw his parents’ lavish penthouse thanks to his B.A.R.F. technology.
So, it was surprising to see that a man of so many luxuries had given up everything and moved to a cabin in the woods. It was also surprising to see that he’d married Pepper and she, too, had retired to the cabin. All throughout these movies, we’ve seen their relationship move at a snail’s pace and the last big thing was the engagement. Suddenly, they were married and we missed the wedding.
9 Hawkeye became a merciless international assassin
This one maybe wasn’t so surprising, since there were plenty of clips of it in the trailer, but the extent of Clint’s brutality and the reason for his new “Ronin” persona were still a surprise. In the opening scene of the movie, he lost his family to the Snap, and since he wasn’t on Titan or the Wakandan battleground, he didn’t know what that meant.
He didn’t know where they’d gone or why it was suddenly so dusty. That moment clearly traumatized him, and after the time jump, we found that he’d spent five years protesting the randomness of Thanos’ act, killing anyone he felt deserved to die more than his family did, whether they were Mexican drug lords or Japanese gangsters.
8 Thor had established New Asgard in a Norwegian fishing town
At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we saw the surviving Asgardians taking off for Earth to establish a new settlement. However, in the mid-credits scene, we saw Thanos’ warship ominously hovering over them, so they didn’t make it to Earth. At the start of Infinity War, Thanos has already taken the ship, slaughtering many Asgardians and forcing the others to flee.
In the five years between Thor beheading Thanos and Ant-Man escaping from the Quantum Realm, the surviving surviving Asgardians had set up New Asgard in a quaint Norwegian fishing town filled with plenty of beer and Korg playing Fortnite on the God of Thunder’s couch.
7 All the surviving heroes officially joined the Avengers
In the final battle of Endgame, Cap would make every single character there an honorary Avenger by finally letting out his iconic war cry: “Avengers...assemble!” However, long before that, we found that all the heroes who survived Thanos’ snap had joined the Avengers and it had become a cosmic organization.
Only Cap and Black Widow were left from the original team (everyone else was either retired or dead), with Rocket, Nebula, Okoye, War Machine, and Captain Marvel all officially joining the team. Now that they had allies who could jet off to space at any moment, they were helping people on other planets as well as their own. Earth’s mightiest heroes had expanded beyond Earth.
6 Major cities had become ghost towns
When we saw cold, blue-tinted views of major U.S. cities filled with abandoned cars and crumbling baseball stadiums in the Endgame trailers, many of us assumed that those shots were set just after Thanos’ finger-snap when the world was still reeling from the immediate aftermath.
However, in the actual movie, these shots were set five years later. Humanity had been struggling so much to cope with such a random otherworldly threat that they hadn’t even gone through the streets and collected their lost loved ones’ cars yet. To be fair, a purple alien showing up on Earth out of nowhere to collect the remaining “Infinity Stones” he needed to control the universe and then wiping out half of all life in that same afternoon might take more than five years to comprehend.
5 Rocket and Nebula were close friends
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Rocket was resistant to open himself up to people and Nebula was a villain bent on destroying the titular cosmic team. In the second one, Rocket learned the values of friendship and Nebula joined the Guardians after putting her differences with Gamora aside, but there was still some animosity there.
So, it was surprising – or perhaps not surprising at all – to find that in the five-year time jump, Rocket and Nebula had become close friends. Rocket had lost all the other Guardians and Nebula had lost Gamora and Thanos; in other words, they both lost the only family they ever had and found solace in befriending each other.
4 Black Widow was leading the Avengers
It’s a testament to the Avengers’ spirit that their triumphant failure in Infinity War followed by the small victory of decapitating Thanos didn’t make them all give up heroism entirely. Tony left the team, Banner left the team, Thor left the team, Hawkeye went A.W.O.L. – the only two left out of the original six members were Cap and Black Widow, mainly because they didn’t have anywhere else to go.
It was interesting to see how the five-year time jump affected the power structure of the team, because Natasha was running things, holding regular hologram conferences with her teammates to see how their missions were going, and Cap was taking a semi-retired backseat as sort of a consultant (and occasional chef).
3 Bruce Banner and the Hulk had become one
One of the most shocking revelations was that Bruce Banner and the Hulk had merged to become “Smart Hulk,” who had the green skin and brawn of the Hulk with the mild manners and brains of Banner. After getting shut out by Tony Stark, Cap, Black Widow, and Ant-Man decided to take their time travel theory to the next smartest guy in their roster: Bruce Banner.
Cut to a diner where Smart Hulk is eating food by the ton: a mountain of pancakes, a mixing bowl full of scrambled eggs etc. Banner completed his character arc off-screen as his internal Jekyll-and-Hyde conflict was resolved, and with his new combo of brains and brawn, he was free to invent time travel, talk shop with the Ancient One, and use the Infinity Stones to save everyone who got dusted.
2 Tony had a young daughter named Morgan
In Infinity War, Tony told Pepper about a dream he had where they had a child named Morgan (named after her eccentric uncle). Fans went into Endgame with the fear that Tony would die in the opening scene as he drifted through space in the Benatar with no food or water.
However, he was saved by Captain Marvel, was relieved to find that Pepper had survived the Snap, and made it to the five-year time jump. After it, he was living in a cabin in the woods with Pepper – and they had a young daughter named Morgan. Given how Endgame ended, there’s added poignancy to this moment.
1 Thor had gained weight
This was easily the most surprising turn. Thor has always been famous for his rock-hard abs, his arms that look like legs, and his chiseled body of a god. So, when he emerged from the shadows and revealed a big beer belly after Endgame’s time jump, fans everywhere were left stunned. The storyline has been criticized for fat-shaming, but those people missed the point. For starters, the joke wasn’t simply that fat people are funny – it was that Thor being fat is funny – and also, it was shown to be a symptom of his depression.
He felt defeated and lost after Thanos won and his fatal error (not going for the head) allowed it to happen, so his weight gain was a result of that. Plus, regaining his happiness and his groove was never equated with his weight – he proved his worthiness and defeated Thanos without losing the weight.