'Agents of SHIELD' Season 7 Episode 1 sneak peek clears up confusion over the MCU's time travel rules
Time travel has always been a bit of a headache for writers. On the one hand, it makes for some interesting stories but on the other hand, figuring out the physics behind it is a task that usually takes hours if not years of research.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe already established some ground rules for time-travel in 'Avengers: Endgame' where it was revealed that traveling back in time doesn't change the present because you're technically moving into a parallel universe. However, when it was announced that 'Agents of SHIELD' Season 7 would also be dabbling in time travel, things got a bit more confusing.
In the show's final season, the team will be traveling to the 1930s to stop an invasion by alien cyborgs known as Chronicoms. The confusion arose because according to the rules set in 'Endgame', stopping the invasion (or failing to stop it) shouldn't make a difference to the present but a sneak peek from the season's first episode neatly solves that problem.
In the clip, we see Daisy Johnson (played by Chloe Bennet), Alphonso 'Mack' Mackenzie (Henry Simmons), Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) and Phil Coulson's alien robot double (Clark Gregg) walking through the streets of New York in the past, mostly marveling at the wonder of seeing the past. Mack and Daisy get a bit worried about the butterfly effect and how their presence in the past might have already changed the future but Deke puts their fears to rest (mostly) by explaining how the time stream works.
Basically, if you make small changes in the past, it won't affect the future but a big change like an alien invasion or the theft of an Infinity Stone would create a "dam" and divert the path of the timestream. This is more or less the same as what the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) tells Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in 'Endgame' and it establishes that even though 'Agents of SHIELD' doesn't always play close to the movies, the rules of the game are still the same.
Of course, just because the team knows how time travel works doesn't mean they might not mess things up. Whether they save the future or "dam" it is something we'll just have to wait and see.
'Agents of SHIELD' Season 7 Episode 1 'The New Deal' will premiere on ABC on May 27 at 10 pm ET.