When Avengers: Endgame hit screens for the first time back in April, one of the hottest rumors was that the movie would have a time jump take place. The trailers had hinted at this—what with Black Widow sporting three different haircuts and Captain America wearing alternative suits—and the blockbuster failed to disappoint with five years passing on from the events of Infinity War and Thor murdering Thanos.
So we now take a look at things that changed during those five years and things that did not.
10 CHANGED: HULK
Prior to Endgame, Hulk and Bruce Banner had certainly been having their issues with each other. Banner had spent the previous two years stuck in monstrous form during the events of Thor: Ragnarok before ultimately being able to revert back to his old self. A battering at the hands of Thanos during the first scene of Infinity War, however, means Hulk flatly refuses to come out despite the Avengers and rest of the world’s need for his services.
When the time jump takes place, however, we see that Mark Ruffalo’s character has managed to become a blend of both sides of his personality. He’s strong and green but far less savage, with Banner successfully being able to ensure his mind stay secure and untouched. It means that Hulk becomes Smart Hulk — and an even greater ally to the Avengers as a result.
9 CHANGED: THOR
Hulk isn’t the only character whose appearance changes during Endgame, with Thor undergoing yet another drastic transformation. For years he had been a physical beast with long blonde hair but Ragnarok had seen him have his golden locks cut off and, two years on from that movie, Thor loses his physical prowess as well. In short, he becomes fat.
Crushed by the Avengers’ defeat at the hands of Thanos, it appears the God of Thunder had spent the last five years eating—and drinking —anything and everything he can get his hands on. He’s no less powerful, though, and is able to test Thanos during their fight at Endgame’s conclusion. He would have lost to the Mad Titan, however, had it not been for Captain America and the supersoldier’s ability to lift Mjolnir.
8 CHANGED: IRON MAN
Another character to change after the time jump is Iron Man. Unlike the rest of the Avengers, who spend the years mulling over their failure and ruing Thanos’ savvy decision to destroy the stones, Robert Downey Jr.’s character is actually able to move on with his life and start a family with Pepper Potts.
We’d seen Tony adopt a parental role before regarding Peter Parker but it’s clear to audiences just how much he loves both Pepper and his daughter, Morgan Stark. It makes for one of Endgame’s most heartwarming scenes when Morgan tells her father she ‘loves him 3000’ and, when Stark dies at the end of the movie, it’s devastating to think that he won’t ever get to see his daughter grow up. If you’d said Tony would be a good parent back during his cocky days in the first Iron Man, nobody would have believed you. Alas, he proves everyone wrong.
7 CHANGED: THE AVENGERS HIERARCHY
With Tony choosing to quit the Avengers and retire in order to settle down with Pepper and start a family, the leadership of the team changes. Steve Rogers prefers to help others, Hulk is sorting out his issues, and Thor is off the grid — meaning the mantle passes to Natasha Romanoff.
Black Widow takes control of the team at a time where they still aim to help those left in the world. It clearly takes an emotional toll on her—she breaks down early on in the movie after a conference call—but she’s good at leading the team and ensuring they all have something to do. She converses with Captain Marvel, Rocket, Okoye and War Machine early on and dishes out orders surrounding natural disasters and the whereabouts of Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye). Romanoff is top dog — and a key player in their quest to beat Thanos to the Infinity Stones.
6 CHANGED: THE WORLD
One thing that was always going to change was the world, because what planet would be able to come to terms with the loss of half of its entire population? New York City, a place previously full of life, becomes a silent ghost town with cars left abandoned, landmarks destroyed, and nobody appearing willing to venture out of their houses and back into the world around them.
It is a good move from the Russo Brothers to give us an insight into The Snap and its consequences. The world was always going to fall victim to depression and, in showing the aftermath of Thanos’ snap, it makes the Avengers’ ultimate triumph at the end of the movie all the more significant and satisfying.
5 CHANGED: HAWKEYE
Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk were not the only three people to change after the time jump, with Hawkeye also undergoing a dramatic transformation. At the start of Endgame, we see Clint Barton devastated when his two children and wife are snapped by Thanos. Family has always been everything to the marksman and we see for ourselves just how much he struggles in the aftermath of the events of Infinity War.
Barton takes to killing people, people who have done wrong and who he believes should be dead rather than his family. His murdering antics devastate close friend Natasha Romanoff, who visits him and witnesses him slaying Yakuza members in Japan. Hawkeye is ultimately convinced to rejoin the team and plays a key role as they are able to undo the snap and bring the dead back to life.
4 DIDN’T CHANGE: AVENGERS HQ
While the world around them lies in ruin, the Avengers HQ is able to stay in one place over the five years since their defeat to Thanos. While you could expect angry members of the public to try and destroy the compound given how their loss cost everybody in the entire universe, it appears they thought better of it and allowed the remaining members to live out their lives in peace.
Avengers HQ is a useful tool in Endgame as well, a setting for some of the biggest moments in the movie. It’s where they first chance their arm at time travel, it’s where they nail down time travel, it’s where they perform the first Snap to bring everybody back to life and it’s also where they fight Thanos at the end of the movie. It survives the time jump and not the entire movie, though, with the Mad Titan blitzing it to pieces during his attack at the end of the film.
3 DIDN’T CHANGE: THE AVENGERS’ MENTALITY
Given the seriousness of their defeat, the remaining Avengers could have been forgiven for losing all hope. With Thanos taunting them about destroying the stones prior to his death in 2017, it appears there is no way back: without the stones, there’s no chance of bringing back the dead and undoing the actions of the Titan, who had brought the entire world to a standstill and seemingly taken away their one hope of redemption.
But the Avengers, despite their respective problems and losses, stay the same. They operate with the same resilience and determination as previous years, despite their team being significantly weakened. It’s this what leads to their ultimate triumph at the end of the movie.
2 DIDN’T CHANGE: ANT-MAN
For everybody barring Scott Lang, five years passes from Thanos’ Snap to the year 2023. During these five years the world goes to pot, the Avengers struggle to bounce back from the most heartbreaking of defeats and the majority of the Earth’s population find themselves unable to move on from the events of 2018.
But one thing that didn’t change was Ant-Man. For him, it’s been five hours — not five years. Lang finds himself freed from the quantum realm thanks to the most fortuitous of circumstances — a rat leaning on the controls. He’s the same confident, charismatic character as he was before and his good sense of humor, which he maintains throughout the movie’s events, is a good tonic for audiences in an otherwise dark film.
1 DIDN’T CHANGE: THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS
It’s something that we can be forgiven for looking past, but it’s really quite amazing that the way the world works is exactly the same as before The Snap. Given the magnitude of such an event, you could expect most people to stop caring, to stop being human, to stop living their life. But this isn’t the case, with humanity rising as one to help each other out.
This is most-obvious during a scene where Captain America speaks with members of the public, providing support for them still five years on from the events of Infinity War. The very fact that people still rely on support meetings to get through life—and continue their love life and respective things—is proof that humanity was far stronger than Thanos, even when he succeeded. As the old saying goes, life goes on.