The 11 years journey of Marvel Cinematic Universe had an ambitious goal for the capstone for Avengers: Endgame. To best play to the strengths of the history of the previous films, the plot of Endgame heavily revolved around time travel. But in playing around with all the cool tricks inherent to this narative mechanism, Marvel ended up breaking the timeline they worked so hard to create.
After finding out that Thanos, that he destroyed the Infinity Stones that made culling possible, the Avengers soon realized that their only option was to use Pym particles to travel back in time to collect the stones where they still existed. The stones could undo the snap, but procuring them proved to be a challenge.
The Avengers planned an elaborate Time Heist to pull of their plan, but even after the movie threw at other time travel movies (like Back to the Future) for playing fast and loose with their level time travel rules, Endgame still did not pay attention to small details. There are several nagging details that have been bothering fans ever since Endgame and even Spider-Man : Far From Home, revealed the present state of the MCU.
Right off the bat, there are complications with MCU’s present timeline. Endgame made a time jump to 2023, so in the interim the movies come out are technically set in the the real world’s future. This seems to put in an interesting mystery just from a business standpoint : How is the product placement that fuels the financial jusggernaut of the worlds biggest blockbuster possible when the latest brands they’re suppose to feature would out placed in 2023?
The Endgame left many questions unanswered, that should have been answered, one of them is are there multiple Captain Americas running around at some point at MCU? In Endgame we saw that in the end Captain America travel back in time in order to return the stones at the same time they were being taken by the Avengers to bring back those who were being snapped out of existence, granting him ample Pym particles to make the trips he would need to tie up the film’s loose plot threads. But after Cap finished the job, he did not return, and instead he traveled back in time to live his life with Peggy Carter.
This left fans wondering whether their are multiple Captain Americas , it they replaced one another at any point of time then how could Captain America could possibly sit idle while some of history’s greatest tragedies unfolded. Then, of course their is another problem the Shield. In the end we saw Captain America giving the shield to Sam Wilson after returning as an old man and officially announcing his retirement, but how could this happen as we saw that Thanos broke the shield apart in the film’s climax. To remove it from any point in the past would have robbed a past Captain America of his trusty weapon, so from where the new shield came?
Endgame also left a big plot thread that is clearly meant to picked up on later, but in the meantime it creates a vaccum of confusion. While going back in time to the Battle of New York the first Avengers in which Loki escape with the Tesseract. The Avengers are left neding to retrieve the Space Stone from a different point of time, and Loki’s fate is still left a quetsion mark.
A question that the planned Loki series on Disney + will doubtlessely address. It’s said that he “uses the power of the Tessesract to travel throughout the human history and change historical events. It’s seems like Loki series will take place in an alternate timeline, but for the prospects for the state of the MCU timeline seem all the more disastrous in light what he could do. There are enough problems with the timeline as it is, how Marvel could address these issues sensibly?
For the time being, the plan appears to be to push the issue off until Marvel figures things out. The upcoming solo film Black Widow is said take place before Endgame, meaning that these would be largely moot points for the film’s plot.
It’s doubtful that the Eternals film would directly tie in with much of on goings on of the current cast of characters, given that their intention in the comics are often depicted as dealing with ther own issues. Similarly Shang chi will also not necessarily tie in previously established story arcs.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the perfect oppurtunity to deal with the problems of the MCU’s timeline in a proper way. The title itself practically promises to deal with the issue of alternate timelines, but the plot would be a natural fit for the character. Not only beacuse Doctor Strange is an already established character in MCU, but we know from Endgame that it is part of the duty of Sorcerer Supreme to preserve the timeline.
It was his predecessor the Ancient One who explained the mechanics of protecting the timeline in Endgame and without the Time Stone, it could well fall on Doctor Strange to the MCU original timeline back to its course. Wheteher or not this will put him into conflict with Loki, but this would be an eciting oppurtunity to tell a vast array of new stories while neatly finishing the old ones.