Warning: The following article contains spoilers from the movies Avengers: Infinity Wars, Avengers: Endgame, and Spiderman: Far From Home.
In light of the latest Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was released a few weeks back, let’s take a trip down memory lane and reflect on the biggest, life-changing event which took place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—The Blip.
The Blip was caused by Thanos, who utilised the power of Infinity Stones while he snapped his fingers in 2018. This wiped out half of not just earth’s but the entire universe’s population, where across all planets and galaxies individuals turned into dust. Everyone who was wiped out in this event was restored five years later in 2023; after recovering Infinity Stones from different periods of time, Bruce Banner used their power and snapped his fingers to bring the victims of the Blip back.
Despite the Marvel Universe being very much fictional, it’s interesting to wonder how the Blip would affect our world as we know it.
In the movie Avengers: Endgame (2019), everyone who ‘died’ in the Blip was able to be brought back once Tony Stark, Iron Man, snapped his fingers while wearing the gauntlet with the Infinity Stones. People such as Hawkeye were able to be reunited with their family and the world went back to healing.
The TV series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) does briefly touch upon issues the world would face. One notable example would be the founding of the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) to help displaced victims of the Blip. A National Blip Support Hotline was established to assist victims of the Blip in America. A more light-hearted aspect would be the creation of Blip Sync, a dating service that exclusively helps Blip victims go on dates with other Blip victims.
Any awkwardness on the first date might be assuaged by already sharing the experience of missing five years on Earth in less than a second.
Possible Dangers, Accidents & Deaths
One major question was what would happen to those who were blipped and would be in danger when they returned. People who were on aeroplanes or boats would not be in a great situation. This was answered by Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel studios. On Reddit, Feige answered a fan’s question and clarified that people in such situations would have been brought back to a safe place.
While there are countless problems that would occur with half the population disappearing and then reappearing, at least that one issue is cleared up. However, something that hasn’t been explored would be the people who died because of the Blip. As in, really really died because of the Blip.
In the immediate aftermath of the Blip, it’s not difficult to imagine that would occur on the roads alone. In fact, we can get a glimpse of this in the post credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War (2018); the van that Maria Hill and Nick Fury were in suddenly crashes into an out-of-control van that swerved into their way due to the driver being dusted.
Although Maria Hill and Nick Fury are uninjured from the crash—albeit dusted themselves a few moments later—that would not be the same for everyone on the road. People who weren’t meant to be blipped could very well lose their lives in car accidents. And unlike those who blipped, their passing would be permanent.
What would it be like to lose someone in these tragic accidents indirectly caused by the Blip, and five years later, witness other people reunite with their loved ones who were Blipped?
There are countless other scenarios one could conjure up in this case: fatal car crashes, crashing planes of people when pilots were dusted, unattended gas stoves… The list goes on and so does the privilege to vent the discontentment at multi-million-dollar movie franchises. Correction, multi-billion-dollar movie franchises with varying estimates depending on the source you use.
Grief, Mourning & Awkward Reunions
In my opinion, another thing that has not been addressed enough would be the grief and mourning of those left behind in the five years the Blip victims were gone.
There is no denying that victims of the Blip would experience a difficult time. What with being five years behind other people, blipped students having to repeat a year while which may lead to an interesting chain of incidents or being potentially absent for the passing of loved ones…
However, despite the Blipped returning, the period of five years of grief and mourning would be very real. This could cause a disconnect between the Blipped who returned and their loved ones, both having experiences that are ultimately so different and alike in their tragedy.
Reunions would be bittersweet, and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) illustrates this clearly as the film briefly touches on the after-effects of the Blip. This movie takes place after Endgame and begins with a news broadcast by Peter Parker’s school, Midtown High, that pays tribute to the fallen Avengers: Ironman, Captain America, Black Widow and Vision. This broadcast also included additional updates regarding the students who were affected by the consequences of the Blip. Peter Parker would be one of those students, who found it difficult to adjust back to his regular life in high school.
Students including him did not age during the Blip and were required to restart the school year, although they were nearing the end of their school year. Reunions can be described as awkward as former classmates have surpassed the blipped students in terms of age, while younger students are now in the same grade as the blipped. There is a scene in Far From Home where Peter’s junior, Brad Davis, is now the same age as him, and Peter is in disbelief at the changes that Brad had undergone physically.
Not only does he have to deal with the change of his classmates, but being swarmed with questions from reporters places a sense of pressure on him as the press queries him about being the next leader of the Avengers. Whilst he experiences this pressure to fulfill Iron Man’s role, it is evident that he still has an internal struggle within him: the fact that he hasn’t been able to grieve for the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark, who sacrificed himself to get rid of Thanos for good.
Though what Peter had undergone was still a tragic experience, these are merely consequences felt on an individual scale. Since the Blip is said to snap away half of the entire population on Earth, those affected are not limited to the Avengers and their loved ones. We cannot disregard the rest of the world population, who would likely feel the disastrous effects of the Blip. Thus, it is safe to say that the Blip can be considered a global catastrophe—affecting the masses.
Imagine the world functioning with a certain amount of population, and all of a sudden, half of the world population who had been wiped off the face of Earth, reappears after 5 years. There would definitely be severe inconveniences caused in terms of a lack of resources. The amount of food supply available may not be sufficient to cater to an additional 50% of human life. Food may end up being a limited and scarce resource, escalating the issue of food insecurity.
Furthermore, those who reappear after the Blip may find themselves homeless as their homes have been sold off to other families due to them being vacant.
A clear example of this would be such as Peter Parker’s aunt, Maybelle “May” Parker, who was one of those who disappeared during the Blip. During a conference at the beginning of Far From Home, she explains her return back to Earth, where she finds that there was already a family living at her old place, and a misunderstanding occurred as the wife of the house thought that she was a possible mistress.
People directly affected by the Blip now have to readjust to a new normal, and try to find their footing in the midst of these inconveniences.
How About Those Unaware of The Blip?
Without downplaying the grief felt by those directly involved with or are aware of the Blip, it can be deduced that these people may not have it as worse compared to others. At the bare minimum, they at least are aware of the reason behind the disappearance of their loved ones, and can take further action by coming up with solutions to best rectify the situation.
Now, imagine an individual, living in a country which may be oblivious to the existence of the Avengers. Imagine their family, friends or loved ones disappearing out of thin air—without any reason to justify their disappearance. Not only do they have to deal with losing their loved ones unexpectedly, but they would experience added hysteria—scrambling to figure out possible reasons as to why those near and dear to them have disappeared.
One cannot begin to comprehend the extent of the grief that these individuals have to deal with; feelings of loss and hopelessness would consume them for the next five years with no knowledge whatsoever of when, or if, they can reunite with their loved ones.
Guilt and Responsibility
While grief is experienced by the rest of the world, it is not the only emotion felt by those in the MCU. Feelings of guilt also arise amongst the Avengers due to their incapacity to put a stop to the Blip, affecting millions of innocent lives. “With great power comes great responsibility,” is a popular adage by Stan Lee commonly featured in Marvel’s Spider-Man movies. In the case of the Avengers, they were tasked with the utmost responsibility to deter Thanos from snapping his fingers, with the help of their power, or superhuman abilities that they possess.
In the final moments of Infinity War, the Avengers were actually achingly close to preventing the daunting five-year Blip, but to no avail. As Thor struck Thanos with a heavy blow, significantly injuring the giant purple tyrant, Thanos uses the power of the Infinity Gauntlet by snapping his fingers, and promptly teleports away, resulting in the disappearance of half of the world population. To have the enemy weak and within arms reach, but failing to obliterate him would have definitely taken a huge toll, especially on characters such as Thor.
Thor did not process this guilt within him with ease. He completely let himself go in Endgame developing an overweight physique and drinking his problems away, which are commonly experienced when one deals with feelings of grief and guilt.
With a heavy sense of responsibility resting upon his shoulders, it is no surprise that Thor spiraled out of control and lost his self-worth. This is likely due to the fact that he felt that he failed to fulfill his duty as a savior of the world. Countless lives were lost for a period of time, or permanently, and Thor had to live with the mere fact that his incapability has cost the lives of many, many people—a sentiment presumably shared with the other remaining Avengers.
Although the majority of the characters return to the big screen after the defeat of Thanos, nothing can soothe the years of pain, anguish and mourning experienced by those who were blipped and those who were left behind on Earth for the five years. As discussed in the article, the Blip has been proven to bring about detrimental, lost-lasting consequences to the wellbeing of all parties involved. If there’s one thing readers can take away from this distressing event, it would be that people can be ‘snapped’ away at any moment from our lives, just like that, and it is up to us to be appreciative of those around us as long as they are still with us.
Written by: Zhen Yi and Merissa