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Spider-Man's stealth armor

Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the landscape of filmmaking forever. Serialized storytelling has since become commonplace, as major blockbusters interconnect and crossover. But while there might be multiple shared universes releasing new blockbusters, it was Marvel Studios that introduced it to the world through Phase One.

Since then, the MCU has grown exponentially, and it's also become a more interconnected place. Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame allowed the various franchises to collide, resulting in fun new character pairings. The franchise has done great things with serialized storytelling, but it turns out that Phase Three might be even more planned out than we thought. Namely, that the entire Infinity Saga will add up to a total of 3,000 minutes.

Spider-Man: Far From Home's runtime was recently revealed to be 129 minutes, which on the high side for the MCU, but nowhere near the runtime of the last two Avengers flicks. But when you add that number to the sum of the MCU's time on screen, it equals 3,000 minutes. Marvel fans on social media noticed this, and believe it's a direct reference to Tony Stark's fate in Endgame, and the heartbreaking line "I Love You 3,000."

Since Avengers: Endgame hit theaters two months ago "I Love You 3,000" is one of the most popular lines of dialogue, which was actually Robert Downey Jr's idea. The first time it's uttered is by Tony's daughter Morgan, as he tucks her back into bed in the movie's second act. He eventually repeats it back to her via a final message he recorded before the Time Heist. It's an emotional gut punch, and one that's further punctuated by the full runtime of the Infinity Saga, including Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Marvel Studios hasn't made any official announcements or comments regarding the cumulative runtime of the MCU, but it seems unlikely that this was a happy accident. Smart money says that Spider-Man: Far From Home was specifically edited to be that runtime. It wouldn't necessarily affect Jon Watts' cut of the highly anticipated sequel, as the credits could be altered to properly meet the runtime, and hit that satisfying 3K minute-mark for the greater franchise.

While the hardcore fandom might be losing their minds over the runtime of the Infinity Saga, it's also unlikely that the studio has been planning this all along, and methodically cutting the theatrical releases of each new blockbuster. Still, it's one more final nod to the fans-- a reward for spending the last decade watching all 22 movies in theaters.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the final installment of Phase Three, and will reveal how the MCU is moving on after the insane events of Infinity War and Endgame. This includes Peter Parker, who is mourning the loss of his mentor after Tony sacrificed himself. Plus, Tom Holland's character been nothing but dust for the previous five years. The movie's early reception is overwhelmingly positive, so so the fandom should be excited about its impending release.

Tony recording his goodbye message to Pepper

The Marvel Cinematic Universe all started with one thing: Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. While the character was less of a household name at the time, the OG MCU blockbuster made a ton of money and kickstarted an entire shared universe. So it's fitting that Tony Stark would be both the beginning and the end of the Infinity Saga. While the character will be dead in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the movie's runtime helps give one more nod to the character, and his sacrifice that will ultimately change the shared universe as we know it once again.

While we shouldn't expect Tony Stark to physically appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home, his presence appears to be a big part of the upcoming blockbuster's overall narrative. The sequel's trailers show that the world knows the debt they owe to Iron Man, as the dust population was restored thanks to his efforts and time travel technology. He ultimately wielded the power of the Infinity Stones to destroy Thanos forever, although his non-powered human body fell from the weight of the Stones' raw power and radiation.

In the Far From Home trailer, Spider-Man is shown looking at a mural of Iron Man, showing how his mentor's shadow and death are still weighing on the young hero. Peter is back to fighting crime, and still utilizing the Iron Spider suit given to him by Tony in Infinity War. Some local cops ask him if he's going to be the new Iron Man, which will also no doubt be a plot point and overarching question in Jon Watts' highly anticipated sequel.

I have to wonder if "I Love You 3000" will live on in within the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the franchise's mysterious future. There are certain lines of dialogue that have become motifs throughout the long-running property. For instance, Captain America has uttered "I can do this all day" countless times throughout his tenure within the MCU. Maybe Iron Man will be memorialized in this way throughout the next stage of the franchise.

Spider-Man: Far From Home has a ton of narrative possibilities to explore, with the added pressure of being the first Marvel release after Avengers: Endgame. Spidey's second solo flick will show how the world has reacted to the events of the last two Avengers movies, especially as half of the population suddenly returned to life after a whopping 5 years.

Peter and his friends like Ned and MJ were part of that group, and it looks like they'll form a strange family dynamic once returning to the world of the living. The trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home also revealed that Thanos' snap of death caused tears in the multiverse, with Nick Fury and Maria Hill recruiting Spider-Man to help battle the mysterious Elementals. So clearly the events of Infinity War and Endgame are very much part of the sequel's story.

Spider-Man: Far From Home will arrive in theaters on July 2nd. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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