“What If…?” Episode 1 Embarks On A Hectic Recap Of Alternate History

SPOILERS FOR WHAT IF…? AHEAD!

My main question coming into What If…?, and the only one this premiere episode actually had to answer, is what the framing device around each episode would be. After all, What If…? isn’t your typical Marvel Disney+ show – and not only because it’s the studio’s first animated series, but because it’s also an anthology of sorts. Each episode is largely self-contained, and each follows a different timeline in the vast Marvel Multiverse, where a single change to the canon we know can create a wholly different world and history.

What If...?
Captain Carter | indiewire.com

My questions were mostly regarding the logistics of this bold creative choice. Would we be plunged straight into the action of a whole new universe each week, much like with WandaVision? Would each episode lead into the next, even if they were self-contained and separate? How prevalent would Jeffrey Wright’s The Watcher actually be as a narrator, and how helpful would he be as a guide to the Multiverse? The answers: no, not really, and…*vague hand gesture*

Don’t get me wrong: The Watcher has an important role, especially for general audiences. Even if you haven’t seen the finale of Loki and don’t actually know what the Multiverse is, The Watcher gives you all the information you need to know upfront – which is to say, very little, yet just enough to get a general understanding of what’s going on. The Watcher bookends the first episode with a little narration at the beginning that very swiftly and deftly picks out the nexus event in this alternate timeline that leads to Peggy Carter (voiced by her original actress, Hayley Atwell) becoming Captain Carter, and then a brief closing monologue about how he never interferes in the timeline.

Sadly, The Watcher doesn’t show up at all between those two points – which makes him a lot less interesting as a character. I get that he can’t, or won’t, interfere with the timelines he watches over even though they’re already in chaos thanks to Loki and Sylvie, but it would have been nice if he at least took a more active role as a narrator, giving us some colorful commentary on the action of each episode. He certainly has strong feelings and opinions on things. I would like to hear more from him.

And I almost feel as though that kind of commentary would have helped to save this episode from turning into the choppily-edited, massively-abridged, unfocused highlight reel of Captain Carter’s life and career that it very quickly becomes.

You know the little Marvel: Legends recaps that Marvel’s been releasing in front of each of their shows that focus on a returning character’s greatest moments in the MCU? This episode plays like a recap, except that each of the “greatest moments” in this case seems to have been selected not for what they say about Captain Carter as a character, certainly not for what they illuminate about the differences between her and Steve Rogers (Josh Keaton), but for how they reference, parallel, or directly overlap with Steve’s own adventures as Captain America in The First Avenger – thereby robbing Captain Carter of much of her individuality and independence.

In terms of runtime, this episode also feels like a highlight reel at a lean twenty-nine minutes (not including credits) – and rather than work with that time limitation and design this episode with the style and aesthetic of a 1940’s news reel, which would have been really clever and fun, this episode just feels breathless and hectic. Everyone is delivering their dialogue at breakneck speed, sometimes barely even pausing between lines to a point that becomes seriously grating on the ear – again, as though it’s being edited on the assumption that the stuff in between the dialogue isn’t important.

There’s nothing I would call a unique character moment, because there’s barely any space to fit a character moment in here at all – so the episode relies on recycling beats from The First Avenger, but with Steve and Peggy’s roles swapped. Just like in the universe we left behind, they still fall in love, one of them still ends up sacrificing themselves to save the world and returns seventy years later, and they even make the exact same promise to share a dance one day, except that here it just comes out of the blue and feels totally unearned. Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark comes closest to having a character moment, and it’s literally just one line about a weekend with Hedy Lamarr.

So what do we get instead? A lot of plot. In fact, the entire plot of The First Avenger – a two-hour and four-minute long movie – condensed into just less than half an hour. And that’s because this episode basically follows The First Avenger beat-by-beat, without really diving into the unique consequences of Peggy Carter specifically not only becoming the first Super-Soldier, but quite forcefully seizing the serum after an incident in Doctor Erskine (Stanley Tucci)’s laboratory that forces her to take the lead.

What If...?
What If…? | kakuchopurei.com

The nexus event that’s supposed to precipitate everything is Peggy refusing to leave the laboratory floor during the experiment on Rogers. But What If…? recreates the scene with a couple of other noticeable alterations that you’d think might also mess up the timeline, including the addition of John Flynn (Bradley Whitford) – an obscure character from Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter – and the fact that everyone else is on the laboratory floor along with Peggy, which makes this feel like less of an empowering feminist moment and more like a joint decision by all the Strategic Science Reserve top brass. The date of the Red Skull (Ross Marquand)’s raid on T√łnsberg is also pushed back, and somehow despite having the Tesseract in his possession for a far shorter period he’s suddenly able to summon monsters from other dimensions?

But from that point on, the basic structure of the story remains unchanged. A string of awesome action sequences prevent the episode from ever becoming downright boring, but it’s not exactly entertaining either once you realize that Peggy is no longer getting to make her own decisions, she’s just running through a checklist of all the things Steve did that she now has to repeat. Rescuing Bucky and the other guys of the 107th, and forming the Howling Commandos? Check. Losing her best friend during a mission in the Swiss Alps that involves ziplining onto a Nazi bullet train? Check. Storming a HYDRA fortress, and supposedly dying in a heroic self-sacrifice? Also check.

And that really annoys me because there’s so much more this episode could have played with, even in its slim runtime! Peggy is a much more forceful presence than Steve Rogers, both in the main timeline and this one, so it makes sense that she’d get onto the front lines a lot faster than Steve, without going through the awkward middle stage of being sent around the US on a military propaganda tour, but we could have explored more of how Peggy being a woman affects the way she’s expected to behave as Captain Carter, and how she defies the expectations of her in her own way.

For instance, perhaps the SSR and the US military wouldn’t have felt comfortable about flaunting her as they did with Steve – after all, she doesn’t perform her first heroic deed in public in this timeline, so there’s no pressure on them to do so. We could have dived into the covert side of the SSR, with Peggy being used only on secretive stealth-missions while the SSR fast-tracks an effort to find her replacement behind her back. They basically find one in Steve Rogers, ironically. He becomes a kind of proto-Iron Man alongside Captain Carter, donning a flying metal suit called the HYDRA Stomper. But the episode is too busy working in their romance to explore any conflict there.

It would also have been interesting to see how Peggy embodies the marriage of British brawn with American (and technically German) science, and how that affects the political situation in her universe. She might have been hailed as a symbolic representation of the alliance between the US and the UK, and both countries might have fought over her behind the scenes. What If…? certainly emphasizes her Britishness in a way the movies didn’t, with Captain Carter wearing the Union Jack on both her suit and vibranium shield, all while still working for the US. But this odd detail is somehow never mentioned, and What If…? doesn’t so much as toy with the idea of calling her Captain Britain.

And what about the effect it has on her enemies? In The First Avenger, I always got the sense that the Red Skull’s loathing of the US, which even led to him trying to bomb New York, was derived from his intense personal grudge against Steve Rogers. But in What If…?, his grudge is with Peggy Carter – and though the episode barely touches on their dynamic because time restraints, I can’t help but wonder if he’d have launched a full-scale attack on her country of England instead of targeting Steve Rogers’ hometown? I’d have loved to have seen some twist on the Battle of Britain.

Speaking of battles, let’s touch on one of my favorite things about the episode – the action. Animation has always been a great medium for action-heavy stories, because in animation you’re free to play fast and loose with logic and the laws of physics in ways that live-action can’t consistently replicate, even if you are willing to endanger the lives of countless stunt doubles and pay for massive amounts of CGI. Think of how Ahsoka Tano moves in The Clone Wars and in Star Wars: Rebels, with the kind of fluidity and flexibility that make her fight scenes mesmerizing to watch – that’s how Captain Carter moves in What If…?. She flies, she twirls, she high-kicks Nazis, we love to see it.

But that’s what makes it so disappointing that we don’t get to see more of her as a character – or even just anything that feels like a direct consequence of Peggy Carter, specifically, becoming a Super-Soldier. The very structure of What If…? would seem to allow for more character-driven storytelling, even necessitate it. Characters making decisions they’re not supposed to is how we end up with alternate timelines in the MCU. But Peggy is stuck doing everything Steve did, the only real twist being that she looks a hell of a lot cooler (wearing flawless victory curls in the heat of battle is a whole mood), and fights better too. Oh yeah, and the Red Skull gets crushed to death by a cosmic Cthulhu that I’m stubbornly choosing to believe is Hive from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., but that really doesn’t have anything to do with Peggy.

What If...?
Captain Carter | cbr.com

Yet that, I’m afraid, is how many of the episodes of What If…? that simply revolve around one character taking up another’s mantle will ultimately play out – as if the plot beats are more important than the characters and their individual actions, as if it doesn’t really matter who’s the first Avenger because they’re still going to have to do all the same things as Steve Rogers and end up in the same place eventually. I hope that once we get into episodes with more unique concepts, we’ll see more character-driven storytelling and perhaps have a chance to slow down a bit and actually explore all these new corners of the Multiverse that we just kind of rushed through in this premiere.

Episode Review: 6.5/10

“Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 7, Episode 2 Review!

SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. SEASON 7, EPISODE 2

Coming off a solid premiere to the series’ seventh and final season, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. finds new ways to tie back into the canon of the mainstream Marvel Cinematic Universe, subtly hinting that more connections between the two are on the way as the team continues their journey through the Marvel timeline. Much as they might have liked to not interfere with the course of history, the truth is that was never going to work – and episode 2 is where it all starts falling apart.

We pick up right where we left off last week, with the Agents coming to the realization that, to save S.H.I.E.L.D. from an invasion of Chronicom aliens, they must save Wilfred Malick (Darren Barnet), the man behind the creation of the shadowy organization known as HYDRA, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s arch-enemy in later years. While Director Mack (Henry Simmons) and Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) unknowingly escort Malick on one of his missions, the rest of the team works against the clock to try and figure out what he’s planning, why the Chronicoms want him dead, and whether his life is really worth saving.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jemma Simmons | tvline.com

The answer to the first question is revealed fairly early in the episode, and is what brings this episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D into conjunction with the events of the MCU – Wilfred Malick’s secret mission, disguised as a job bootlegging illegal alcohol, is to deliver vials containing the ingredients which will later make their way into the Super Soldier Serum: the very same which will one day course through the veins of both Johann Schmidt (HYDRA’s Red Skull) and Steve Rogers (S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Captain America). Through this chance encounter, yet another link is forged between the two enemies.

But as for that last question – is Wilfred Malick worth saving? – well, that’s a question that haunts everyone on the team, but especially Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet). Not only does she argue bitterly with her teammates about how they can feel comfortable allowing the future head of HYDRA to survive, but she even takes the initiative in one critical moment and tries to have him killed. Her assassination attempt fails – mostly because Deke isn’t really the best person to carry out any sort of plan, much less one that involves killing someone. But in the long run, that’s probably fortunate: since without HYDRA, S.H.I.E.L.D. would never be formed and Captain America would never be created.

Not everyone, however, makes it out of this timeline unscathed – or even makes it out of this timeline, period. The quiet, contemplative Chronicom Enoch (Joel Stoffer) accidentally gets left behind in 1931 at the end of the episode while the rest of the team escapes through an unexpected time window. Thankfully, he uses his wits to get a job at the speakeasy owned by Ernest Koenig (Patton Oswalt), who forged a somewhat uneasy relationship with the Agents during their stay in his timeline, and even gets to take a ride on the Zephyr One during this episode, marveling at modern technology behind his wildest imagination and demanding to know whether S.H.I.E.L.D. is really a group of Martian space invaders. The stinger at the end of the episode sees Koenig probing Enoch for information about how to make robots – seemingly hinting at an explanation for why he has so many descendants in the future, and all of them are identical.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Yo-Yo Rodriguez | telltaletv.com

Agents “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) come out of their escapade in 1931 having sustained several more traumas. Though it was teased in the premiere that Yo-Yo hadn’t completely recovered from the incident in season 6 when she swallowed an alien bat and was almost killed by the resulting parasite, it is made explicit here when she fails to use her powers during a tense moment, prompting interrogation from Daisy. May, on the other hand, is still suffering from gaps in her memory and terrifying hallucinations sustained during the season 6 finale when she battled the death goddess Izel: she doesn’t know where or when she is, and she’s angry when she sees the LMD version of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), knowing full well that the Coulson she knew and loved is dead, and unwilling to let herself be tricked into trusting another duplicate of him.

Overall, I feel this episode is actually stronger than the premiere for a number of reasons. Yo-Yo, May and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) each get to play a part in the action, whereas the premiere left them waiting on the ship, essentially just twiddling their thumbs. The character work is a little bit stronger, as is the dialogue. And while I appreciated last week’s storyline focused on saving Franklin D. Roosevelt, this week’s episode benefited from being able to plunge us into the action and the drama without needing any red herring diversions to deliver exposition.

Speaking of action, there’s one standout fight scene when May and Enoch clash in the hangar of the Zephyr One: Enoch, re-outfitted with upgraded Chronicom tech, is almost winning until May (who, I might add, is still just recently awake from a coma) traps him and goes to town on his synthetic skull with a fire-extinguisher. I’m very excited to see where May goes in this season – it’s not at all unusual for her to use brute force, but her behavior in this episode is sending up red flags all over the place: she’s responding to her near-death encounter in season 6 much like how Coulson reacted when he found out he had been resurrected early in the series. If that’s a parallel that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is interested in exploring, I’m here for it.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Enoch | meaww.com

Once again, the Chronicoms are the weakest part of the story, and their villainy is tame and uninteresting. I was more intrigued by the possibility of HYDRA agents showing up to try and protect the Super Soldier Serum, but only one – a woman named Viola (Nora Zehetner) – actually appeared in person, and even she was either unconscious or unwillingly spitting out information in a German accent most of the time.

Now, all we can do is wait and see in which era of Marvel history the Agents will be dropped next – and whether or not they’ll get involved in any more MCU events on the long, uncertain road to the finale.

Episode Rating: 7.9/10

Five Ways Black Widow Could Come Back To The MCU!

Last night, I had the chance to watch Avengers: Endgame again for the first time in a while. As on previous rewatches of the film, I found myself appreciating most of the first act of the movie (where, SPOILER ALERT I GUESS?, the Avengers kill Thanos), and most of the third act (where the Avengers kill Thanos a second time). I even liked a lot of stuff in my least-favorite part of the movie, that troublesome second act that has the team split up across different timelines and try to steal Infinity Stones from history.

Black Widow
cinemablend.com

But I still cringed at the absolute worst part of Avengers: Endgame – the scene in which Natasha Romanoff, the legendary Black Widow, sacrifices both her life and years of character development in exchange for the mysterious Soul Stone, willingly leaping from that accursed cliff on the godforsaken planet of Vormir to her very certain death. Cue the outrage. Natasha Romanoff, Marvel’s first (and for a long time, only) woman Avenger, was sacrificed in much the same way as another woman a year earlier: Gamora, who was tossed from the cliff by her own father. As womens’ bodies continue to pile up at the foot of that stupid cliff, fans (and especially, female fans) asked Marvel one simple favor: could you please stop fridging women?

Natasha Romanoff’s death is doubly infuriating because it came just before her long-awaited solo movie, Black Widow, which is supposed to explore an adventure in her past, before the events of Avengers: Endgame. But many are still clinging to a desperate hope that the Widow is still somewhere out there, either alive on earth or fighting to get back home. So let’s take a look at a couple ways Natasha could come back to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

5: It Wasn’t Really Her.

Yelena Belova
hitc.com

This theory is a bit preposterous, but still worth noting: the idea is that Natasha Romanoff’s “sister”, Yelena Belova, who will make her debut in the Black Widow film, actually traded identities with Natasha before Avengers: Infinity War, or at some other point before Avengers: Endgame. There’s a little bit of evidence that supports this: Natasha wearing Yelena Belova’s jacket in Infinity War; a shot from a recent Black Widow trailer that shows Yelena Belova on a surgical table with a strange scar around her forehead, as if her face had been removed or changed. This option is undoubtedly the least appealing, not only because it would mean that the rest of Natasha’s awesome character beats in Endgame weren’t her own, but because this only changes the identity of the woman victim. As Infinity War Captain America would say: “We don’t trade lives.” Nonetheless, expect the super-spy sisters to swap identities frequently in the Black Widow film.

4: Multiverse Shenanigans.

Gamora
reddit.com

As I mentioned previously, Gamora was the first person to lose her life on Vormir – but she has since returned, thanks to the time heist in Avengers: Endgame. Coincidentally, it was when Black Widow, Nebula, Hawkeye and War Machine traveled back to 2014 to retrieve the Power and Soul Stones that a 2014 version of Gamora was able to slip through into the present Marvel timeline, along with the 2014 Nebula and Thanos. If the Avengers wanted to bring Natasha back, they could simply find a version of her from another timeline – but that poses a whole bunch of other problems.

3: Bruce Resurrected Her.

Hulk
looper.com

One of the plot-lines left over from Avengers: Age Of Ultron that went nowhere was the love story between Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner a.k.a. The Hulk. The two characters both regarded themselves as “monsters” (let’s not even get into the reasons why), and bonded over that. But after Bruce went missing for two years and the Avengers films switched directors, that story was mostly left unfinished. Except for the fact that, when Bruce Banner finally got his hands on a fully-operational Infinity Gauntlet at the end of Endgame and snapped his fingers to bring back the people that Thanos had dusted, he also tried to bring back Natasha. This is only mentioned in a throwaway line in the film’s final few minutes, but it’s still intriguing – could Bruce have been successful? How would he know? Natasha would presumably be resurrected on Vormir where she died, meaning she’d have to find her own way home.

2: Captain America Came To Bargain.

Captain America
screengeek.net

At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Captain America takes it upon himself to go back in time and return all the Infinity Stones the Avengers had taken from time. The Space Stone went back to New Jersey, the Time Stone back to the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Reality Stone…I don’t even want to know how he somehow injected it back into Jane Foster without her knowing. But the Soul Stone is the most interesting one: to bring it back, Captain America would have to return to Vormir, to the exact moment of Natasha’s death, and hand it over to…Red Skull, I guess. But does returning the Stone mean that Natasha’s life is also returned? If Natasha is to be brought back to life, this is by far the most likely explanation as to why.

1: Natasha, Daughter Of Ivan.

Druig
en.wikipedia.org

And then we come to my theory. I’ve always believed that there’s a reason the Black Widow solo film is supposed to kick off the epic, cosmic events of Marvel’s Phase 4. But what business does the decidedly human heroine have in this universe of gods, aliens and mythical lore? Well, my theory is rooted in comic lore and a very intriguing name that gets dropped minutes before Natasha’s death. Red Skull calls her “daughter of Ivan”, and Natasha comments that he must be telling the truth, because she didn’t even know her father’s name. But who is Ivan? While there are any number of Ivan so-and-so’s associated with Natasha in the comics, there’s also another character who goes by that name, who has a connection to the events about to unfold in the MCU: Ivan Druig is the alias that Druig, an Eternal (who will be played by Barry Keoghan in The Eternals), takes when he impersonates a sadistic Russian KGB officer and the leader of a small Soviet state named Vorozheika. If “Ivan” is Ivan Druig, and Natasha is Ivan’s daughter, that makes her a demigod – similar to how Peter Quill was revealed to be the son of a living planet. Druig might have an interest in resurrecting his daughter, maybe even giving her new powers in the process. If this were the case, Natasha could hold her own in the next phase of the MCU, while her film would have a major tie-in to The Eternals that would help to get audiences excited for that film.

What do you think of these theories? Do you even want to see Natasha brought back, or were you happy with her sacrifice? Share your own thoughts, theories and opinions in the comments below!

“Avengers: Endgame” Spoilers! Who Died?

Obviously, massive spoilers lie ahead, so turn away now if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame. Like, right now, because we’re going to start with the most unexpected – and thus the most shocking – death of the entire movie.

That’s right, Russian spy Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, is the first Avenger to bite the dust in Endgame, in a heart-wrenching scene that sees her and her former partner Clint Barton (Hawkeye) travel to the cold and desolate planet Vormir, looking for the Soul Stone. Marvel fans will already know that the Soul Stone requires a sacrifice in order to be won: it stole Gamora, the fiercest woman in the galaxy, from us in Avengers: Infinity War, and now it’s taken Black Widow as well. Both Clint and Natasha try desperately to commit suicide and prevent the other from dying, but in the end Natasha is the one dangling precariously off the edge of a cliff, while Clint grips her hand, telling her he won’t sacrifice her. Natasha, however, reminds him that he has a family, while she has nothing to live for and no family to go home to – though, interestingly, Natasha gets an interesting hint about her own parents here on Vormir, when the Soul Stone’s guardian Red Skull names her “daughter of Ivan”. More on that in a moment.

Clint lets go, Natasha falls to her death, and the Soul Stone is won. But the question remains: was it worth it? Natasha’s entire character arc has been about her loneliness – she doesn’t have a family, and called herself a “monster” for being unable to have children. She believes she’s nothing but a cold-blooded killer, incapable of love. And, sadly, she dies like this too, sacrificing herself because she has nothing left. Rather than having a triumphant character arc, Black Widow dies in tragic fashion, far from her home, so that Hawkeye can get the Soul Stone. Yes, the Stone helps to save the day in the end, but Natasha’s sacrifice feels like a crushing blow, not just to the other Avengers, and to the audience, but to her own character: Natasha’s death is sad, but it’s also infuriating. She died without ever realizing that she was valuable in her own right. She died without ever truly fulfilling her arc.

The good thing is, there’s still a chance she’s coming back. Of course, a Black Widow movie is already moving into production and will be released next year, but it is a prequel, set long before Endgame. But there’s more evidence than just that: look here.

At the end of Endgame, Captain America goes back in time to replace all the Infinity Stones to the time and place they were taken from – in other words, the Soul Stone returns to Vormir. (This also means Captain America comes face-to-face with his old nemesis Red Skull, but that’s a story for another time). Anyway, Cap replacing the Soul Stone could negate Black Widow’s sacrifice and bring her back to life. But what’s the purpose of that?, I hear you ask. Why bring back a character who really doesn’t have anything to do in the next phase of the MCU?

Well, she could actually have a crucial part to play in the next phase, and here’s the evidence.

"Avengers: Endgame" Spoilers! Who Died? 1
wegotthiscovered.com

The Black Widow movie will be the first film of Phase 4, for one thing (this was previously believed to be Spider-man: Far From Home, until Marvel President Kevin Feige revealed that Far From Home would be the final film of Phase 3). Black Widow also could have a newly-revealed connection to an upcoming film in the Marvel roster: The Eternals. In The Eternals, we will see a new character – the villainous space god Druig, who, in the comics, takes the identity of a Russian KGB agent and becomes leader of a Soviet state named Vorozheika. While living in Russia, Druig takes a new name – Ivan Druig.

That’s right. Black Widow could be the daughter of a god, even though she doesn’t know it. If her death is undone, Natasha will come back to life on the planet Vormir, far from her home planet and alone: imagine a scenario in which Druig, her father, comes looking for her. I would suspect a scene like this could occur as a post-credits stinger for Black Widow, which will probably focus on Natasha’s formative years. We’ve grown used to her being a baton-wielding martial-arts fighter, but what if she were to inherit some new powers from her father? This could open the door to many more Black Widow stories, and she could have a chance to live out the rest of her unfulfilled arc.

The next death is one that certainly seems more permanent – and to reverse it would be to negate a great arc that reached a satisfying and poetic conclusion in Endgame. Tony Stark, the Iron Man who started the MCU as we know it and has been Marvel’s figurehead for a decade now, sacrifices himself to wipe out Thanos’ army of killer aliens. He dies surrounded by his friends, survived by his wife and young daughter. It would be a mistake to reverse this death, in my opinion: however, that doesn’t mean we’ll never see Tony Stark again.

"Avengers: Endgame" Spoilers! Who Died? 2
thewrap.com

You see, in the comics, Tony Stark has died before – but in one notable case, he was able to create an artificial intelligence hologram of himself before his death: we even saw this teased a little in Endgame, when Stark’s daughter Morgan watches a holographic video that Tony had prerecorded in case everything went wrong. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that Tony created an AI body for himself too, an artificial Tony Stark that could still be played by Robert Downey Jr, and could hang around Avengers HQ and make cameo appearances every now and again, or impart wisdom to the next generation of Marvel heroes. This seems like a fitting way to keep Tony around without reversing his incredibly impactful death.

The only death that I regard as “permanent” is Captain America’s. When Cap goes back in time at the end of Endgame to replace the Infinity Stones to their original timelines, as previously mentioned, he decides not to come back immediately. In fact, he goes all the way back to the 1940’s, and instead lives out a normal life with his old girlfriend Peggy Carter, before returning to the present timeline as an elderly man to pass on the Captain America mantle to his comrade Sam Wilson, also known as Falcon. We last see him sitting on a park bench, staring off across a lake, and it’s implied that his death is not far off, even though we don’t see it onscreen. In my opinion, this death can’t be reversed without a lot of time travel or a deep dive into the alternate realities that have been opened up by the events in Avengers: Endgame. While it seems likely that some of these new realities and timelines will be explored in some fashion, this is not one of them, I think. Any attempt to show Cap’s life with Peggy would be redundant and boring: his arc was concluded, and he can rest in peace now. I, personally, would have preferred a different end for the character, one that doesn’t involve Captain America messing up time and basically ensuring that Peggy and him end up together – whereas in the original timeline, Peggy had moved on with another man and had her own happy ending. It seems to suggest that Cap has some selfish intentions, and that’s not an implication I like (though one theory says that Peggy’s new husband was always Captain America, and that there’s actually two Caps, and always have been, and it’s just a really complicated and complex theory that I don’t have time to explain here).

"Avengers: Endgame" Spoilers! Who Died? 3
movieweb.com

So those are the three main deaths of Avengers: Endgame (though not, in fact, the only deaths. A past version of Nebula, Thanos, and possibly a past version of Gamora all get killed off – in Thanos’ case, twice). I regard Black Widow’s death as temporary, Tony’s as permanent-but-with-a-loophole, and Cap’s as permanent. What do you think? Did you feel the character deaths in Endgame were satisfying or not? Share your thoughts in the comments and look out for more Endgame news in the days and weeks ahead.