This Avengers: Endgame article contains spoilers. Not seen the movie? Check out our spoiler-free review instead.
Avengers: Endgame was loaded with Easter eggs, questions, payoffs, and an overall rewarding experience that serves as the emotional finale to many of the MCU storylines introduced so far. It was also the movie that gave us a glimpse into a terrifying future set five years from now in which the most unfortunate souls are not those who were snapped away by Thanos but those who remain on Earth and are still playing Fortnite.
We’re of course referring to the Endgame scene in which we learn that Thor has apparently spent the better part of the last five years since the Snap hanging out with Korg and Miek in his humble home atop New Asgard. Along with drinking and eating too much, this trio has apparently spent quite a bit of time playing Fortnite. We even see Thor threaten a player named noobmaster69 (accurate Fortnite player name) who has apparently harassed them in the past.
There’s a technically correct answer to the question “Why is Fortnite in Avengers: Endgame?” Not only does Fortnite feature an Avengers crossover mode that’s live right now (and is actually quite good), but the Russo brothers are apparently big Fortnite fans. It’s even been suggested that Fortnite’s inclusion in Endgame had little to do with a deal made between Epic and Marvel and is more about Russo brothers simply wanting to feature it in the film.
However, the more fascinating question isn’t “Why is Fortnite in Avengers: Endgame?” but “Why are people still playing Fortnite in the world of Endgame?”
The time-traveling shenanigans of Endgame seemingly confirm that the MCU movies occur roughly alongside our own timeline. In other words, the events of Guardians of the Galaxy happened in 2014 and Infinity War took place in 2018, the years in which these films were released. That means that when Thanos snapped half of the universe out of existence, Fortnite was still arguably the most popular game on Earth.
While most competitive online games don’t remain king of the scene for quite so long, the situation presented here is different. First off, Fortnite’s constant updates (which apparently come at the expense of its developers’ time and health) have helped it remain one of the most popular games in the world even as competitors have come and gone. Fortnite might indeed have the legs to remain popular for an extended period of time.
There are also the events of Infinity War to consider. There’s a good chance the fallout of the Snap meant that many of the world’s best game developers vanished in an instant. The developers who survived the may have been encouraged to move on to other things or otherwise found themselves in a world where various forms of entertainment were on the decline. That is seemingly supported by the shot of Citi Field, which looks so empty, bleak, and depressing that you’d almost think the Mets had just played there.
Even if those assumptions aren’t entirely accurate, it still makes sense why Thor (and seemingly many others) are still playing Fortnite in the world of Endgame. After all, the world of Endgame is one where millions and millions of people vanished in an instant. Fortnite, meanwhile, is a game where 100 players compete in order to be the last player standing. While the idea of playing a game where you are the last survivor during a time when nearly everyone who is alive seems to be dealing with a hefty dose of survivor’s guilt is a bit ironic, people sometimes do turn to morbid entertainment in order to cope with a tragedy in their lives.
That certainly seems to be part of the reason why Thor and his crew are still playing Fortnite. While his change in lifestyle might suggest that he’s no longer interested in being the hero, we see that Thor lives with regret over not being able to save half the universe by killing Thanos. A game like Fortnite offers him a low-stakes chance to prove that he is still “worthy” by being the last player standing. It also allows him to easily enforce what is left of his presence and powers on people like the largely helpless noobmaster69 (who, of course, somehow managed to survive the Snap).
So while I sincerely hope that we don’t see a future in which people are still obsessed with Fortnite five years from now, it does makes quite a bit of sense to see the glorious persona known as Lebowski Thor hanging out with his bros, throwing back a few brews, and playing Fortnite in Avengers: Endgame.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.