Avengers Endgame ending explained: How the Infinity Stones saga ends

We are in the Endgame now and it is time to avenge the fallen. Avengers: Endgame is finally in cinemas and that means that the world will be talking about what the Earth's Mightiest Heroes got up to in the fight against Thanos. Following on from the preceding instalment of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos had decimated half of the population of the universe - including some of our most beloved heroes.

Now the Avengers - including founding members like Iron Man and Captain America - must find a way to defeat Thanos and try to undo his dastardly actions. With help from Captain Marvel and Ant-Man, naturally, a lot of action goes down.

Here is what happened and the ending explained for Avengers: Endgame.

But warning: spoilers are now beyond!

Whether you have seen the film or not, we do ask that for others who haven't seen it and don't want to know what happens, Do Not Spoil The Endgame.

Avengers: Endgame ending explained:

How does the movie start?

Clint Barton loses his wife Laura and two children to the Decimation, the title card then appears. Meanwhile, Nebula mends Tony’s wound but they are dying in space when Captain Marvel appears to rescue them.

What does Captain Marvel do?

Captain Marvel arrives on Earth with Tony and Nebula. Tony is reunited with Pepper and is very weak but explodes in anger at Steve. The rest of the Avengers regroup on Earth as it’s also confirmed that Shuri didn’t survive the Decimation and that they believe Ant-Man is dead too. Having located Thanos on his new homeworld, the band of survivors travel there on the Guardians ship. Having realised that Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones after achieving his goal, they have no way of undoing his actions. After learning this terrible truth, Thor uses Stormbreaker to behead Thanos. The Fallen are avenged.

Time jump - Five Years Later

Five years have passed since the Decimation and Thanos was killed. Tony has married Pepper and they have a daughter named Morgan. Thor has founded New Asgard in Norway, but is now obese and not enjoying life as King, despite Valkyrie having tried to pull him out of his rut. Bruce has now mastered his Hulk persona and can be the brains and voice of Bruce in Hulk’s body. Rhodey is searching for Clint, who is now in his Ronin guise and is ruthlessly hunting and killing villains around the world. Wakanda is now ruled by Okoye in the absence of a royal family, while the Guardians are in space. Captain Marvel - with shorter hair - is busy saving other planets around the galaxy. Steve runs a support group for survivors, while Nat trains and tries to get on with life at the Avengers HQ. Both recognise that they can’t move on, with Nat clearly depressed.

How does Ant-Man get back?

Scott returns from the Quantum Realm to his van in a storage facility after a rat runs over the controls that the decimated Hope had been operating. It’s been five years outside, but for him, it’s been only five hours. He tracks down his daughter Cassie - now older - and reunites with her. He then makes his way to Avengers HQ.

So, time travel time?

Scott suggests to the Avengers that they use time travel to undo what happened, via the Quantum Realm and Hulk gets to work, but Tony isn’t keen - he doesn’t want his family life undone. Bruce experiments with Scott but alters his age. It doesn’t work until Tony changes his mind with the condition that what he has built is not lost.

Time travel rules

This is not Back to the Future - there is no meddling with the past to change the future. The present of the characters is fixed, if they change the past they just create separate timelines. Theirs is unaffected.

Who is on the team?

We already have Tony, Steve, Bruce, Nat, Scott, Rhodey, Nebula and Rocket. Rocket and Bruce travel to New Asgard and recruit Thor, who is drinking and playing video games with Korg. Nat tracks down Clint in Japan and emotionally convinces him to help and get his family back - right after he kills a ton of Yakuza. Clint tries the newly tested stable time travel and travels back to his family, before being pulled back too early - but it works. After further tests, and limited Pymm particles, they realise they have only one chance to go back and get the Stones from various timelines and locations. Tony and Steve make peace. The assembled team all travel through the Quantum Realm.

The Mind Stone

Tony, Steve, Bruce, and Scott travel to the Battle of New York (in Avengers: Assemble) to retrieve Loki’s sceptre which contains the Mind Stone. They succeed in getting the Sceptre from Loki, but not the Tesseract (Space Stone), as Loki escapes with it in that timeline. In SHIELD custody with Alexander Piece and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones, Steve convinces Rumlow in the elevator to hand the Sceptre over by saying “Hail, Hydra”. Steve must fight Past-Steve to keep a hold of the sceptre. Scott then travels back to the present day with the Sceptre.

The Time Stone

Bruce finds the Ancient One in New York in 2012 too and looks to retrieve the Time Stone (or Eye of Agamotto), telling her that Strange gave it away. The Ancient One has foreseen the future and knows Strange is the greatest sorcerer to ever live and trusts Bruce to return it to her in her timeline. All the stones must be returned to their original locations or otherwise, those timelines also face destruction.

The Space Stone

With Loki escaping with the Tesseract in the 2012 timeline, Tony and Steve travel back to the 1970s to retrieve the Tesseract and extra Pymm particles from a SHIELD facility. In the facility, Tony is confronted by his father Howard Stark and the two speak and discuss parenthood. Tony finally understands his father. Steve briefly sees Peggy Carter in the facility but she doesn't see him. Steve and Tony grab the Space Stone and the Pymm particles and travel back to the present day.

The Power Stone

In 2014, during the first Guardians film, Rhodey and Nebula drop Nat and Clint off at Vorimir before going to Morad and knock Peter Quill unconscious before he gets the Power Stone. Nebula retrieves the Power Stone. Meanwhile, across space, the past versions of Gamora and Nebula are serving Thanos but are arguing. Past-Nebula then experiences a malfunction in her interface and begins seeing visions of the future and visions of the events of Morad, prompting Thanos to imprison her and observe - seeing all that happens; including his death. He sends Past-Nebula to Morag and they intercept the present day Nebula as Rhodey leaves with Power Stone. Past-Nebula then captures and goes on to impersonate her counterpart and travels to the future. Rhodey returns to the present day with Past Nebula, not knowing it is her.

The Reality Stone

Thor and Rocket travel back to the time of Thor: The Dark World and retrieve the Reality Stone (or the Aether) from Thor's then-girlfriend Dr Jane Foster, using a device Rocket has. Thor is distracted when he comes face to face with his mother Frigga and they have a heart-to-heart that restores his conviction before he retrieved his hammer Mjolnir and leaves. Thor wants to save his mother from her death, but she understands that her destiny can't be changed.

The Soul Stone

In 2014, Clint and Nat arrive on Vormir in the past to get the Soul Stone but the Red Skull reminds them that one has to sacrifice what they love most to obtain it. A soul for a soul. Clint and Nat argue over who should sacrifice themselves, and even fight, both falling over the side of the clifftop, but holding on. Until a teary Nat says it's okay and lets go. Nat falls to her death and is never seen again. A devastated Clint is awarded the Soul Stone.

The New Gauntlet

The team all arrive in the present day and realise Nat is missing. The team, particularly Bruce and Steve are hit hard by her death. With the stones assembled in a new Gauntlet, Thor wishes to wield it but they agree on Hulk. Bruce puts it on and does the snap, but nothing appears to happen at first until Clint gets a call from Laura on his phone.

Thanos returns

Past-Nebula covertly opens a portal for Past-Thanos and his forces to arrive from the past, prompting them to obliterate the Avengers HQ and Past-Nebula to destroy the time tunnel.

The Final Battle

A captive Nebula convinces Past-Gamora to turn on Thanos and the pair fight and kill Past-Nebula, preventing her from getting the Stones to Thanos after catching a fleeing Clint. Rhodey and Rocket are almost killed by a flood in the HQ from the explosion but are saved by Scott. The holy trinity of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor take on Thanos. During the fight, Thor is back to his old self and Steve even wields the hammer to fight Thanos. The three are eventually overcome, as Thanos has more of his forces arrive on Earth.

The Decimated return

Just as Thanos looks like he will destroy the Avengers, the Decimated heroes all return through portals created by Doctor Strange and Wong, having all been revived through the Infinity Stones. In addition, their allies, the armies of Wakanda and sorcerers come through too to have a mega-battle against Thanos and his army. After a long fight including a comeback for Captain Marvel who destroys Thanos' ship and a moment where all the female heroes try to get the Gauntlet away from the Mad Titan, Thanos gets the Gauntlet and says "I am inevitable". Doctor Strange gives the sign of one with his finger to let Tony know that he has one chance. Tony takes the Gauntlet from Thanos and puts it on and says "I am Iron Man". Tony then does his own snap and uses it to Decimate both Thanos and his army, but using it causes a fatal wound.

Iron Man's goodbye

Tony is fatally wounded by the energy from wielding the Gauntlet and passes away surrounded by his crying loved ones: Peter Parker, James Rhodes and, of course, Pepper Potts. He then passes away, with a funeral being held for Tony by his loved ones and notable figures from the Marvel Cinematic Universe - including Nick Fury and Maria Hill and the boy Harley from Iron Man 3.

Thor joins the Guardians of the Galaxy

After Stark's funeral, Thor appoints Valkyrie as the new Queen of Asgard before leaving with the Guardians of the Galaxy.Thor and Peter Quill argue over who will be the leader. Peter is also intent on finding the Past-Gamora who is now on the loose in their timeline after she previously knees him in his groin when he tries to touch her face during the big battle. Make no mistake, she's a good person.

Steve Rogers says goodbye

Steve takes it upon himself to return both the Infinity Stones and Thor's hammer to their original timelines - as Bruce agreed with the Ancient One. Steve then says goodbye to his friends Bucky and Sam, with Bruce saying he'll be back in a few seconds. Steve then disappears. Bucky senses he won't be back soon. Bucky and Sam then see a man sat not far away. Bucky tells Sam to approach him and he sees he is by an elderly Steve, who reveals he pursued the kind of happiness that Tony got, but in the past. Steve then passes on his shield and the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson. Bucky nods in approval.

The final dance

We then see the final scene of the film. On a sunny suburb, Steve is shown living out his days with Peggy Carter and finally sharing that long-awaited dance. Is there a post-credits scene? No, but you do get to see the actors of the founding members of the Avengers sign their names.

So who dies and who stays dead?

Some people stay dead for good - but there are caveats.

Thanos dies twice: once in the present as he is beheaded by Thor, the second time a past version is obliterated by Tony using the Infinity Stones.

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff sacrifices herself on Vorimir to allow Clint Barton to obtain the Soul Stone. The film goes out of its way to say repeatedly that she is not coming back.

Iron Man/Tony Stark dies wielding the Infinity Stones to defeat Thanos.

Vision was not killed in the Decimation and is not resurrected by the Infinity Stones, which will be why Scarlet Witch was so angry at Thanos here.

Loki is not resurrected, however, an alternate timeline version of him from the first Avengers film is shown to escape with the Tesseract and survive. This is likely how he survives to get his own mini-series.

Gamora is not resurrected after her death in Avengers: Infinity War, however, a past version of Gamora from a timeline set at the start of the first  Guardians of the Galaxy film is left alive in the present day timeline at the end of the film.

Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas now.

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