Avengers: Endgame not only rocketed its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time, but it’s generally agreed upon that the movie, overall, is hype af. But even among the money and the acclaim, there’s still a good amount of (very reasonable!) questions as to how exactly all that time travel in the film’s year-hopping second act even worked. When I sat down with the film’s co-editor, Jeff Ford, he offered up a simple and honestly pretty refreshingly honest answer: Don’t worry about it.
And to keep that vibe alive for audiences, who were responding a bit negatively to the time travel of it all during test screenings, directors Joe and Anthony Russo added a quick scene late into the post-production process. It’s barely more than a single line, right after Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) goes back to see his since-Snapped family.
“The sequence that proceeded [Hawkeye’s test mission] was very different. We realized that people were bumping on the rules of time travel. They wanted to know what they were, or they wanted to know that they weren’t important. They needed some kind of message from the movie to say ‘hey, you don’t have to do math. You don’t have to write this down. Go with it.’ Joe had this great idea that Rhodey would pitch, ‘Why don’t we just go back and kill baby Thanos?’ That was a reshoot that we did very late. The idea was, we can tell audiences that these time travel scenarios they’ve seen in other movies and on TV, we’re doing something slightly different. Hulk can say, ‘That’s not how it works’. We never get to a complete, intense description of how our time travel works, but at least you know the question was asked and Hulk understood it.”
That answer is kind of a fascinating look into how big-budget storytellers look at their “plotholes” versus, say, the various Youtube series dedicated to catching them. Ford noted that a few earlier drafts of the script did go into great detail about how the time travel in Endgame worked, but the Russos opted not to shoot any of it because, ultimately, the nitty-gritty wasn’t what was driving the story.
“In some drafts things were getting complex. I think that what happens in a movie like this, some of that stuff will track and sometimes it’s just too much. It’s an overload. We never actually shot anything like that. There was a line here or a line there. But again, it’s really about saying, ‘You don’t need to know this information. You just need to go with it.’ As opposed to really getting the details. Because the story itself doesn’t ever trade on the mechanics of what they do, they simply need to do it. So if we had a plot point where those mechanics were significant, then I think we would have really needed to step up a little more. But as it was, the tonality of it just didn’t allow for that.”
Check out exactly what Ford had to say in the player at the top of the page. For more Endgame tidbits from our chat, check out what the editor had to say about the alternate versions of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) final words.