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Endgame director reveals how film affects Spider-Man: Far From Home

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

With Avengers: Endgame, the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has forever changed. Final goodbyes were said, new heroes were teased, and characters fans have loved for years underwent transformations both physical and emotional in nature. The question on everyone's mind post-Endgame is simple: What's coming next, and how will characters move on from here? Viewers will soon learn the answer, when Endgame's direct MCU successor Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters in July. The Spidey sequel will feel the direct effects of the superhero ensemble — and Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo has revealed what that impact will entail. 

Speaking with Entertainment WeeklyRusso began by touching on one of the closing scenes of Avengers: Endgame that saw Peter Parker (Tom Holland) return to his high school, the Midtown School of Science and Technology, and reunite with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon). We all know that Peter fell away to dust when Thanos snapped his fingers at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, coming back to life in Endgame five years after the fact. One would presume that the majority of Peter classmates survived the Snap, completed high school, and entered adulthood — including Ned. 

So what gives? Will Spider-Man: Far From Home even address the half-decade that passed in the real world while billions of souls were stuck in limbo after getting dusted? Or is the movie actually set before Endgame and Infinity War, and what Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige previously said about the film's time setting is totally untrue?

Well, Russo detailed a way around all of this confusion. He explained that the reunion between Peter and Ned was possible because Ned was also a victim of the Decimation, returning to the side of the living in the year 2023. 

"So… Ned disappeared as well. That's the two of them seeing each other for the first time after having disappeared," Russo said. 

He also noted that there could be students who went to high school with Peter and Ned pre-dusting in 2018 "who are much older than them and no longer in high school." Peter and Ned both vanished and returned in the same moment in 2023 — but just because half the population was obliterated in the Decimation "doesn't mean that everyone that they went to high school with didn't disappear," Russo said. 

Russo comments here suggest that all of Peter's pals — like M.J. (Zendaya), Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori), and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) — were dusted and flashed back to life five years later. This would explain why the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer shows them having not aged, and would allow them to stay in the same grade in high school and take the summer trip to Europe that the sequel pic centers on. While they were no longer in existence, the people who did survive the Snap continued life as normally as they could, graduating and going to college and getting jobs. It's likely that these characters, the ones Thanos didn't decimate, never had strong connections to Spider-Man's story and wouldn't affect Far From Home in any way if they were absent.

There is one exception, though: Liz, played by Laura Harrier. Peter's love interest and homecoming date in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Liz was a senior when Peter was a sophomore in that film. After Liz's father, Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keaton), is arrested at the end of Homecoming, she leaves Midtown High and moves away to Oregon. Liz's change in location could be the reason why she wasn't seen in the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, but the more likely explanation is that she survived the Snap and is already a year out of college by the time Peter returns in 2023. Even if she did get dusted, Liz was in her final year of high school during Homecoming and wound up in a completely different state by the end of the movie. It seems there's no logical way she could come back for Far From Home, at least not in the same capacity that she was in Homecoming

Another character who was an important part of Peter's life who is missing from Far From Home? Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Peter's mentor and father figure who sacrificed his life to save the universe in the final moments of Avengers: Endgame. Just as Tony watched Peter crumble to dust in Infinity War, Peter witnessed Tony take his final breath in Endgame. Without his role model giving him advice when he asks for it and tough love when he needs it, Peter will probably be experiencing a lot of heavy emotion throughout Far From Home — and when trouble strikes in Europe as we've seen in the film's trailer, Spidey will have to trust his own instincts and intuition without the wisdom of Iron Man to guide him. 

But he might find a new adviser in Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who tells Peter it's "nice to finally meet" him in the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. As EW notes, some have wondered whether Fury's remark hints that Far From Home turns back time to before Infinity War, given that he and Peter presumably already met at Tony's funeral and Fury would have figured out Peter's superhero identity then and there. However, considering how sneaky Marvel has been with trailer editing in the past, this bit of dialogue was probably altered to purposely confuse fans. 

Peter could even look to Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) as a new father figure in Far From Home, which would be a refreshing change of pace after how snarky Stark's close pal was toward Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Heck, the upcoming film might see Happy become a member of the Parker family, as the trailer teased a romantic relationship between Happy and Peter's Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). 

Outside of Peter Parker's personal bubble, Spider-Man: Far From Home will undoubtedly explore how the rest of the world is dealing with the dusted suddenly reassembling five years later. There should be plenty of room for silly moments (like people learning about new technology, slang, and restaurants that are all the rage) as well as more serious ones (like people discovering news years after the fact, or dealing with deaths that happened while they were still snapped) for the film to work through. 

Though Avengers: Endgame was the culmination of 11 years of Marvel movies, Spider-Man: Far From Home acts as the final chapter of Phase 3 and the end of the Infinity Saga. Even if we don't have the keys to all the MCU mysteries moving ahead, we know that Far From Home will tie up as many tiny threads Endgame left hanging as it possibly can. 

Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters July 5.