(This post contains a spoiler of monumental proportions for “Avengers: Endgame”)
“Avengers: Endgame” is full of callbacks to previous Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
We here at TheWrap have already identified the kid at Tony Stark’s funeral, pondered the whereabouts of Loki and the Tesseract, and explained the film’s complex time travel rules.
Amongst all the dialogue spoken in the three-hour film, there’s a line that is repeated by two important characters. Some fans believe that because it’s said twice, it must have a special meaning. We break down their theory:
One of the most endearing relationships in the film is between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and his young daughter, Morgan (Alexandra Rachael Rabe). Morgan was born after Thanos snapped half of the universe’s population into dust, and she is the main reason Tony is hesitant to undo what the mad Titan has done.
Also Read: 'Avengers: Endgame': Let's Talk About That Girl Power Moment
Realizing that the Avengers have a chance to uh … avenge … “the fallen,” Tony decides to join his former teammates in their time-traveling takedown of Thanos.
Before he departs, Morgan tells her father, “I love you 3,000.” She doesn’t say, “I love you a lot.” Or “I love you a million” or any other number that would make more sense coming from a young child. She specifically says “3,000.”
At his funeral, Tony echoes that figure in his pre-recorded farewell message, saying, “That’s the hero gig. Part of the journey is the end.” He ends by looking at Morgan (and the audience) and says, “I love you 3,000.”
Also Read: 'Avengers: Endgame' - We Need to Talk About This Black Widow Situation
So what is the significance of the number? Internet sleuths may have figured it out. Take a look below:
Look at the total run time for all the MCU movies. “I love you 3000”. Can’t cope… #AvengersEndgame pic.twitter.com/A6nj6bGaNd
— Ash (@AshBoio) May 2, 2019
If you add up the total running time of all 22 released films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” it equals 3,000 minutes. We doublechecked the runtimes of the films, and aside from some very minor discrepancies, the math adds up. We have to assume July’s “Far From Home” — which Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige called the end of Phase 3 — is 129 minutes, but for the sake of a meme, why not?
Unfortunately, while we love a good internet meme, the line has a much simpler origin, albeit just as touching.
Also Read: 'Avengers: Endgame' - That Last Scene Makes No Sense
“Endgame” screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed on Thursday that “I love you 3,000” is something Downey Jr.’s real-life children say to the actor, and they added the line to the script as a nod to the star. The original line was supposed to be, “I love you tons,” McFeely revealed.
Either way, it’s fitting Downey delivers such a heartfelt farewell since “Iron Man” kicked off the franchise, his character appears in more MCU films than any other character aside from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and he heroically gives his life to save the universe in “Endgame.”