What is now known as “The Infinity Saga,” the culmination of 22 separate films, had an ending unlike anything we’ve seen before. The appropriately titled “Avengers: Endgame” showed our favorite heroes battling the final, inevitable villain after losing to him one movie earlier in “Avengers: Infinity War.” The finale of “Infinity War,” especially, came as a shock to many fans, as it isn’t often we see superheroes losing the final battle.

Once all was said and done, however, eagle-eyed fans watched and rewatched the entire saga all over again, noticing new things they hadn’t before--things that suggested there was always a plan from the beginning. It turns out there have been several moments throughout the years where Marvel foreshadowed the events of “Endgame” and “Infinity War.”

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen either of those movies.

Tony Stark’s Sacrifice

Whether they originally intended to or not, (especially since the line was improvised, according to Screen Rant) they foreshadowed the moment of Thanos’ defeat in the very first Marvel outing. They bookended the entire saga with the phrase “I am Iron Man,” both at the end of the first “Iron Man” movie and in the final moments of “Endgame.”

What’s great about these are the vastly different contexts of these two instances. In “Iron Man,” Tony Stark cannot resist the publicity he’d get the moment he declares that he’s Iron Man, so he decides to risk the safety of himself and his loved ones.

Avengers Endgame home release dates
Captain America and Iron Man are pictured in a scene from "Avengers: End Game." Marvel Studios

The second and last time he says those words, he’s holding the Infinity Gauntlet, about to snap his fingers and sacrifice himself to save everyone. As pointed out by Captain America, Iron Man is a character who never knew the first thing about sacrifice in the first “Avengers” movie. The natural completion of this character’s story arc would now imply some kind of sacrifice, but fans never expected Stark to sacrifice himself to save the entire universe.

Steve Rogers Owed Peggy Carter a Dance

In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the titular hero meets and falls in love with Agent Peggy Carter. In the final moments of that film, Captain America is about to sacrifice himself to save the world when he tells Carter he needs a “raincheck on that dance.” They talk about meeting up in a week, where Carter will teach him how.

Captain America lamented about still owing her a dance in a post-credit scene, but it all comes to fruition in the very last frames of “Endgame,” where Rogers had successfully traveled back in time to fulfill his promise.

If the nickname “Man Out of Time” wasn’t a hint enough that he’d be time-traveling back to the 40s, the locket he carried with him throughout every movie containing a picture of Agent Carter was nearly proof it would happen that way, especially with the later introduction of “time vortexes” in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

The Infinity Stones Have Been There The Whole Time

The first “Captain America” movie also introduced us to the first Infinity Stone. The only thing was, nobody knew it was an Infinity Stone until later. The “tesseract,” as it was called, was a bit of a Dukov’s Gun for the entire saga, as it weaved its way in and out of the narrative before popping up in the opening scene of “Infinity War,” as the inciting incident of Thanos stealing it from Loki.

“Iron Man 2” actually showed the Tesseract in Howard Stark’s files, planning out the new element that will save Stark from his arc reactor blood poisoning. This new element happens to be derived from the Tesseract itself and it’s what literally saved Tony Stark’s life.

“Thor: The Dark World” introduced us to the Aether, a red gooey substance that corrupts everything it touches, skewing it into darkness. Neither the Cosmic Cube nor the Aether were described as “infinity stones,” despite them being massively important plot details. Meanwhile, Loki had been carrying around a staff that controlled the minds of those it touched.

In 2014, both “Avengers, Age of Ultron” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” came out and flat out showed us and name-dropped the Infinity Stones, including the Aether, Tesseract, and the mind-stone in Loki’s staff, telling fans that they’ve been watching “The Infinity Gauntlet” storyline the entire time and it was dangling right in front of their noses.

Tony Stark Had Visions of “Endgame” Playing Out

Speaking of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Mirror pointed out a rather obvious foreshadow no one thought twice about. When Stark entered the facility to retrieve Loki’s staff, Wanda Maximoff made her first appearance and put visions inside Starks’s head.

The vision showed a desolate, destroyed battlefield with Chitauri aliens and Leviathans roaming freely over The Avengers dead bodies. The visions didn’t stop there, though.

Stark mentioned having visions several times during the saga, waiting for whatever is “out there” to come back and finish the job. He knew that whoever controlled the Chitauri aliens would eventually return. During “Infinity War,” upon hearing the name “Thanos,” he knew that this is the moment his visions were telling him about. “This is it,” he said quietly to himself. Sure enough, “Infinity War” showed the Avengers losing for the first time. The final battle in “Endgame” also very eerily resembled Stark’s visions.

The Word “Endgame”

Digital Spy documented the times the word “Endgame” was used throughout the saga. Apparently, it was used as early as 2015, during “Age of Ultron.” While still emotionally traumatized from the Battle of New York, Stark references the alien invasion: “That up there. That’s the endgame.”

This statement was said without Tony realizing the original invasion was secretly orchestrated by Thanos to retrieve the Infinity Stones. Fans watching “Age of Ultron” similarly had no idea. Yet, the word “endgame” appeared one more time.

Doctor Strange used the word after their battle with Thanos on Titan after he gave up the time stone to spare Stark. “Endgame” also refers to the final act of a chess match, where sometimes a player will sacrifice certain pieces to protect the queen. Ultimately, that was Doctor Strange’s plan. He knew that the only thing that could save the universe was the man who coined the word in 2015, Tony Stark.

This circles back to Tony Stark’s ultimate sacrifice. Doctor Strange viewed over 14 million potentialities and determined that the Avengers only win one. During “Endgame,” Doctor Strange looked at Iron Man, held up one finger and Stark instantly knew what to do--sacrifice himself to save the universe.

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