"Temporal manipulations can create branches in time. Unstable dimensional openings, spatial paradoxes, time loops! You want to get stuck reliving the same moment over, and over, forever, or never having existed at all?"
Karl Mordo to Doctor Strange[src]

Time Travel is the concept of traveling either backwards or forwards in time from the present date.

Time Travel Sources

Time Stone

"I went forward in time to view alternate futures. To see all the possible outcomes of the coming conflict."
Doctor Strange[src]

Doctor Strange undoing Kaecilius' actions

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.[1] This was later used by Doctor Strange before the Battle of Titan to know how to defeat Thanos in the long term.[2][3]

Time Di'Alla

The Time Di'Alla

"It takes you through time, but to the same place."
Leo Fitz[src]

The Time Di'Alla 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 Time Di'Alla, leaving only Leo Fitz behind, so that they would find a way to avert the catastrophe.[4]

During their stay in the future, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents recovered a shard of the Time Di'Alla kept by the True Believers in the remnants of Zephyr One, as well as a machine connected to the shard which they were supposed to use to return to their time.[5] They thus tasked the Inhuman Flint, whose powers were based on geokinesis, to rebuild a Time Di'Alla using the shard they had reclaimed, and then activated both the Time Di'Alla and the machine, thanks to Enoch and Deke Shaw, to return to their time.[6] Although it was not planned, Shaw was also sent into the past to him due to being hit by a fragment of the Time Di'Alla.[7]

What remained of the Time Di'Alla after this time travel was destroyed by Melinda May in the aftermath of the Battle of Chicago, thus rendering other time travels through this Time Di'Alla impossible.[8] The Time Di'Alla was briefly rebuilt by Izel using Flint's powers to open a portal to the Fear Dimension[9], but this new Monolith was lost when the Temple of the Forgotten was destroyed by the Chronicom Hunters.[10]

Zephyr One

As a part of a causal loop, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were the ones that ensured themselves to be able to travel back to 1931

"The Zephyr's a time machine now?"
"In a sense."
"And we can jump to any time we want?"
"Not quite. It's complicated."
Deke Shaw and Jemma Simmons[src]

Utilizing a fragment of the Time Di'Alla sampled by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons prior to the destruction of the Temple of the Forgotten, Fitz and Simmons went back to a distant galaxy where they spent four years[11] trying to build a time machine modifying Zephyr One's Phase Harmonic Teleportation Device to be able to travel in time.[10]

Fitz explains the physics of time travel

In 2023, FitzSimmons finished the construction of the Time Drive and traveled back to 2019. As a part of a causal loop within the timeline, FitzSimmons were assisted by the S.H.I.E.L.D. team that had returned from the alternate timeline they were about to create by traveling to 1931. With the help of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that returned from the alternate timeline, Jemma Simmons and Enoch rescued the S.H.I.E.L.D. team from the Temple of the Forgotten.[12]

Zephyr One leaves 1931

With the Zephyr and the Time Drive, Simmons was able to bring herself, Daisy Johnson, Alphonso Mackenzie, Deke Shaw, Melinda May, Yo-Yo Rodriguez and Enoch to 1931 to stop the Chronicoms from erasing S.H.I.E.L.D. from history.[13] Unknown to them, upon arriving in the past, the timeline branched off into an alternate timeline.[14] During their battle with the Chronicoms, the agents fought to preserve the history they knew in the timeline they had created[14], managing to keep history on track in 1931[13][15] and 1955[16][17]. However, due to Luke's decision to stay in the past and keep Wilfred Malick alive, the history of this new timeline became completely different from the one the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. knew.[18] Using the Time Drive, S.H.I.E.L.D. traveled forward in time trying to restore the timeline, arriving in 1973, 1976[18], 1982[19] and 1983.[20]

S.H.I.E.L.D. using the Time Drive to arrive in 1931

In the last moments of the conflict with the Chronicoms, S.H.I.E.L.D. realized they were stuck in the alternate timeline and could not return to their original timeline using the Zephyr.[14] With the Quantum Bridge Fitz and Simmons built in 2023, Fitz was able to move between timelines and arrive to the alternate one where his friends were.[21] The agents managed to return to their original timeline to make a final stand against the Chronicoms in 2019.[12] When they returned, they realized their past selves were currently fighting Izel at the Temple, and that FitzSimmons had already used Zephyr One to travel back in time from 2023 to 2019, as a part of the causal loop. To ensure that they would be able to go to the past, S.H.I.E.L.D. helped the scientist to ensure the agents' arrival to 1931. While the past version of S.H.I.E.L.D. completed the loop by journeying to 1931, Alphonso Mackenzie led the agents to fight the Chronicoms, defeating them and avoiding their colonization of Earth.[12]

Time Stream

The Time Stream

The Time Stream is a tool used by the Chronicoms to read the branches of the Multiverse allowing them to predict the future and adjust the timeline at their will.[19] When they arrived in 1931, the Chronicoms and their predictor Sibyl used the Time Stream to try to erase S.H.I.E.L.D. from history in the timeline they had created[22] by changing specific events that would cause S.H.I.E.L.D. to cease to exist.[13][16] However, as S.H.I.E.L.D. had followed them, the Chronicoms changed the rules of the game and started to cause big shifts in history, completely distorting the timeline S.H.I.E.L.D. knew.[14] Sibyl then made a partnership with Nathaniel Malick lending him the Time Stream[20] so he could use it to help in the battle against S.H.I.E.L.D.[21]

Fitz uses the Time Stream

Knowing the Chronicoms were going back to the past, Enoch stole a copy of the Time Stream and gave it to Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons who used it to see countless versions of how they could defeat the Chronicoms once and for all. Using the knowledge they obtained, Fitz-Simmons created the Time Drive and a Quantum Tunnel to travel back in time and travel between timelines, respectively, to defeat the Chronicoms.[12]

Victor Stein's Time Machine

Chase Stein sending a warning to his father

"It can receive visual messages from the future, giving us a glimpse of what life will be like."
Victor Stein[src]

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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

Chase Stein's Time Machine

Chase Stein jumping into the past

"I'm going to save Gert. That was always the plan, my entire purpose behind building the time machine."
Chase Stein[src]

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 into 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 (2017). Once they captured him, the 2021 Wilder was instructed to return to his timeline, while the rest of the group jumped to 2018; during the battle at the Hostel. Thanks to Stein convincing Yorkes to take her place against le Fay, Yorkes' death was averted. Instead, 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.[26]

Quantum Realm

"You went back in time, and then you branched off. But we can travel through something called the Quantum Realm. So we can go in between timelines."
Leo Fitz to S.H.I.E.L.D.[src]

The Avengers go back in time

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.

Rogers prepares to return the Infinity Stones

However, inadvertently, Thanos from the alternate 2014 reality 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 the 2014 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.[27]

The Quantum Realm was also used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to move between timelines during the War Against the Chronicoms.[12]

Alternate Timelines

Destruction of Earth

Earth having been destroyed by Glenn Talbot

"You probably never heard of it, but in quantum physics, there's a theory that, for every universe, there are infinite parallel universes. So in my universe, you destroyed the planet."
Deke Shaw to Quake[src]

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.[28] 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.[8]

Jonah's Successful Escape

Los Angeles getting destroyed by a massive earthquake

In a parallel reality where Jonah successfully escaped from Earth as planned and caused Los Angeles to get destroyed in a massive earthquake[29], 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.[30] 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.[31]

Gert Yorkes' Absence

"Data log. June 14th, 2028. The two most powerful forces in life are invisible. The first is love... the second is time."
Chase Stein[src]

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.[26]

Chase of Alex Wilder

2028 Stein confronts 2028 Wilder

"We've all had to live without Gert Yorkes. That's not a life worth living."
Chase Stein to Gert Yorkes[src]

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.[26]

The alternate versions of the Runaways disappear

Following a brief skirmish in 2017, the Runaways were able to stop 2028 Wilder. In order to save Yorkes, 2028 Stein 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.[32] 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.[26]

History Altered by the Chronicoms

"It is too late to save my planet. Which is why I must now intervene at an earlier date."
"Using time travel?"
Atarah and Leo Fitz[src]

Triskelion Destroyed.png

During the war against the Chronicoms, S.H.I.E.L.D. used the Time Di'Alla properties to travel backwards in time to 1931.[13] The changes to the timeline created an alternate reality. In this new brand day, the agents traveled forward in time trying to preserve the history of their original universe in this new one. However, these actions just caused this new timeline to be completely different, as Daniel Sousa was saved and did not die like in the original timeline[17][14], Wilfred and Nathaniel Malick lived longer than their original versions, Project Insight was made in the 70s and not in 2014[18], Kora's death was averted[33], Jiaying was killed by Malick before giving birth to Daisy Johnson[22] and S.H.I.E.L.D. was completely destroyed.[14] The agents failed from preserving history, and also were unable to return to the original timeline by using the Zephyr One. Using the Quantum Realm, and with the help of Leo Fitz, S.H.I.E.L.D. abandoned the new timeline they had created traveling to the original one, taking the Chronicoms with them so they can defeat them. Deke Shaw decided to stay in the past to rebuild and guide S.H.I.E.L.D.[12]

Time Heist

Captain America encountering his past self

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 that were caused by the removal of the Infinity Stones.

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 alternate timelines.[27][34]

Loki's Sudden Escape

Loki manages to escape with the Tesseract

Iron Man and Ant-Man, tasked with 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.[27]

Theft of the Reality Stone

Thor talks with his mother

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.[27]

Thanos' Disappearance

Thanos learning of his own impending demise

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, in this universe Thanos and his forces disappeared from existence in 2014.[27]

Visit at Camp Lehigh

Howard Stark and "Howard Potts"

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.[27]

Steve Rogers' Choice

Steve Rogers is reunited with Peggy Carter

"So did something go wrong, or did something go right?"
"Well, after I put the stones back, I thought, maybe I'll try some of that life Tony was telling me to get."
Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers[src]

After successfully returning the Infinity Stones and Mjølnir back to 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.

Having grown old from his retirement, Rogers eventually returned to 2023 of his original universe, where he entrusted Sam Wilson with his shield, having chosen him as his successor.[27][34]

Time Travelers

From 2091 of Destruction of Earth

From 2028

From 2021

From history altered by the Chronicoms

From 2014 of the Time Heist

Behind the Scenes

"Every decision you made in the past could potentially create a new timeline."
Joe Russo[src]

References

  1. Doctor Strange
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. The Russo Brothers Answer Avengers: Endgame Questions From Twitter | Tech Support | WIRED
  4. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.01: Orientation Part One
  5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.08: The Last Day
  6. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.10: Past Life
  7. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.11: All the Comforts of Home
  8. 8.0 8.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.22: The End
  9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 6.12: The Sign
  10. 10.0 10.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 6.13: New Life
  11. Saying Goodbye to FitzSimmons on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.13: What We're Fighting For
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.01: The New Deal
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.11: Brand New Day
  15. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.02: Know Your Onions
  16. 16.0 16.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.03: Alien Commies from the Future!
  17. 17.0 17.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.04: Out of the Past
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.05: A Trout in the Milk
  19. 19.0 19.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.06: Adapt or Die
  20. 20.0 20.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.07: The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D
  21. 21.0 21.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.12: The End is at Hand
  22. 22.0 22.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.10: Stolen
  23. Runaways: 1.05: Kingdom
  24. Runaways: 1.07: Refraction
  25. Runaways: 2.07: Last Rites
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Runaways: 3.10: Cheat The Gallows
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 Avengers: Endgame
  28. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.03: A Life Spent
  29. Runaways: 1.05: Kingdom
  30. Runaways: 1.07: Refraction
  31. Runaways: 2.07: Last Rites
  32. Runaways: 3.09: The Broken Circle
  33. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 7.08: After, Before
  34. 34.0 34.1 Director Joe Russo answers pivotal questions about ‘Avengers: Endgame’ plot
  35. 'Avengers: Endgame' Directors Explain the Final Shot That's Sparking a Fan Debate
  36. A physicist explains the science of Avengers: Endgame
  37. A science adviser for 'Avengers: Endgame' describes the real physics of time travel and multiple universes that underpin the movie

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