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Warning: spoilers for Avengers: Endgame are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, use the Time Stone to rewind and see the film before reading this piece. And if you have seen the film, please make sure not to spoil the Endgame for those who haven’t made it out yet.

Readers, it’s time to take a big, deep breath. We made it through Avengers: Endgame, and now we know where the path has led us. All secrets are revealed, tears have been shed, and the foundation to the future has been laid out.

But most importantly, the biggest theories circulating on the internet before the film’s release have now been either proven or disproven. So while your friends are processing the results of their death pools, and you’re recovering from the emotional highs and lows that filled Avengers: Endgame, it’s a good time to look at those theories and see who obviously had Pym Particles in their suits. Anyone who made the following guesses before seeing Avengers: Endgame is either a great guesser, a time traveler, or a Marvel Studios employee.

Avengers: Endgame Hawkeye high fives his daughter

Hawkeye’s Family Disappeared, Spurring Him To Become Ronin

Right out of the gate, one pretty big theory was proven to be A-#1 accurate. As the trailers had teased, and anyone who saw Avengers: Infinity War had guessed, there was a good reason for Hawkeye to return after being absent in that first half of the combined story Avengers: Endgame closed off.

As we saw at the beginning of the film, the Barton clan disappeared in their own individual dust clouds, one by one, leaving Clint alone with all of the hot dogs he could ever want to eat. Of course, not wanting those hot dogs more than he wanted his family back, he went dark and became Ronin, a vigilante that we saw killing up a ton of Yakuza.

Avengers: Endgame Scott Lang looks around dazed and confused

There Was A Five Year Time Jump

What do you do when you go on a quest to avenge your friends, and the guy that killed them wastes the Infinity Stones he used to do the job? If you’re Thor, you behead the beast in a fit of anger. If you’re Avengers: Endgame, you cut to black and flash the words “Five Years Later” on the screen, real slow like.

Folks had called out the possibility that there would be a jump in time, and they flagged that call correctly. And as it turns out, the casting involving Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie was exactly the clue that tipped fans off to that very possibility, and now proven theory.

Avengers: Endgame Bruce Banner making an argument in the Avengers' base

Bruce Banner and The Hulk Became One Entity

The fact that The Hulk was as small a part of Avengers: Infinity War as he was had fans wondering what exactly happened to the large, green rage monster that everybody knew and loved. Scared away by Thanos, it was only a matter of time until he came back, and some thought that rather than splitting apart into two entities or going back to business as usual, a happy medium would be struck.

And it was indeed a happy outcome, as a sort of crossroads Hulk appeared in Avengers: Endgame. We finally saw Bruce and The Hulk in a state of co-existence, where the brains of Banner met the brawn of Hulk, in a mid-sized package that was very selfie ready. It took them a while, but both halves of the Banner package became a workable unit.

The Avengers lined up to take on the Chitauri

Time Travel Played A Big Part In The Endgame

One of the biggest theories to come out of the pre-release scrum of Avengers: Endgame press was the usage of time travel. With leaked set photos showing, in the most telling case, Steve Rogers in his Captain America costume from 2012’s The Avengers, there was a lot of speculation that to save the future our heroes would have to go back in time.

Score another one for the fans, as four separate time heists were carried out, with the Battle of New York being one of the most key examples. While it was also theorized that Hank Pym would be brought into the fold through these methods, that theory only gets half credit, as Pym was shown as being duped to leave his Pym Particles unattended in 1970, rather than directly aiding Ant-Man in 1983.

Ant-Man and The Wasp Ant Man in the Quantum Realm

The Quantum Realm Was A Key Element In Said Time Travel

Ant-Man and The Wasp was a fun romp that made Avengers: Infinity War’s dour cliffhanger ending more palatable in the long run. But what it also did was provide the perfect cover for just how everything could be solved, as the exploration of the Quantum Realm opened a lot of temporal doors.

Between the plot of trying to rescue Janet Van Dyne, who was previously lost to the realm herself, and the post-credits sequence seeing Scott Lang trapped for five years in Earth time, we learned that time works differently in the Quantum Realm. So differently, that it’s apparently really easy to guess that it would be used to pull off the biggest time heist ever.

Iron Man 3 Pepper Potts in a suit of armor

Pepper Potts Got To Become Rescue

This theory wasn’t too hard of a sell, considering the evidence that supported it. As you’ll remember, Gwyneth Paltrow showed off some photos of herself during the filming of Avengers: Endgame, sporting a classic mo-cap tennis ball suit. So obviously, there was one pretty good reason why Ms. Potts would be wearing such gear in her time on set.

It also wasn’t that hard of a theory to cook up considering not only did Pepper previously wear a suit for a brief spell in Iron Man 3, but her role in Tony’s life was even greater than ever. So if Tony trusted anyone to accept/use a suit of iron responsibly, it was his wife.

Avengers: Endgame Tony Stark records a message

Tony Stark Died A Hero’s Death

Speaking of Tony, a late phase sentiment swept the fandom, thinking that Iron Man himself was on borrowed time. With Robert Downey Jr. himself promising a huge finale, and his time as the character looking like it was going to be drawing to a close, the audience wasn’t feeling so good about Mr. Stark’s chances in Avengers: Endgame.

Sure enough, the 55% of readers that thought Tony was going to go to the great beyond were correct. Dying the most heroic death possible, he got control of the Infinity Gauntlet, cracked off the perfect one-liner, and set the universe in order for good. Sometimes, being right sucks.

Captain America: The First Avenger Peggy and Cap in uniform, being briefed

Steve Rogers Finally Went Back To The Past

Captain America’s origin story is a bittersweet tale. While the world gained a stalwart fighter for truth and freedom, he lost an entire life that could have been in the process. But with time travel in play, there was always a thought about Steve Rogers going back in time to have that dance with Peggy.

And as you could see through all of the tears in your eyes, Steve went back after returning those Infinity Stones to the past, and did just that. Coming back as Old Man Rogers, Steve admitted to a life that was full of happiness. While he wouldn’t speak on the exact circumstances when pressed by Sam Wilson, Steve did give his Falcon buddy something even better.

Captain America: Civil War Falcon with his wings spread

Falcon Is The New Captain America

As Chris Evans was also one of the original six Avengers team to be rumored as leaving, the line of succession was a burning question. While the comics originally had Bucky Barnes taking over as the new Captain America, a recent run introduced Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, as the Star Spangled Man of today.

While both guesses seemed pretty valid, Sam had the edge of being the more recent replacement in the source books, as well as striking a blow in the name of progressive representation on screen. Anthony Mackie looks good with the shield, and the approving nod of Sebastian Stan’s Bucky in Avengers: Endgame is all anyone should need to see how good of an idea this truly is.

Iron Man Tony Stark building his first suit in the cave

There Was No End Credits Scene

Perhaps the latest, and most interesting theory, came out of the Avengers: Endgame premiere. While the credits were cut off during appearances from the cast of the film, it was initially reported that there may be no end credits scene. This only intensified as the press screenings held last week had no scene attached to them, though this had happened previously in Marvel Cinematic Universe history when 2012’s The Avengers added that shawarma stinger for public release.

But sure enough, there was an absence of any sort of tease for the future. Instead, the world got an audio cue of a hammer striking iron, symbolizing the closing of a story arc, and the opening of the future.

These theories, above all others, proved to make Avengers: Endgame a film that lived up to fan expectations, while also exceeding them. And ultimately, that’s the name of the game when delivering a film such as this to the masses. With just the right blend of surprising twists, but foreseeable developments, you can close the book in a proper, satisfying manner.

See for yourself if Avengers: Endgame met your expectations, and defied some of your best fan theories, as it’s currently unfurling in theaters with a record breaking debut.

Avengers: Endgame Spoilers | Why It's The Best MCU Movie

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