The following story obviously contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well as for the MCU, in general. You probably want to stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen Jon Watts’ movie.
There was a confusing scene at the very end of Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame. During a montage as the late Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) spoke, we saw Peter Parker (Tom Holland) reunite with his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon)… and neither has aged a single day. We knew that Peter “dusted” at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. But this was the first indication that Peter’s classmate must have dusted, as well – and skipped the five years that passed in Endgame.
And they haven’t aged.
We see this happen in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Classmates of Peter Parker turn to dust while playing musical instruments at half time during a basketball game, and even while sitting in the stands watching. Then, we see footage of the “dusted” returning, comically being dropped back into the middle of the basketball court during a different game, five years later.
It is made very clear that the people who “blipped” didn’t age, while the people who stayed behind continued to age, as normal. As one character in Spider-Man: Far From Home notes, his once-younger brother is now older than he is. It’s all very strange.
Lucky for Peter (Tom Holland), his closest friends all blipped. Ned, MJ (Zendaya), Betty (Angourie Rice) and even the hated Flash (Tony Revolori) remain the same age as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and Betty explains early on that the school made them all repeat the grade they were in when they blipped – their Junior year.
There’s an ongoing gag in Spider-Man: Far From Home about another student, though. Brad (Remy Hii) was younger when the main cast dusted. Now he’s five years older, and very handsome. And MJ notices. And Peter notices that MJ notices.
There are some other entertaining jokes made at the expense of The Blip. Martin Starr’s teacher, Mister Harrington, tells Peter that his wife faked her blip. They even gave her a funeral, but she was just off having an affair.
But the Blip can be used in more serious terms in upcoming MCU movies, should Marvel choose to go down that route. Certain characters indeed will be five years older, if they stayed behind in the dusting, and that could mean anyone from Doctor Strange’s chief rival, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), to Rocket Raccoon and any number of Wakandans. It's all very interesting, considering just a few months ago, we weren't even sure what Jon Watts and his team were doing with Far From Home and at what point in the timeline the characters would be at.
In fact, Watts told CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast that the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home was particularly tough, given he couldn't be spoilery about anything coming in the movie until after Avengers: Endgame had been widely seen. Early on, people speculated the movie's timeline might be set in the past, leading to plenty of fan theories and more.
It was tricky and it’s always really fun to watch the comments, where people are still trying to wrap their head around the timeline. Is this before Infinity War? What’s going on? I’m just like, ‘Wait, everybody wait.’ … It drives people to come up with amazing fan theories, which is always really inspirational. I feel like I’m making Spider-man fan fiction, it just happens to come out in movie theaters.
We’ll see how the ripple effects of The Blip continue to play out as Marvel rolls into Phase Four and its next slate of films.