Once you’ve got your first taste of the logic and intricacies of time travel, you never forget the properties that bring you there. And one big series that’s exposed a lot of people to the world of temporal joy rides is the BBC’s legendary franchise, Doctor Who.
But despite intense overlap between that show and Avengers: Endgame, there were no references to The Doctor, their adventures, or even their existence. Which is funny, considering Karen Gillan, one of the Eleventh Doctor’s very own companions, could have fought to include that cultural touchstone in the current blockbuster’s narrative. Sadly, she didn’t, and it’s a decision she regrets, as seen in her recent remarks below:
I already had a good grasp of time travel from Doctor Who. [Laughs] I’m a time travel expert. I would say it adds up. But they definitely should have listed Doctor Who in that scene where they talk about time traveling movies. I can’t believe I didn’t pitch that in the moment!
In the scene that Gillan is referring to, when the “Time Heist” plan is first hatched in Avengers: Endgame, several seminal works in time travel pop culture are written off as useless and non-sensical. And while Back To The Future is one of the obvious choices for inclusion, Doctor Who somehow escaped the minds of the writers when discussing landmark signposts in this sci-fi staple.
Before she went on to play Nebula, the mechanically enhanced half-sister to Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Karen Gillan was widely known for playing the first companion to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor run of Doctor Who. In the role of Amy Pond, Gillan was widely exposed to the geek community, which only made her jump into the Marvel Cinematic Universe all the more rewarding.
So naturally, one would think that a reference to her past gig on Doctor Who would have been a natural inclusion once Avengers: Endgame started to dip its toes into the time travelling pool. Of course, as show in Karen Gillan’s talk with The L.A. Times, it was not meant to be.
However, the lack of a Doctor Who reference was the least of Avengers: Endgame’s worries, as its greater task was sewing up the first era of MCU films in a satisfying manner. So while time travel was one of the strategies that came into play to do just that, there were other intricacies that needed to be thought out in the meantime.
As Avengers: Endgame winds down, the film and its creative forces are giving away that last batch of secrets to the public and commenting on everything from the status of Hulk’s arm to why part of Agent 13’s Captain America: Civil War subplot feels a bit uncomfortable. While we’re not expecting to read anything along the lines of The Doctor being present at the final battle of Endgame, it would be interesting to hear what The Russo Bros, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have to say about how they feel Doctor Who’s time travel stacks up to that of their latest blockbuster.
And if there’s a commentary track to be had, maybe Karen Gillan can come up with how she would have referenced the good Doctor, in an alternate timeline where she totally suggested to include Doctor Who in the film’s big time travel conversation.
Avengers: Endgame is breaking records and taking names in theaters now. But if you’ve already gotten your fill, may we suggest that you visit the 2019 release schedule to find your next adventure?