In both my Captain America and Iron Man articles I discussed how it really is impossible to answer specific questions about Avengers Endgame because we just don’t have the required information needed to even theorize as to what will happen in certain parts of the movie. Ironically though, even with the lack of official information out there, there is something staring all of us in the face when it comes to how Endgame will end and that’s Black Panther 2.
That’s right, the sequel to the highest grossing Marvel movie of all-time may actually hold all the answers, but how? Well, as I said, Black Panther is the highest grossing Marvel movie of all time, even outgrossing Infinity War, which means that more than just nerds like me went to watch the king of Wakanda’s first starring role in theaters. In fact, for many, this was a lot of people’s first foray into the superhero genre and while I’d like to think that those newcomers then went on to watch Infinity War when it released a few months later, the box office numbers simply don’t back that up. The reality is that not only did a sizeable percentage of The Black Panther audience not go see Infinity War but there’s a good chance that this specific percentage of the audience will more than likely not see another superhero movie until Black Panther 2 releases.
So what does any of this have to do with Avengers Endgame? When it comes to the ending, everything. At first, especially based off of the description of the still yet to be released to the public Spider-Man trailer, I thought that the movies that occurred after Endgame could take place in a brand new, rebooted universe. A new cinematic universe where the Winter Soldier is and has always been Captain America and Spider-Man has been an Avenger for years not months. I even started working on an article about how the current lineup of announced shows that are scheduled to be coming to Disney’s upcoming streaming service would be how Marvel explains this new world to its fans, but that idea was quickly scrapped because of how complicated it would make everything. General audiences already have a hard enough time keeping all of these movies straight and the last thing they need is to be told that everything they’ve been taught for the last 10 years no longer happened and from this moment on, because of what happened in a movie that you may not have even seen, all the characters you know are going to act in a completely different way.
And I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I too would like to think that the general audiences are a lot smarter than Hollywood execs give them credit but it’s important to remember that most people who go and see these movies aren’t going on Reddit or IGN to learn about all of the news that’s out there about upcoming movies. As hard as it may be to believe, a lot of people go to the movies just to relax and have a good time. The last thing they want is a movie to require them to do homework. I couldn’t believe how many times I had to explain to people that Ben Affleck’s Batman was not the same Batman from The Dark Knight, but if you think about it, why would someone think otherwise. Those movies were successful, and if Hollywood has taught us one thing, it’s that a successful movie doesn’t get rebooted, it gets more sequels.
This kind of confusion doesn’t just happen in superhero movies either. After watching the 2018 Halloween soft reboot/sequel with my mom, I spent 20 minutes after the movie was over explaining to her that this was only a sequel to the original Halloween film. “So even the other movies that had Jamie Lee Curtis in them aren’t connected to this movie,” is a direct quote from her. See how confusing this stuff can be?
And because I believe that Marvel wants to avoid this kind of confusion, I think we already know what kind of ending we’re going to get in the next Avengers movie. Yes, I believe several important characters in the MCU will be gone forever and I still believe that our surviving heroes will be emotionally changed because of what happens but ultimately, the world that we see in the upcoming Spider-Man and Black Panther sequels will still be the same world that we last saw them in. It would be unfair to ask a potential newcomer to the genre to forget the movie they just saw for the sake of a group of writers because they have an “interesting story to tell.” It’s this kind of thinking that’s lead to comic books having such a hard time attracting new readers. Have you tried to get into comic books lately? Yeah, good luck with that. They’re overly complicated, with storylines stretched across multiple books and at the drop of a hat, a universe that you love and have spent time learning about could be rebooted and suddenly have new characters, new lore, and new rules that you have to learn all over again. No thanks!
Superhero movies have been a successful mainstay for over a decade now and it’s ultimately their simplistic structure that has kept it that way… that and the movies are really good. That tends to help. So while I trust Kevin Feige and his team with whatever they decide to do with the ending of Avengers Endgame and how it will mold the future movies to come, I hope they understand the dangers of making all of this too complicated. Besides, they have enough on their plate. They have the daunting task of making us forget about the last decade of X-Men movies while also explaining why the X-Men haven’t been around in the MCU. With issues like that to resolve, making something like Black Panther 2 complicated wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.