From Back to the Future to Bill & Ted, Avengers: Endgame references quite a few examples of time travel fiction in its opening third, mostly to explain why they don’t make sense in the context of the MCU. However, if the latest piece of speculation from Radio Times is to be believed, then the film may contain one subtle little nod that even the most attentive of sci-fi fans might’ve missed. Be warned that a few spoilers lie ahead.
Before we get into Endgame’s potential Easter Egg, it’s perhaps worth remembering the scene in Avengers: Infinity War where Peter Parker turns to dust while pleading to his mentor Tony Stark, “I don’t want to go.” While the moment hit a lot of filmgoers right where it hurts, the sequence may have proved extra painful for Doctor Who fans, who were reminded of the time when David Tennant delivered the same line right before his version of the character effectively died.
Parallel between two death scenes
But while the parallel between those two death scenes was almost certainly coincidental, the same may or may not be said about a particular line from Scott Lang in the new movie. As you’re likely aware, Endgame sees the team sneaking around various points in MCU history in order to retrieve the Infinity Stones. Paul Rudd’s character summarizes the mission as a “Time Heist,” which is an interesting choice of words, not least because it happens to be the name of a Doctor Whoepisode that aired back in 2014.
Doctor Who’s omission in the discussion is a coincidence or…?
Perhaps inevitably, the Doctor Who crossover moment comes in a segment where the Avengers are discussing their plan to travel back in time to retrieve older versions of the Infinity stones and undo Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) evil work at the end of the last movie.
In the course of this discussion, they cite several pop culture depictions of time travel including Back to the Future and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (though not Die Hard) as evidence for why the plan will work – but notably, no one name-checks Doctor Who.
Why ‘Time Heist’?
It’s a surprise omission, especially considering that the name they choose for this mission – “Time Heist,” as coined by Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man – is actually the name of a Doctor Who episode as well.
Specifically, it’s an episode from Peter Capaldi’s first series with Jenna Coleman when the pair have their memories wiped and have to break into a bank with the help of some accomplices – you remember, it’s the one with Keeley Hawes as an alien banker.
So is this just a coincidence? Well, maybe – Time Heist as an episode isn’t remembered particularly strongly by Who fans, and it’s never a phrase actually used in the script, so it seems reasonably likely that Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely independently came up with the same expression for (arguably) a more appropriate example.
On the other hand, the expression “Time Heist” is so unusual (Doctor Who is the only thing that comes up if you Google it) that for now, we can’t count out the possibility that the adventures of the Doctor and Clara inspired Avengers: Endgame in some small way – even if it was just to give Paul Rudd something funny to say.
So, was Avengers: Endgame paying tribute to another popular time travel saga, or was this just another coincidence? We’ll let you be the judge of that, but either way, it’s still a fun little connection.
Source: Radio Times