We’re finally in the endgame now.
A year after we picked ourselves up and brushed the dust off our shoulders following “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame” is here. The latest superhero flick ties up the first decade of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a nice Thanos-sized bow, answering some of the biggest questions from “Infinity War” ― and even some of the oldest mysteries from the franchise.
(We tried to stay away from getting too specific, but there are some major spoilers below. If you haven’t seen “Avengers: Endgame” yet, we recommend you do not read past this point.)
(Seriously. You have been warned.)
Q: So ... what happened to everyone who disappeared at the end of “Infinity War”?
A: They died.
After Thanos (Josh Brolin), in possession of all the Infinity Stones, snapped his fingers and turned half the universe to dust in “Infinity War,” there were a lot of theories about what happened. Was everyone transported to another world? Were they alive somehow within the Soul Stone?
The answer: Nah. They dead.
Well, actually, in “Endgame” it’s confirmed that 50% of the population was simply snapped out of existence. In order to bring them back, the snap has to be undone.
Q: Will the Avengers time-travel via the Quantum Realm to try to collect the Infinity Stones and undo the Thanos snap?
A: All your fan theories were right.
All the time travel. All the Quantum Realm. All the Infinity Stones. Yes, yes, yes.
Q: Why didn’t Doctor Strange tell anyone the plan before he was dusted?
A: It wouldn’t have happened.
Before Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) disappeared in “Infinity War” ― and said the title of the next movie: “We’re in the endgame now” ― he looked at more than 14 million possible futures, and the Avengers beat Thanos in only one of them.
HuffPost asked Cumberbatch once before why Strange didn’t reveal his plan. “Maybe he just forgot to tell anyone,” the actor joked. “He was quite busy.”
In “Endgame,” Strange flat-out says that if he had revealed the plan, the events wouldn’t have played out the same way and the Avengers would definitely have lost.
Thanks for clearing that up, Doctor.
Q: Wait, did Hawkeye’s family get snapped, too?
Q: Even Linda Cardellini?
A: Yes, even Linda Cardellini.
The trailer for “Endgame” heavily hinted that the family of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) ― his kids and his wife (Cardellini) ― didn’t survive the snap. The opening sequence of the movie confirms that. They disappear during a cookout (though they were also putting mayonnaise on hot dogs at the time, so there probably had to be some comeuppance).
Q: Is Captain America worthy to wield Mjolnir?
A: Hell yes.
This is a question we’ve all been wondering about since “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” when Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, moves just slightly as Cap attempts to pick it up.
HuffPost asked “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo if Captain America was worthy of Thor’s hammer back in 2016 following the release of “Captain America: Civil War.” At the time, their answers were cagey.
“I don’t know, that might be a ...” Anthony Russo said, thinking about how he would answer. “That might be a question for future storytellers.”
“Might be a little too specific for us to answer,” Joe Russo added.
The new movie reveals that the answer was “heck yeah.”
In one of the most poignant moments of “Endgame,” Captain America does use Mjolnir against Thanos. Given the importance of the sequence, it makes sense that the Russo brothers would have wanted to keep it under wraps.
Q: Wait, but how does Ant-Man escape the Quantum Realm after getting stuck there in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”?
A: A rat.
(Rat presumably on the way to save Paul Rudd.)
Five years after the events of “Infinity War,” a rat randomly activates the Quantum Tunnel in which Ant-Man got stuck at the end of “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” There’s not much more to it than that. A random rat is the most important Avenger of them all.
Q: Does Ant-Man defeat Thanos by jumping inside his butt and blowing himself up to Giant-Man?
The rat didn’t save Ant-Man for that to be his fate.
Q: Does one Avenger have to sacrifice another?
Just like Thanos had to sacrifice Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to get the Soul Stone in “Infinity War,” the Avengers have to sacrifice one of their own in “Endgame.”
And, just like Thanos said in the previous installment, there are no resurrections this time.
Q: Wait, some characters actually died in “Infinity War”?
A: Please see the above “R.I.P.”
The deaths outside of the Thanos snap in “Infinity War,” such as those of Gamora, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba), still stand. While some of those characters are seen in other timelines, the originals are gone.
Some Avengers also die in “Endgame,” and it doesn’t look like they’re coming back. As writer Stephen McFeely told HuffPost ahead of “Infinity War,” “Death is death.”
Q: Does Captain America die in “Endgame”?
A: Not exactly.
Though Captain America (Chris Evans) doesn’t die in the movie, as many people suspected would happen, his journey does come to an end.
An elderly Cap doesn’t necessarily hang up his shield, but he does pass it on to someone else, and it’s a pretty definitive exit.
Prior to the release of “Endgame,” McFeely reflected on Cap’s journey with HuffPost: “We feel very connected to him as a character. We’ve taken him through most of these movies and certainly started his journey, but we do that by throwing obstacles in his way. Sometimes that obstacle is society, sometimes that obstacle is a person, sometimes it’s a state of mind, it’s his own self-interest or what have you. All I can say is the obstacle he’s been given … gets a pretty interesting reaction out of him.”
He added, “I think we know Cap pretty well. We had a good sense of how he would react.”
Q: Was Ant-Man secretly around in previous MCU movies? Just too tiny to see?
A: Kind of?
With the release of the first “Ant-Man” in 2015, the idea popped up that it’s possible Ant-Man could’ve been present in past Avengers films ― he was just too small to see.
HuffPost asked “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed about the possibility back in 2015, and he said he loved the theory but added, “I’m not quite sure that the timeline works out.”
Well, it works out.
In “Endgame,” Ant-Man is part of the team that travels back in time and is at the Battle of New York. So he is present and undetected in at least that past Avengers moment.
Q: Why did Loki wear a mask at the end of “Avengers”?
A: Just to shut him up.
HuffPost actually asked Tom Hiddleston this question during a Build Series segment years ago, wondering if the mask that appears on Loki at the end of the original “Avengers” movie was there so that he couldn’t eat shawarma with the Avengers.
Hiddleston claimed Loki wasn’t invited to the Shawarma Palace but didn’t answer the question about the mask.
Following the release of “Infinity War,” HuffPost also asked the Russo brothers some unanswered questions, including, “Why did Loki have that face mask at the end of ‘Avengers’?”
Joe Russo said, “I think ultimately they just wanted to shut him up. Loki talks a lot.” It turns out Joe was being 100% truthful.
With “Endgame” revisiting the aftermath of the Battle of New York from the first movie, this question finally gets answered: Loki is really just given a mask because he won’t shut up.
Q: Was Drax just standing so still that he was invisible to the eye? Or was he snapped?
In “Infinity War,” Drax (Dave Bautista) believed he could stand so still that he became invisible. So when he disappeared at the end of the film, was that because he was snapped? Or was he just standing in place?
Ahead of “Endgame,” we asked the film’s writers if Drax could’ve been in the trailers, just standing still. Christopher Markus told us, “I didn’t see any Zarg-nuts.”
Still, it’s far from the endgame for this mystery.
“Avengers: Endgame” is out now.