Avengers: Endgame’s Writers Had To Ignore Back To The Future When Approaching Time Travel

Smart Hulk explaining Time Travel

CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.

It's been a number of months since Avengers: Endgame hit theaters, but the conversation around The Russo Brothers' massive blockbuster hasn't slowed down. Every week comes with new revelations about Endgame, and the various incarnations of the movie that fell to the wayside during its process of development, writing, filming, and editing. The movie had high concepts like time travel, and it turns out that the writers had to actively ignore Back to the Future when approaching the Time Heist.

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have written all of The Russo Brothers' MCU movies, including Infinity War and Endgame. Those pair of movies obviously presented more challenges, due to their massive scale. The duo has been open about the challenges of handling such huge movies, and it turns out that Back to the Future was more than just an anecdote in one scene. As McFeely recently revealed:

It’s a testament to Back to the Future that we all assume time travel – which is not a real thing – is the only way you can do it. Even we did for the longest time. And then we sort of figured out, in quantum mechanics, the same particles can exist in two places at the same time. We went, ‘Oh, that’s really weird; that’s really interesting.’ Fortunately, we had a guy who could exist in the quantum realm if we asked those filmmakers to leave him there. Maybe we could figure out a little get out of jail on this problem. So, it is rooted in science.

It looks like the '80s time traveling franchise had quite the effect on Avengers: Endgame. Those blockbusters created the blue print for time travel flicks, so McFeely and Markuswere especially cognizant of how audiences might respond to the Time Heist. Endgame had a different approach to traveling through time, and had to get ahead of any jokes/confusion during the writing process.

Related: Great Scott! Avengers: Endgame Fans Just Noticed The Coolest Nod To Back To The Future 2

Stephen McFeely's comments to the Hollywood Unscripted podcast reveal exactly how the writers and directors of Avengers: Endgame approached time travel. With the exception of Doctor Strange's Time Stone, Endgame introduced time travel to the larger MCU, and the surviving heroes. They had to be methodical to explain the science behind the Time Heist, and establish the shared universe's rules for traveling through time and space. You can see how they did that by streaming Avengers: Endgame on Disney+. You can even use this link for a free 7-day trial.

Avengers: Endgame established said rules early in the film's second act, as Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye prepared to do a test of Tony's new tech and the Pym particles. Rhodey and Scott Lang went through a list of movies that included time travel, which Smart Hulk quickly shoots down as fiction. It's a necessary scene for any naysayers in the audience, and lays out exactly how much power the Avengers will have throughout the Time Heist.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on May 1st, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. And our 2020 release list to look forward to the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.