After more than a decade of awesome blockbuster filmmaking, the first major era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come to an end. Years were spent designing the ultimate big screen battle between the Avengers and Thanos for the Infinity Saga, and while we don’t have a full idea of what to expect in the future of the franchise given the brand’s famed secrecy, a new era is now beginning that will see the launch of a whole new massive storyline and a collection of brand new characters. That being said, if you think that the comic book world is totally moving past the events of Avengers: Endgame as things move forward into the MCU’s Phase 4, you’re totally off base.

As much as Marvel Studios may now be looking toward the future instead of the past, there are certain consequences that extend from the massive 2019 blockbuster that should continue to impact the franchise for a long time. Looking back on the film and keeping in mind the various projects that have been announced for Phase 4 and Phase 5, here are five key ways that Avengers: Endgame will continue to influence the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come.

Future Marvel movies are going to be set in the future

One of the more confusing aspects about the first run of Marvel Studios films was trying to determine the exact nature of the franchise’s timeline. While the majority of the movies were eventually figured to be set in the year in which they were released, there were a selection of titles that fit into odd places (like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being in theaters three years after the first movie, but only being set a few months later). Now, thanks to Avengers: Endgame, that’s going to be an element of all Marvel stories going forward, as the plot on the whole has been moved five years into the future.

The five-year time jump was one of the more shocking elements of Avengers: Endgame, with the story pushed ahead to 2023, and with the exception of prequel movies (like Black Widow) that’s an aspect of the blockbuster that is going to impact events for years to come. Obviously it will be up to each production to determine how influential it will be, and how the setting will be approached, but regardless it will be an odd thing to know that most of the stories we see unfold going forward will be set slightly in the future instead of in the present.

Half of the population of the universe has spent five years without the other half

Not only is it strange that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has moved into the future, it’s even more bizarre to think that half of the population basically had the exact same experience of time as the audience watching Avengers: Endgame. As illustrated in Spider-Man: Far From Home, one side effect of The Blip is the fact that a lot people on Earth simply didn’t experience a considerable amount of time (five years to be exact), and meanwhile everyone else was forced to age and move on without them. And there’s absolutely no way that that’s not something that is going to have a lasting impact on the psychology of characters and their interpersonal relationships.

As seen in Avengers: Endgame, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye had a total mental breakdown following the “death” of his family, so how does he come back from that? Scott Lang a.k.a. Ant-Man missed out on key years watching his daughter Cassie grow up, so will that disrupt the bond that he has with her? And how did the arrival of Wakanda on the world stage go with T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther existing for years as a pile of dust? There are a lot of key questions still lingering as a result of 2019’s blockbuster that will continue to linger for quite a while.

The world lost one of its greatest minds with the death of Tony Stark

In case you didn’t realize it, Tony Stark was kind of a big deal. He may have been best known for inventing a suit that revolutionized modern warfare, but his reach extended well beyond that. For better or for worse, he made great strides in clean energy, made serious changes to propulsion technology, co-created the most advanced artificial intelligence ever, and even perfected time travel. His existence changed the world in many ways, and not having his brain around following his death in Avengers: Endgame is going to change things.

We’ve already seen some of the emotional fallout from Iron Man’s sacrifice in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but it’s quite possible that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue to change in significant ways without Tony Stark. The void his death leaves likely means that a person or multiple persons are going to have to step up and take his place on the main stage, and that’s going to change things. As smart as Shuri and Peter Parker are, they are also both young, and geniuses like Bruce Banner and Stephen Strange have their own individual ways of going about things. It’s not quite clear just yet what a post-Iron Man Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like yet, but it will ultimately be a big part of Avengers: Endgame’s legacy.

Upstate New York is destroyed, and who are the Avengers now?

Having access to unused S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities in upstate New York, Tony Stark didn’t have to think for a long time before finding a proper headquarters for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – but you may remember that the place wasn't exactly in the best condition at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The war between the titular good guys and Thanos’ army took place on top of the destroyed remains of the base, and the grounds were left razed by the conflict. And with nothing instantly fixed by the end of the blockbuster, one is left wondering what exactly the future holds for the Avengers.

Following the end of the Infinity Saga, there is no more Avengers facility and no more core team… so what happens next? Are certain heroes going to take up the responsibility of reforming the team and rebuilding the training center? Will the in-universe “brand” die and make way for something new? At present this aspect of the future is unclear, but it is a situation created by Avengers: Endgame that the franchise will eventually have to reckon with.

It will be a long time before we see another Marvel movie the size of Avengers: Endgame

Jumping from in-world consequences to the bigger picture, the creation of Avengers: Endgame was something that was totally unprecedented in the film world, and took an incredible amount of time and effort to create. The blockbuster simply would never have had the kind of impact that it did had it not been so meticulously built up over the course of a decade-plus, and the result is remarkable in just how satisfying it is. It’s a big screen marvel that will be remembered forever… but that also means that it’s going to probably be a long time before we see anything like it again.

With the launch of Phase 4, the metaphorical clock on the Marvel Cinematic Universe is restarting, and while, as discussed here, there are still many consequences in the fallout of the fifth crossover blockbuster that need to be addressed, things are likely going to stay a bit small for the foreseeable future. The world in the film will need a spell to pick up the pieces from the explosive events that transpired last year, and that’s why it makes sense that there isn’t currently an Avengers title on the schedule. Time will tell when things will be ready to start ramping up again, but until then the franchise will exist in a kind of post-Avengers: Endgame atmosphere.

Can you see other major ways that the consequences of Avengers: Endgame will continue to reverberate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come? Hit the comments section with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates about the future of the massive superhero franchise.