SHIELD Explains Endgame’s Time Travel:
Avengers: Endgame’s Time Travel was very tricky for people to understand because it opened up a new theory in the films which was never used before, except for Marvel’s own property, Agents of SHIELD itself. This is a very underappreciated series. Those who have been watching the show since Season 1 knows the true value of it. Even without having a massive budget or truly familiar characters from the Marvel comics lore, this series has managed to impress and entertain us all over the years. And now that we’re approaching Season 7, the series has brought us some very needed clarity upon how Time Travel in the MCU actually works.
In Season 5, the Agents of SHIELD ended up in a dystopian future where Earth was shattered because of Quake’s immensely amplified powers. The SHIELD agents figured out that they are stuck in a time loop, but they break the time loop and change the future of Earth. And at the end of Season 6, Fitz, Gemma & Enoch used time travel to upgrade their technology (the Zepher 1, the Jumpdrive & many other things). Some of the specifics of the show are still unknown, but we know for a fact that the Agents of SHIELD will now be traveling back in time to prevent the attacks from the evil Chronicoms who possess Nick Fury’s Black Box.
The first trailer showed us how the Chronicoms plan to take over Hydra & their tech to kill off SHIELD right from the beginning. And to prevent the creation of a new timeline in the multiverse, the SHIELD agents will be tasked with saving HYDRA. This much in the trailer did not give us any time travel specifics, but before the launch of the show (on May 27), we get a clip of the next episode which shows how the agents have arrived in the year 1931, where the Empire State Building is still under construction in New York.
The clip shows a group of agents just taking a stroll down the streets of New York talking about how primitive New York was. But then they talk about the real deal, i.e. the chances of them being in 1931 changing the course of time itself. Daisy (Quake) talks about how the team is in 1931 hasn’t already changed time & created a new timeline altogether.
She talks about the butterfly effect where one change in time will become the cause of other changes, ultimately changing the future entirely. To clear her doubts, Deke Shaw (the grandson of Fitz & Simmons) & Phil Coulson’s LMD say:
“Deke – The butterfly effect is just one aspect of the Multiverse branch theory. Personally, I subscribe to the timestream idea… Imagine time is a stream, right, and we were sticks that were thrown into it. The water, it moves us, it moves around us,
Coulson – But it ends up in the same place.
Deke – Right! Now too many sticks thrown in, and that will create what’s called a Dam, and that will change the direction of the water, and that’s bad. So, as long as we can avoid that, we should be able to splash around a little bit and we’re all good.”
The conversation ends with Mack saying “Ripples, not waves!” Now this gives us a lot of clarity than we had with just the exposition that Bruce Banner & the Ancient One had given us. Deke’s theory explains the Avengers: Endgame in a much better way. The Avengers had to return the Infinity Stones & Mjolnir because those changes in the past would have changed the entire timeline. Just like the change that the Loki series will show us to be in effect when it arrives.
But Loki taking the Tesseract might not be the same as Steve Rogers staying along with Peggy Carter in the past. Yes. we are saying that it is possible that Steve Rogers did not create a new timeline while he was in the past, meaning he somehow ended up in a time loop where he was always the husband of Peggy Carter. The directors of Avengers: Endgame have stated that Steve did end up creating a new timeline, but the writers were in conflict with that statement as they said that Steve was always the husband of Peggy.
Even the conversation of Old Peggy Carter & Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier always implied that Steve Rogers was the husband of Peggy, and Peggy was just hiding that from Steve to prevent any changes in his future. Now let’s try and explain how Steve didn’t cause any changes when he went back. Deke & Mack made it clear that a time traveler could end up making some splashes in the stream of time until it creates waves or changes the flow of the stream. But Steve marrying Peggy only made one change, which was that he became the husband of Peggy Carter.
This change should be considered as a “ripple” and not a “wave” because Steve married Peggy in secret. He knew that he had to remain behind the scenes. Because he did not intervene with the outer world, a new timeline was not created as he only made a “splash” in the time stream and did not become the cause of a “wave.” His presence did not change the timeline because Peggy still went on to work for SHIELD, Bucky was still working for HYDRA, and Steve’s younger self was still buried under ice. So unlike Loki, who took the Tesseract and is now going to be a part of all sorts of time changing events, Steve did not become the reason for a massive change in the timeline (unless he changed the world by intervening). So, Cap’s noble ending has now been fixed & writers Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus have been proven right.