Time travel, and by extension, alternate realities, is a tricky thing. It’s a well-worn concept, one that’s often seen in the likes of sci-fi works, but hardly receives the just treatment it oughts to have. As the Avengers: Endgame hype slowly winds down, director duo Anthony and Joe Russo have confirmed fans’ speculations about a particular action of Loki’s in the film.
Word among the community is that the beloved God of Mischief was believed to have created a divergent timeline after taking the Space Stone during the Battle of New York in 2012, where the superhero team travelled to as part of their time heist plan. As it turns out, this theory has received the Russo Brother’s stamp of confirmation in an interview with Business Insider, with Joe Russon first elaborating –
“The intent was that he was going to correct the past timelines at the point that the stones left. Loki, when he teleports away with the Time Stone, would create his own timeline. It gets very complicated, but it would be impossible for [Cap] to rectify the timeline unless he found Loki. The minute that Loki does something as dramatic as take the Space Stone, he creates a branched reality.”
Anthony adds that the simultaneous existence of multiple realities is a result of “dealing with this idea of multiverses and branched realities”, which also allowed Captain America to create his own timeline with Peggy Carter after returning the stones to their original timelines. This concept, Joe explains, gave the soldier-turned-enhanced-superhero figure the chance to make a trip back to the current timeline in order to hand off his shield to Sam Wilson, otherwise known as Falcon.
Riding off the wave of superhero hype has seen the film’s screenwriters coming forth to explain parts of Captain America’s fate as well. Prior to this, Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have confirmed that Cap got his happily ever after, as he becomes the father of Peggy Carter’s children, which is frankly, rather problematic in itself – that’s some J.K Rowling behaviour right there.
In fact, even the greatest trickster can’t escape the clutches of retcon treatment. Earlier in the year, Loki’s backstory was conveniently tailored as an effect of some reverse mind-control magic caused by the sceptre. Now that branched realities are in the picture, perhaps the narrative can finally make a bit more sense. Loki’s still great, though, no doubt about that.