For fans who have been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last decade, the upcoming Avengers: Endgame is, to state it lightly, a really big deal.
This is the ultimate showdown. The conclusion of Phase 3. The end (presumably) of Thanos … and probably some characters we love, as well.
Watching The Avengers at a midnight screening back in 2012, I was so excited, I felt like I might throw up. I’d never had so much fun at the movies, watching characters from several great storylines join forces in one explosive film. But even then, I didn’t realize what a lasting impact the MCU would have on my life as a fangirl.
I fell into a small niche of the MCU fandom community after seeing the highly underrated Thor: The Dark World in 2013. Through Tumblr, I was able to connect with other fans who loved the blend of fantasy, mythology, and spacey sci-fi that Thor’s home of Asgard brought to the Marvel universe.
While our favorite movies/characters/ships have evolved since then, this ongoing story of superfriends is what brought us together as friends. So, in anticipation of this earth-shattering movie event, I wanted to connect with a few of my pals from the online MCU fandom community via email and talk hopes and dreams for the characters we’ve been watching for so many years now.
First, let’s meet The Friends!
Amy is a now-close friend who I met about six years ago through a shared ship I won’t name. Our first conversation involved us chatting about our dream novels that we planned to write someday, and our friendship snowballed from there. I like to joke that we started rambling at each other in messages and then just never stopped. Lately, many of our conversations have been centered around Captain Marvel, which we’ve both seen multiple times—after so many years in this fandom, we’ve both found a new favorite.
Lauren is a fanartist, writer, and walking MCU-encyclopedia. Incidentally, she’s also the only online friend I’ve met in person so far—we saw Thor: Ragnarok in 4D, which means the chairs jerk around during action scenes, and also, that at unpredictable intervals during the movie, a horrible “scent effect” sprays directly in your face. (I’ll never forget her leaning over to say, “That’s not what Norway smells like!”)
Ann, a fellow fanfiction enthusiast, stands out to me as sort of a fandom “angel,” since she’s one of the kindest people I’ve interacted with on Tumblr. She regularly goes above and beyond to help newcomers feel welcome and support fellow fans’ creative works by leaving encouraging comments—in addition to crafting her own amazing stories.
To start things off, I asked them to share their favorite memories of the MCU fandom.
Amy: “The MCU fandom completely 100% shaped my online experience. Shipping [redacted] years ago really opened me up to an online community and even rooted me with someone who is now one of my closest friends (shout-out to you, Alicia!). Interacting with other shippers and Loki fans was the first time that I put something onto the internet and got a lot of feedback. I really felt like I was interacting with a community and it brought a lot of positivity into my life … I loved all the creative energy I shared with the friends I made online during that time. Just being a part of a community that unashamedly loved these characters really helped me cope with other things going on in my life. Now anything Thor-related puts me into a happy place.”
Lauren: “I joined Tumblr in 2012 with the first Avengers,and I don’t go a day without checking in on it since. I’ve gained lots of followers and friends I talk to regularly from there. Since I’m based in NYC, I’m lucky insofar as people tend to eventually come here to visit, and I’ve met several fellow fans in real life that way! Most of the fanart I do now comes from the MCU. And, of course, I started running It’s Always Sunny in Asgard in 2012 and I usually get real into posting there around the time new Sunny seasons happen. So, consequently, I watch the MCU through the lens of that gang and vice versa. Which is weird, I’ll admit. In my close friends circle, we have a group chat of like seven people exclusively for MCU trailers and updates but most importantly ticket buying. So whenever that chat blows up, I know SOMETHING is happening.”
Ann: “The MCU has been the core of my online engagement since 2011. For me, that encompasses my last year of undergrad, grad school, and all of my young adult life (I turned 30 this past summer). Over that time, I’ve made some really strong friendships. In fact, one of my MCU friends is planning on flying across the country to attend my wedding this summer! I feel lucky to have found a little corner of fandom that all shipped the same not-too-popular ship, that meant you really started to recognize and get to know each other. Now, there’s these 20 or 30 people that I’m really rooting for and have immense fondness for, all because of these movies and characters.”
Now, the big question: What does each of us want to see happen in Endgame?
Amy: “After seeing Captain Marvel, I’m really pumped to see Carol’s introduction to the rest of the Avengers and how she’s going to interact with all of them. My absolute wildest dreams for this movie involve Carol kicking Thanos’s purple ass, then swooping up Valkyrie into her arms and carrying her bridal style off into the sunset, while Thor cheers them on in the background. It’s very specific, but I know what I want.”
(Note: I’d like to point out that Amy sent me this response well before this amazing fanart went viral, and also that both she and the fanartist are 1000% correct on this topic.)
Lauren: “WILDEST dreams for this movie might be a big swing at new MCU introductions—like the Fantastic Four being hinted at or something. But I don’t want that at the cost of losing time with the original team. Meanwhile, all my other hopes seem like moot points with the Disney+ streaming announcements making it look like everyone I cared about who’s dead will be around in some form after all …
I think my biggest wishlist item for the Avengers as we know them is for Thor to just be happy again. The last two movies he’s been through have just been brutal for taking shit away from him! Introducing him to fellow space-sparkler Carol Danvers is a start. The fact that Loki is getting a TV show makes me extremely hopeful for a time-travel-shenanigans brotherly reunion. Bringing Valkyrie back into his life as well would be the best.”
Ann: “It seems likely that this movie will be a wrap-up of and possible send-off to the many of the original Avengers, so I am hoping that all of our old favorites get a satisfactory ending to their 10 year arc and pass on the mantle to the next generation. Mostly, I’m just looking for a good story, plain and simple. Whatever that may be! (But really, let Thor be happy!)”
Alicia (me): I have to say, I’m loving that so many of us agree that seeing Valkyrie and Captain Marvel team up would be a highlight of this movie! And now that Valkyrie is confirmed to be in this movie (!!!), thanks to the character posters, this idea doesn’t feel too far-fetched. I also agree with Ann’s sentiment about just wanting a good story—most of all, I hope that Endgame lands as one of the strongest MCU films to date and a satisfying culmination for more than 10 years of movies.
One thing remains certain: Whatever happens in this movie, and whether or not I’m happy about it, I’ll always be grateful to this fandom and the lasting friendships I’ve formed with my fellow fangirls. While the MCU fandom isn’t the only way I’ve met awesome people online, there’s just something about geeking out over superhero movies with people who get it. (Special shout-out to Amy, Lauren, and Ann for answering my questions!)