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It's been over a year since Avengers: Endgame brought over a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to an epic, and dramatic, conclusion. We fully expected the two-part Avengers finale was going to do some big things, and the movie certainly did not disappoint. We saw emotional moments, exciting action, and everything in between. But above all else, what Endgame really did was set the stage for what comes next by completely changing the status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways.
In Marvel Comics, we occasionally see some tectonic shifts, but eventually, things always go back to normal. However, that's the huge way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will differentiate itself from the stories that came before. We can expect the big changes in the MCU to remain in place, and therefore we can expect those changes to send stories off into entirely new directions. Here are the biggest moments from Endgame that will have the most lasting impact on the future of the franchise.
Captain America Passes On The Shield
The fate of Captain America was one of the biggest questions going into Endgame, and it will continue to be so when the Marvel Cinematic Universe moves forward. Steve Rogers is officially done with the shield, but the shield will go on. Rogers passed the Shield to his friend Sam Wilson, the Falcon, and so it looks like Sam will be the new Captain America, in spirit, if not also in name.
Except, from all appearances it may not be that simple. Not everybody may support the idea of Sam Wilson as the new Captain America. In fact, it looks like that conflict will be at the heart of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the upcoming Disney+ series. Either way, the end of Chris Evans' tenure as Captain America was a huge moment from Endgame that we'll be seeing the results of for years to come. We may still have a Captain America, but the new one will take the character to places the original never could.
Thor Leaves Asgard
Technically, Asgard was destroyed at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, but in Avengers: Endgame we learn that the survivors have made a new home for themselves on Earth. But New Asgard has a new leader by the end of the final Avengers film, as Thor abdicated his throne and gives it over to Valkyrie while he goes running off with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thor is still going to be off fighting the good fight. With the film Thor: Love & Thunder on the way, we know that he'll still be a hero, but the impression we're given is that up until now the Thor we know has been the one he thought he was supposed to be. We'll likely see a very different sort of Thor when we see him again as part of this decision. What's more, we'll see a new Asgard under the leadership of Valkyrie.
Alternative Universe Loki
Loki was one of a handful of characters that did not survive the two-part Avengers story, seemingly dying off in the first few minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, but with Loki you can never be entirely certain that anything you see is to be believed. We saw Tom Hiddleston's character again in Endgame, though as a past version of himself thanks to time travel. Though Loki's fate in that timeline is a little different from the one we knew.
We've been told that the forthcoming Loki Disney+ series, the Marvel title we know the least about, will focus on this alternate timeline version of the character. It's also possible that we could see even more come out of this decision. Could we see more stories taking place within alternate timelines? Can we be certain that the events of Loki won't have an impact in the main MCU? This is Loki, after all, and you can't ever be sure about anything with him.
A "New" Gamora
Much like the death of Loki, Avengers: Infinity War shocked many of us with the death of Gamora. And also like Loki, Avengers: Endgame undid that death, but only sort of. Zoe Saldana returned in the MCU as a younger version of her character who then time-traveled forward to the "current day" of the MCU.
Technically, we don't even know the fate of the new Gamora, as the scene that showed she survived the battle was deleted from the final cut of Avengers: Endgame, but it seems likely she's alive. And with that, whatever we thought might be on tap for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was changed. The dynamics of the entire team will be different when we see them again. Even if Gamora joins them and becomes a Guardian again, she won't be the same person. She'll never be the same person.
The Death of Iron Man
Much like the official retirement of Captain America, Avengers: Endgame gave us the end of the story for another major character, though in a more tragic way. Iron Man sacrificed himself so that humanity would be saved. The character who helped create the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the actor who gave him life, are both gone, likely not to ever be seen again.
An MCU with no Iron Man is sure to be a very different place. Will we see a new or existing character take on a role like the one Tony Stark once had? Unlike Sam Wilson picking up Captain America's shield, there's no "heir apparent" here. Will there be a "new Iron Man" or will the MCU find some other way to fill the void? At this point, we just have no idea, but Tony Stark was an important part of the MCU even when he wasn't actually in the movie, the lack of him is sure to be just an important.
These are just the biggest and most obvious moments that we know are going to have a serious impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Quite often the MCU has found ways to make small details important that we never expected would mean anything, so it's possible that other parts of Avengers: Endgame will end up meaning even more. We'll have to wait until the MCU comes back from its longer than expected hiatus before we know for sure.