A scientist at UCLA has explained what would happen in real life if Thanos' snap were to actually take place. Following the 2018 premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, many fan theories have developed about a post-snap world. Some have questioned whether the Mad Titan's snap would resemble the biblical rapture, while others have speculated about the remaining population's ability to survive. Now, scientists and the writers of Infinity War and Endgame, have gotten involved in the discussion, and it doesn't look good for Earthlings.
Infinity War ends with Thanos finally locating all six Infinity Stones, and loading them into his Infinity Gauntlet. In a literal snap, 3.8 billion people are erased from the Earth, reduced to ash, including some Avengers. Without the full Avengers team to protect the world, the remaining population is left vulnerable and defenseless. Despite big MCU consequences, much more would be at stake if this sort of thing were to really happen. True, there would be more food to go around, shelter and resources left for survivors, but an Earthly utopia like Thanos anticipates at the end of Infinity War is likely just the stuff of fantasy.
Justin Christensen of the UCLA Physics Department recently explained to Fandom the likely aftermath that would ensue following a mass population reduction, like in Infinity War, and it isn't pretty. If 50% of the world's population were wiped out in an instant, this would take the population back down to where it was in the year 1970, which as it turns out, would not be as huge a cut as needed to make a big positive impact. People would likely repopulate the Earth back to its 2019 population rather quickly, and we would be back to where we started. Christensen also mentions that if pilots, bus drivers, air traffic controllers and the like were all instantly snapped away, the number of non-snap related fatalities to follow would be significant. Clean water and electricity would be luxuries of the past, as would other vital things needed for human survival, such as medical supplies.
But what if more than the human population were effected? Fans have speculated about whether or not all living organisms are included in the snap or not, and the answer would drastically alter the world as we know it. Writers of Infinity War and Endgame Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have somewhat answered this question. They have both claimed that the snap would only impact "sentient life", or only intelligent and conscious life forms like humans and animals. Marvel Studios Chief Kevin Feige has given conflicting statements about this topic, but his remark that the snap wiped out "All life!" is largely responsible for the confusion. Many have interpreted this utterance to mean that microbes, plants, and other lifeforms are included in the snap, and the internet has been buzzing with theories ever since. If this were to happen in reality, Christensen explains that the “complex and fragile relationships between many different species” would be effected, and “many ecosystems [would] change completely, and there could be species that never recover.”
There would undoubtedly be a handful of unforeseen consequences, should a real life Infinity War-style snap ever happen. If 50% of all the Earth's lifeforms were to disappear, there would not only be fatalities as a result of people vanishing out of thin air, but there would be notable changes to the Earth's environment. If the ecosystem is changed, then the food chain is changed, and perhaps the entire landscape of the planet as well. The livability of the Earth for those left standing in the literal dust would decline significantly. Even if sentient life is the only life affected by the snap, the consequences far outweigh the potential good that would come out of it. So, although Thanos may have had an arguably somewhat noble idea in trying to save the Earth from the same fate as his home planet, the likelihood of things turning out as planned would be slim in the real world.
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019