Time Travel is the concept of traveling either backwards or forwards in time from the present date.
Time Travel Sources
- "The Infinity Stones create what you experience as the flow of time. Remove one of the stones, and that flow splits. Now, this may benefit your reality, but my new one, not so much. In this new branch reality, without our chief weapon against the forces of darkness, our world will be overrun. Millions would suffer. So, tell me, Doctor, can your science prevent all that?"
- ―Ancient One[src]
The time stone has shown to have the ability to rewind time in a given area seeing time unfold. The wielder of the time stone can choose to be unaffected by the manipulation of time from the time stone. Sorcerers such as Doctor Strange can cast spells to make others unaffected by a reversal of time, as he did to Wong at the Battle at the Hong Kong Sanctum. Some sorcerers can have their minds unaffected by the time reversal, and eventually build up the willpower to break free from the spell, as Kaecilius and his followers did, likely due to the power given to them from the Dark Dimension.
Time loops can also be cast. The participants' body will be reset, even if one is killed. Their consciousnesses however will continue on until the loop is ended. This was later used by Doctor Strange before the Battle of Titan to know how to defeat Thanos in the long term.
The White Monolith was an artifact which could be used to send a group of people across time. Having been warned by the Inhuman Robin Hinton that a cataclysmic event threatened Humanity, the Chronicom Enoch sent a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into year 2091 with the White Monolith, leaving only Leo Fitz behind, so that they would find a way to avert the catastrophe.
During their stay in the future, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents recovered a shard of the White Monolith kept by the True Believers in the remnants of the Zephyr One, as well as a machine connected to the shard which they were supposed to use to return into their time. They thus tasked the Inhuman Flint, whose powers were based on geokinetics, to rebuild a White Monolith using the shard they had reclaimed, and then activated both the White Monolith and the machine, thanks to Enoch and Deke Shaw, to return into their time. Although it was not planned, Shaw was also sent into what was the past to him due to being hit by a fragment of the White Monolith.
What remained of the White Monolith after this time travel was destroyed by Melinda May in the aftermath of the Battle of Chicago, thus rendering other time travels through the White Monolith impossible. The White Monolith was briefly rebuilt by Izel using Flint's powers to open a portal to the Fear Dimension, but this new Monolith was lost when the Temple of the Forgotten was destroyed by the Chronicom Hunters.
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Utilising a fragment of the White Monolith sampled by S.H.I.E.L.D. prior to the destruction of the Temple of the Forgotten, Jemma Simmons was able to modify the Zephyr One's Phase Harmonic Teleportation Device to be able to travel in time, bringing Daisy Johnson, Alphonso Mackenzie, Deke Shaw, Melinda May, as well as a group of S.H.I.E.L.D scientists to 1930s New York City.
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Using a theory based on interactions between gravity, light and time, Victor Stein created a time machine which was supposed to be able to receive messages from the future. Victor tested the time machine with his son Chase, and although he deemed it not functional, the machine did display pictures of the destruction of Los Angeles, which could have occurred because of PRIDE's activities. However, no one saw this alarming message.
Victor later received another message from the time machine, in which he saw a future version of Chase trying to warn him and instructing him not to pick up the Fistigons, in order to prevent Victor from being shot by his wife Janet to protect Chase. However, Victor failed to heed this advice and later attacked Chase with the Fistigons. Later, the time machine once again displayed the same message, and Victor expressed joy at it, taking this as evidence that Chase would survive whatever events involving Jonah were coming.
During a battle between the Runaways and Morgan le Fay, Gert Yorkes died from the injury inflicted to her by the enchantress. Chase Stein, who had been deeply in love with Yorkes, thus spent the next years engineering a portable time machine he wanted to use to return into the past and prevent Yorkes' death. It took Stein a decade to complete the time machine, with help from Alex Wilder and the knowledge contained in the Abstract. However, due to Wilder having gone rogue and deciding to murder all the Runaways in the past, Stein was forced to chase him in year 2021 before going to save Yorkes.
In 2021, this version of Stein met with the other Runaways, except his past self who he needed to leave alone in order not to alter things further. He gave them all time machines, enabling them to chase Wilder further into the past, in year 2017. Once they captured him, the 2021 Wilder was instructed to return to his timeline, while the rest of the group jumped in year 2018 during the battle at the Hostel. Thanks to Stein convincing Yorkes to take her place against le Fay, Yorkes' death was averted. Instead, the future Stein died after defeating le Fay. Due to the effects of time travel, the versions of Wilder, Karolina Dean, Nico Minoru and Molly Hernandez who had time traveled disappeared.
In the aftermath of the Snap, the Avengers tried to find a way to undo Thanos' actions. However, the possibility would come 5 years later with the reappearance of Scott Lang who, due to the exotic physics of the Quantum Realm, informed the Avengers time worked differently in the Quantum Realm and if they could navigate it then they could jump into a different moment in time, before Thanos. With the help of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, the Avengers were able to build a time machine and suits to execute the Time Heist.
With the information on the Infinity Stones' whereabouts, the Avengers traveled back to 2012, 2013 and 2014 in order to fulfil their goal. However, their actions in the past would create alternate timelines so all the changes made in the past would not affect their own reality. Once an unplanned travel to 1970 got carried out, the team returned to the present to use the Infinity Stones they collected and successfully undo the Snap through the Blip.
However, inadvertently, Thanos from the alternate 2014 reality time traveled to 2023 using the time machine the Avengers used in order to use the Infinity Stones and accomplish his agenda. After the Battle of Earth, which ended with the death of Iron Man and Thanos, Steve Rogers went back to the realities the team had created to return the Infinity Stones as Banner had promised to the Ancient One so the realities would not be affected by the Stones' absence. Rogers would later decide to stay back in 1949 to live with Peggy Carter returning to 2023 to pass the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson.
73 years after the destruction of planet Earth, Deke Shaw claimed that Quake was the one who caused it. When she replied that she was not strong enough to cause such a disaster, Shaw explained a quantum physics theory that for every universe there are infinite parallel universes, implying that she came from the past into the future of an alternate universe and not her own. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. team returned to the past they prevented the destruction of Earth, which they eventually learned was caused by the Gravitonium-infused and mentally unstable Glenn Talbot, altering the original chain of events and creating a different timeline.
Jonah's Successful Escape
In a parallel reality where Jonah successfully escaped from Earth as planned and caused Los Angeles to get destroyed in a massive earthquake, Chase Stein would later record a message begging his father to not use the Fistigons as that would lead to the events that allowed Jonah to escape. Chase's message would be later be received in 2017 by his father's time machine, while this temporal intervention did not cause a divergence in the timeline, the Battle at the PRIDE Construction Site had a different aftermath that avoided Jonah's escape from coming to pass in another reality.
Gert Yorkes' Absence
In a parallel reality, by the year 2021 the rest of Runaways team members took different paths after the death of Gert Yorkes. Nico Minoru left the group out of guilt that she had not done enough to help her friends. Molly Hernandez returned studying in Atlas Academy where she became the head of the dance squad. Karolina Dean went to college and met Julie, who she started dating and living with. Alex Wilder founded Wilder Innovators, and also helped Chase Stein use the knowledge in the Abstract to build a time machine he wanted to use to return into the past and prevent Yorkes' death. In said year, the team is reunited by Nico Minoru to commemorate Gert Yorkes in the third year anniversary of her death. However, things would turn out to be problematic as one member of the team would later try to kill Alex Wilder and Chase would have an attempt on his life by Victor Mancha. By 2028, Chase Stein would successfully create a time machine in order to go back in time and save Gert Yorkes, however, he also had to stop Alex Wilder who went rogue and time traveled to kill the Runaways members in 2021 altering the course of history.
Chase of Alex Wilder
In an alternate 2021 instead of being reunited by Nico Minoru, the members of the Runaways were forced to get together after a 2028 Alex Wilder traveled back to the past to kill them. Chase Stein stopped him and saved the Runaways members. However, 2028 Alex escaped and traveled to 2017 in order to kill them, so the team went in pursue.
Following a brief skirmish in 2017, the Runaways were able to stop 2028 Wilder. In order to save Yorkes, 2028 Chase revealed to the team the real reason he created the time machine so Nico Minoru, Karolina Dean and Molly Hernandez agreed to help him in his task to avoid Yorkes' death at the hands of Morgan le Fay. The group returned at the time of the battle at the Hostel, during which Stein took Yorkes' place and thus died instead of her. Due to Yorkes' surviving the battle, the whole alternate timeline which had resulted from her death is avoided in this new reality, and the versions of the Runaways who had built their new lives after Yorkes' death disappeared from the timeline they had jumped into.
When the Avengers utilized the properties of the Quantum Realm, following Ant-Man's advice, and created the Quantum Tunnel that allowed them to collect the Infinity Stones years before Thanos and the Snap, they initiated a Time Heist, which involved them traveling to the past and amassing all six Infinity Stones.
Hulk, Ant-Man, Iron Man and Captain America were sent back to the Battle of New York in 2012, where Hulk was sent to the New York Sanctum to request the Time Stone. The Ancient One refused, however, explaining that she could not give him the Infinity Stone so Banner could alter his timeline and subsequently leave hers undefended without the stone, although Hulk promised that he would return the stone to her at the exact moment it was taken. After the Battle of Earth, Captain America returns the stones to their proper place in time of those realities, so as to clip all the branches.
However, despite the Avengers' success in returning the Infinity Stones to their proper places in history, as Hulk had promised the Ancient One they would, a few unintended consequences caused by their interference resulted in the creation of a few alternate timelines.
Loki's Sudden Escape
Iron Man and Ant-Man, tasked wth obtaining the Space Stone that was still contained within the Tesseract, waited for their moment as Loki, who had just been defeated following the Battle of New York, was being escorted by Thor and the 2012 Stark out of the building with the case containing the Tesseract. During the argument between them and Alexander Pierce regarding the custody of both Loki and the cube, 2023 Stark had Ant-Man shut off 2012 Stark's Arc Reactor to give him a cardiac arrest as a distraction. This allowed 2023 Stark to covertly snag the briefcase containing the Tesseract, but just before Stark could depart, 2012 Hulk crashed open a wall, sending both Stark and the Tesseract flying. Loki used this distraction to steal the Space Stone and escape captivity by opening a wormhole, fleeing through it with the Tesseract, and ruining Lang and Stark's mission.
Theft of the Reality Stone
Thor and Rocket Raccoon had a brief skirmish in Asgard in order to obtain the Reality Stone from Asgard during 2013. However, Thor had a panic attack after seeing his mother realizing that they had time-traveled to the day she dies during the Sacking of Asgard. Thor escaped to see his mother, leaving Rocket alone, who then proceeded to ambush Jane Foster and extract the Aether from her. Thor was later reassured by his mother to find his own path. Once he got reunited with Rocket Raccoon, and after he summoned the Mjølnir to see if he was still worthy, both Avengers member returned to their reality in 2023. These actions caused the creation of an alternate 2013 reality.
During Nebula and War Machine's mission to retrieve the Power Stone from Morag in 2014, the unanticipated linking of the 2023 Nebula's synaptic drive with her 2014 counterpart's, causing an overload with led the 2014 Thanos to have Ebony Maw examine her. Discovering that Nebula's synaptic drive had become entangled with a version of herself from nine years into the future, the subsequent scanning of the 2023 Nebula's memory files revealed to Thanos that his mission to eliminate half of all life would eventually succeed, though after his future counterpart's death, the Avengers would eventually come up with a plan to undo his work.
Thanos thus realized that his plan was wrong since the survivors would never be able to stop remembering the victims, which would prevent them from thriving and always resist what he had done for them. Deciding to take advantage of the Avengers' plans to collect the Stones in the future, Thanos had the 2023 Nebula captured on Morag and had her 2014 counterpart take her place in returning to the future, leading to 2014 Nebula hijacking the Quantum Tunnel and allowing Thanos to travel to 2023 with his army with the intention of using the gathered Infinity Stones to destroy the entire universe and create a new one in its place.
In doing so, this created an alternate timeline where Thanos and his forces disappeared from existence in 2014.
Visit at Camp Lehigh
Having failed in the 2012 alternate reality, Captain America and Iron Man time-traveled to 1970 in order to secure the Space Stone while also obtaining Pym Particles that would allow them to navigate the Quantum Realm and return to their present in 2023. During their brief presence in 1970, Stark interacted with an alternate version of his father realizing that he indeed loved him, understanding all his father had to struggle while raising him. Rogers and Stark with the removal of the vials with Pym Particles and the Space Stone created a new reality.
Steve Rogers' Choice
After successfully returning the Infinity Stones back into their proper timeline, Steve Rogers decided to follow Tony Stark's advice for him to get a normal life, which Stark had suggested before his death. Rogers traveled back to the 1949 in order to live out the rest of his life with Peggy Carter, instead of returning to 2023 as planned, thus creating an alternate timeline.
Upon being reunited with Carter, he finally gave her the dance he had promised her, and the two eventually got married. After his marriage, Rogers retired from his "Captain America" moniker, but would continue to help out when he was needed in his new timeline.
- Phil Coulson †
- Melinda May
- Jemma Simmons
- Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Alphonso Mackenzie
- Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- Leo Fitz † (alternate timeline)
- Deke Shaw
- Alex Wilder † (alternate timeline)
- Chase Stein † (alternate timeline)
- Nico Minoru † (alternate timeline)
- Karolina Dean † (alternate timeline)
- Molly Hernandez † (alternate timeline)
- Enoch †
- Phil Coulson Chronicom LMD
- Luke †
- Cain †
- Abel †
- Niles Lindmore/Chronicom †
- Daniel Sousa
- Lilla Mackenzie/Chronicom †
- John Mackenzie/Chronicom †
- Ford/Chronicom †
- King/Chronicom †
- Scott Lang/Ant-Man
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye
- Steve Rogers/Captain America
- Tony Stark/Iron Man †
- Bruce Banner/Hulk
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow †
- James Rhodes/War Machine
- Rocket Raccoon
- Nebula † (alternate timeline)
- Gamora (alternate timeline)
- Proxima Midnight † (alternate timeline)
- Corvus Glaive † (alternate timeline)
- Cull Obsidian † (alternate timeline)
- Ebony Maw † (alternate timeline)
- Thanos † (alternate timeline)
Behind the Scenes
- Joe and Anthony Russo went to great lengths to make the audience understand that time travel does not work in the events of Avengers: Endgame as it does in Back to the Future, which has informed many people's understanding of the mechanics of time travel. Clifford V. Johnson and Sean M. Carroll served as consultants on the film to create a version of time travel that was true to real-life theoretical physics.
- ↑ Doctor Strange
- ↑ Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ The Russo Brothers Answer Avengers: Endgame Questions From Twitter | Tech Support | WIRED
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.01: Orientation Part One
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.08: The Last Day
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.10: Past Life
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.11: All the Comforts of Home
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.22: The End
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 6.12: The Sign
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 6.13: New Life
- ↑ Runaways: 1.05: Kingdom
- ↑ Runaways: 1.07: Refraction
- ↑ Runaways: 2.07: Last Rites
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Runaways: 3.10: Cheat The Gallows
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Avengers: Endgame
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.03: A Life Spent
- ↑ Runaways: 1.05: Kingdom
- ↑ Runaways: 1.07: Refraction
- ↑ Runaways: 2.07: Last Rites
- ↑ Runaways: 3.09: The Broken Circle
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Director Joe Russo answers pivotal questions about ‘Avengers: Endgame’ plot
- ↑ 'Avengers: Endgame' Directors Explain the Final Shot That's Sparking a Fan Debate
- ↑ A physicist explains the science of Avengers: Endgame
- ↑ A science adviser for 'Avengers: Endgame' describes the real physics of time travel and multiple universes that underpin the movie