Avengers: Endgame came out this week, which had some big storytelling decisions dropped on the movie from The Russo Brothers. One of those "nothing will be the same again" decisions that follow up on the events of Infinity War.
So. The movie Avengers: Endgame saw half of the living population returned, five years after they had been dusted. It was a win. But while the film looked at the implications of the loss, there was little about the revival. Here are a few issues that may have resulted… and we're probably just probing the surface. Feel free o add your own observations in the comments.
All those people declared dead, with many partners having remarried and started new families. In most countries, the time for missing people to be declared legally dead is seven years, but in this case, three and a half billion people turned to dust, most in full view of others. For those declared dead, the marriage is null and void. Even for them, a second had passed. This may be just as traumatic. But this is just one of many contracts that will be at issue.
Fixed term contracts will have expired. Healthcare plans, jobs, pension contribution, education and provision, television subscriptions, mortgages, phone contracts, tenancy leases, visas from the big to the little. Some will have been taken on by others, some will have expired. Those declared dead, after being seen to have dusted, will have had those contracts voided, others waiting to be declared legally dead after seven years, may be liable for issues raised by them. Clearly, government legislation was needed initially, maybe to declare legally those who were dusted and not observed as dead before the seven years (or whatever the country's laws are) are up, and new legislation will be needed now in order to help the returning. Obviously, Hawkeye's wife's mobile phone was on pay as you go and Hawkeye took it and kept it a drawer when she dusted, she just needed to quickly plug it into a socket, recharge briefly and thankfully Hawkeye kept paying the electricity bill when he roamed the Earth seeking revenge as Ronin.
Property, Possessions and Wealth
Given the above, with billions declared dead, their possessions, property and wealth will have been passed on and inherited, or if no inheritors have been found, taken by the state. Governments will have had a massive windfall as a result, including inheritance taxes. There will be a lot more money around, all sorts of projects, lifestyles will have been funded and inflation will have also increased. Those not declared dead may have recourse to claim these back. Those who were officially dead will not. Poverty for the returning half will be extreme. On the other hand, some may no longer have to pay off their student debts.
Legal Definition Of Age
Provision will have to be made regarding how someone's age is calculated for governmental and legal purposes, or you will have thirteen-year-olds able to vote, sign up for the army, smoke and give consent to all sorts of things. While unable to get a free high school education. Trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home indicate that not only Peter Parker but all his memorable classmates were snapped and have now returned. The legal definition of age must be redefined for those who were snapped in order for them to continue their education, use passports to go to Europe, and more. Still at least Cassie Lang can be Stature in Ant-Man 3 or Young Avengers. There's that I suppose.
Those in power who were snapped may not respond well to returning to find themselves out of power – as well as pocket. What if Donald was snapped and Melania wasn't, and now she owns all his stuff and Bernie is now President? Oh and Donald's Twitter account has been closed. He's not going to be that happy. In Britain, Brexit will have been put on hold obviously, but will anyone have been up for elections of any kind? As mentioned above, there will have had to be serious legislation to pass, as well as celebrations of national emergency, troops on the street and a return of dictatorships all over the place as scared populations find scapegoats, riot and generally kick off globally. And so many conspiracy theories will have been started…
Enough people won't buy the official Thanos explanation, For many, the Snap will have been seen as the Rapture. People called by God to heaven, leaving behind the unworthy. A real-life Left Behind moment that will lead to an explosion in religious belief, intolerance against those who believe something else, as well as a bunch of self-flagellation, penance, puritanism and witch hunts. Everyone returning will dent some of that, but religious bodies have a tendency to hold onto whatever they have managed to land grab, even as circumstances change.
Also, some won't buy any explanation and will insist that all three-and-a-half billion people were actors and have been hiding out in government bunkers for five years.
When people were dusted, they lost their clothes. Electrical items such as phones and pagers survived somehow. Did they return clothed – or naked? Either way, their fashion sense will be rather dated too. Okay, look I know this is a minor issue, but three billion-and-a-half people returning naked will have exacerbated the situation. Talking of which…
Half of all aeroplane pilots and passengers were dusted. Thankfully most planes have two pilots so most planes stayed in the air, only unlucky ones where both pilots were dusted and no cabin staff or passengers could fly the planes crashed. Those on ascent and descent were most at risk. Still, a lot of damage. However anyone in the air, or on boats, reappeared. The world was full of people crashing from 30,000 feet up into the ground, or drowning in the ocean. Those on double-decker buses or trains sustained minor injuries, but those then hit by traffic as they suddenly reappeared on the roads were less lucky. Basically, there was worldwide carnage right after the Hulk snapped. And for those who reappeared within objects that weren't there before – well that was just messy. A lot of people will have regretted putting in that conservatory after their husband died, only for him to reappear between the frames, sliced in half. And then for the passengers of Air Flight 151 to come smashing through the glass ceiling. Especially if they were all naked.
We learn that the whale population was returning, but that's all. Nevertheless, a reduction in half of human consumption may have been just what the planet needed. The long road to a reversal of climate change may have begun, as the use of fossil fuels will have plummeted. Alternatively, governments may have stopped addressing climate change as they suddenly felt no need. Also, a planet deprived of half its population would have had an incentive to increase its population and breeding rates may have risen, a global baby boom. Add to that a returning three-and-a-half billion people and that's an overall population of, maybe eight to nine billion now. Oh and this is just as true of other life forms on the planet, that breed to the capacity of their living area, especially with less human interference. The insect population may have recovered, in number terms at last, and has now increased by half, without the resources to sustain it. Look for even more flies, mosquitoes, maggots, everything… might be necessary with all those dead bodies caused by people returning and instantly dying. That's a lot of dead flesh to dispose of. Don't recycle all those headstones yet…
We saw one such group that Captain America was a member of, alongside Joe Russo playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first openly gay character mourning the loss of his husband five years on. There will be just as many such sessions for those returning to find their world destroyed. Captain America urged people to move on (even if he never could) but there will be three-and-a-half billion people returning (those who aren't dropped from a height hit by traffic or embedded in objects) who don't want anyone to have moved on.
All of this happening everywhere. Captain Marvel is going to be busy…