The Blip (also known as the Decimation and colloquially as the Snap) was a major event depicted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise in which half of all life in the universe was exterminated by Thanos snapping his fingers while wielding the Infinity Stones, and then restored five years later by Bruce Banner using Infinity Stones recovered from different time periods. "The Blip" appears to refer to the entire event, including the elimination and restoration of the victims. The Blip manifested in the form of the mass disintegration of individual beings into dust, while the reversal had the same dust reforming into the previously deceased individuals, who mostly reappeared in the same location with no direct awareness of what occurred.
As of 2021[update], aspects of the Blip have been featured in Phase Three and Four of the MCU across various media, including Avengers: Infinity War (the first depiction), Ant-Man and the Wasp (post-credits), Captain Marvel (post-credits), Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, WandaVision, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The consequences of the Blip were substantial and far-reaching. Some were portrayed for comic effect, such as "blipped" school band members reappearing in the middle of a basketball game, and "blipped" characters now being years younger than their own "unblipped" previously younger siblings. Others were portrayed for dramatic effect, such as blipped characters returning to general chaos and confusion, finding that loved ones had died in their absence, and facing an uncertain future. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige viewed the inclusion of the Blip as a major crux in the MCU timeline, similar to how the Battle of New York in the third act of The Avengers would go on to be referenced as a pivotal event in multiple MCU media.
The Blip inspired the creation of a real-world event on the website Reddit, in which a randomly-selected half of the members of a highly popular subreddit would be banned, simulating the effects of the Blip. The ban of over 300,000 accounts, which included Avengers: Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo, was the largest in Reddit's history. The Blip, as an event within the MCU, has been compared to the COVID-19 pandemic in the real world, as an event that has a sustained effect on people all over the world.
Following the release of Avengers: Infinity War, the event was dubbed by fans as "the Snap" or "the Snappening". In the tie-in novel Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by Brandon T. Snider, the event was referred to as "the Decimation", but this naming was not used in any other related media. The event was referred to as "the Blip" in Spider-Man: Far From Home, but Kevin Feige later clarified that "the Snap" referred to Thanos' finger snap in Avengers: Infinity War while "the Blip" referred to Bruce Banner's finger snap in Avengers: Endgame. Despite Feige's comments, both events were collectively referred to as "the Blip" in WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the term also appears to reference the five-year gap between the two snaps during which half of Earth's population were wiped from existence.
Known victims and survivors
- Bucky Barnes
- Cooper Barton
- Laura Barton
- Lila Barton
- Nathaniel Barton
- Betty Brant
- Jane Foster
- Nick Fury
- Maria Hill
- Jason Ionello
- Ned Leeds
- Wanda Maximoff
- Wilfred Nagel
- May Parker
- Peter Parker
- Hank Pym
- Peter Quill
- Monica Rambeau
- Betty Ross
- Thaddeus Ross
- Erik Selvig
- Stephen Strange
- Flash Thompson
- Hope van Dyne
- Janet van Dyne
- Sam Wilson
Those known to have survived the Blip include:
- Bruce Banner
- Clint Barton
- Sharon Carter[a]
- Carol Danvers
- Brad Davis
- Roger Harrington
- Tyler Hayward
- Happy Hogan
- Howard the Duck
- Cassie Lang
- Scott Lang[b]
- Karli Morgenthau
- Pepper Potts
- Maria Rambeau
- James Rhodes
- Steve Rogers
- Natasha Romanoff
- Tony Stark
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos obtains the six Infinity Stones contained within a gauntlet built by Eitri, so that he can snap his fingers and eliminate half of all life in the universe, which he believes will bring a balance that will prevent greater catastrophes from fighting over resources. The Blip occurs at the end of the film in Wakanda, where numerous characters are blipped, including Bucky Barnes, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Wanda Maximoff, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, T'Challa, Sam Wilson, Peter Quill, Groot, Drax and Mantis. The Russo brothers also revealed that, despite not appearing in Infinity War, Betty Ross and Sif were blipped as well.
In a mid-credits scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne, and Janet Van Dyne are blipped, leaving Scott Lang stranded in the Quantum Realm. In a subsequent post-credits scene, a nationwide broadcast of the Emergency Alert System is shown on a television in Lang's home. In a post-credits scene of Captain Marvel, the Avengers are surveying reports of worldwide population losses at the Avengers compound, when Carol Danvers abruptly appears, having received a distress signal from Fury that he sent through a pager before he blipped.
In Avengers: Endgame, Clint Barton's family, Erik Selvig, Shuri and Jane Foster are confirmed to have been blipped, with Sharon Carter also listed as blipped. Some of the surviving heroes travel to the planet to which Thanos has retired to attempt to recover the Infinity Stones and undo the Blip, only to learn that Thanos had destroyed the Stones to ensure that the Blip cannot be undone. Five years later, and effects of the disappearances are explored, with many characters having experiences derived from the event. For example, Barton is distraught at the loss of his family, and becomes a rogue warrior, travelling the world to massacre organized crime figures involved in the drug trade and child trafficking. Steve Rogers leads a support group for those dealing with the loss of loved ones in the Blip. Thor, who blames himself for failing to kill Thanos before the initial snap, becomes an out-of-shape alcoholic. Urban decay is apparent in cities such as New York City and San Francisco. Carol Danvers tells the Avengers that the chaos happening on Earth is also occurring on other planets throughout the cosmos. In 2023, Scott Lang is freed from the quantum realm, having only experienced five hours instead of years. He comes across a memorial park listing names of the vanished, including his own name. He finds his daughter, who had been a little girl when he last saw her, and is now a teenager. Lang informs the remaining Avengers and allies about his discovery; the quantum realm can allow time travel. While they soon determine that the nature of time travel means that they cannot simply go back in time and stop Thanos from either causing the Blip or destroying the Stones in the first place, they are able to travel through the quantum realm to retrieve the Infinity Stones from alternate timelines in the past. Upon returning to the present, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Rocket develop a gauntlet composed of Stark's nanotech that is capable of harnessing the power of the Stones. Due to the Stones' massive composition of gamma radiation, Banner decides to wear the gauntlet, and he successfully restores the blipped victims in the condition they had vanished. The Avengers and their allies defeat an alternate version of Thanos from the past at the cost of Stark's life, and Steve Rogers returns the Stones to their original timelines.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Blip is discussed in a faux news broadcast at the beginning of the film, which is the first instance in any medium of the name. The broadcast shows Midtown School of Science and Technology band members reappearing in the middle of a basketball game. The film reveals that several more characters had been blipped and restored, including Peter's aunt May Parker, and his classmates Ned Leeds, MJ, Betty Brant, and Flash Thompson. Parker's teacher Roger Harrington complains that his wife had pretended to have been blipped in order to leave him.
As part of a viral marketing campaign to promote the home media release of Far From Home, a real version of the fictional TheDailyBugle.net website was created that featured testimonials from supposed victims of the Blip, including one complaining that they disappeared in a dangerous situation and were seriously injured when they reappeared. This contradicted a statement by Feige saying that anyone in such a situation would have reappeared safely. Several days after this was pointed out, the website was updated to say this story was faked for an insurance claim.
At the beginning of the fourth episode of WandaVision, "We Interrupt This Program", Monica Rambeau is shown returning from being blipped in a hospital room, discovering chaos outside as other people are un-blipped in many places, and learning that her mother Maria had died of cancer while she was gone. In the same episode, when characters outside the Westview hex first see Vision onscreen, Darcy Lewis asks her colleagues to confirm that "he's dead, right? Not blipped. Dead".
The writers and producers had many conversations about how to portray people returning from the Blip, and decided to set the sequence in a hospital as an interesting place to depict the scariness and confusion of the event from Monica's perspective. This is different from the portrayal of the Blip in Far From Home, which had a more comedic tone, and Schaeffer explained that Marvel was happy for the series' tone to be different as long as the visuals of the sequence matched with those seen in Far From Home.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, set six months after the event, the Blip is referenced as having created chaos around the world. Millions of people who were displaced by the Blip came under the authority of the Global Repatriation Council (GRC), with a substantial number of people living as refugees awaiting repatriation to their home countries. Many express thankfulness to the Avengers for reversing the Blip but the event has also caused violent revolutions throughout the world by organizations such as the Flag Smashers, who felt that life was better during the Blip and engage in terrorist activities to promote a one world government.
Differences from the comics
In the comic books published by Marvel Comics, the event on which the initial part of the Blip is based occurred during the 1991 The Infinity Gauntlet series, and came to be called the Snap. While still carried out by Thanos, it was done in an effort to impress the personification of Death, with whom he was enamored. Thanos collects the Infinity Gems, which he uses to create the Infinity Gauntlet, making himself omnipotent, and erases half the living things in the universe to prove his love to Death. The heroes of Earth and other worlds do not become aware of these events until the Snap itself occurs, after which the surviving heroes band together against Thanos. The Snap and several related acts are quickly undone by Nebula and Adam Warlock. Warlock reveals that Thanos has always allowed himself to be defeated because the Titan secretly knows he is not worthy of ultimate power. Thanos then joins Warlock as part of the Infinity Watch and helps him to defeat various threats to the universe. Because the Snap is reversed shortly after it occurs, it does not have the sort of long-term societal effects and repercussions as the Blip in the MCU. Furthermore, because the Infinity Gems are recovered from Thanos immediately, and are never destroyed, they continue to play a role in later storylines in the comic books.
The introduction of the Blip drew positive reviews from critics and audiences as an effective plot device due to its use as a plot twist in Infinity War, serious tone, and overarching implications in the MCU.
The depiction of the Blip at the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War sparked various Internet meme reactions, including one referencing Peter Parker saying he does not feel good as he disintegrates, which was applied to other things.
The website, DidThanosKill.Me was created for fans to see if they would have been spared by Thanos or not. The ending also spawned the creation of the Reddit subreddit, r/thanosdidnothingwrong. A user within the subreddit suggested that half of the approximately 20,000 subscribers at the time be banned from the subreddit, in order to mimic the events of the film. After the community agreed to the measure, the moderators approached Reddit's administrators to see if the mass ban would even be possible. Once the administrators agreed to the random ban of half the subscribers, it was set to occur on July 9, 2018. Notice of the impending ban made the subreddit's subscribers increase to over 700,000, including both of the Russos who subscribed. Ahead of the ban, Brolin posted a video saying "Here we go, Reddit users," and ending it with a snap. Over 60,000 people watched a live Twitch stream of the ban occurring, which lasted several hours. The ban of over 300,000 accounts, which included Anthony Russo, was the largest in Reddit's history. Those banned then gathered in the new subreddit, /r/inthesoulstone. One Reddit user who participated described the ban as embodying "the spirit of the Internet" with people "banding together, en masse, around something relatively meaningless but somehow decidedly awesome and hilarious". Andrew Tigani of Screen Rant said this showed "how impactful the film has already become to pop culture. It is also a testament to how valuable fan interaction can be via social media".
Feige has noted similar connotations and societal ramifications apparent between the fictional Blip and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which followed the release of Avengers: Endgame. Feige elaborated, "As we started getting into a global pandemic last March and April and May, we started to go, holy mackerel, the Blip, this universal experience...this experience that affected every human on Earth, now has a direct parallel between what people who live in the MCU had encountered, and what all of us in the real world have encountered."
Following the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, Google included a clickable icon of the Infinity Gauntlet in Google Search results for 'Thanos' as a digital Easter egg. The icon, when clicked, made a 'snap' motion before half of the search results disappeared, akin to the disappearance of characters following the Blip.
Scientific analysis and accuracy
The motivations held by Thanos that lead to the Blip have drawn comparisons by experts to claims and works held by 18th-century scholar and economist Thomas Malthus. In 1798, Malthus theorized in An Essay on the Principle of Population, that if populations grew much faster than their food sources, and if growth remained unchecked, it would eventually lead to societal collapse. Malthus had argued that society could impose a preventative check on unrestrained growth, thereby avoiding catastrophic outcomes.
Modern scientific experts have commented that, in a hypothetical real-world scenario, a reduction of half of all forms of biological life would have immediate effects on the biodiversity of Earth, comparable to a mass extinction event. Threatened species with preexisting low populations, as well as those species involved in pollination and food production services that require pollination management would be adversely affected. Ecosystem collapse could be possible. In relation to humans, a decrease of human overpopulation would lead to fewer emissions of greenhouse gases, which would improve the prospects of climate change mitigation and reduce global warming and its related effects. Humans would lose approximately between 1 pound (0.45 kg) and 3 pounds (1.4 kg), due to the loss of microbes and bacteria in the body. A simultaneous mass disappearance of people would also immediately trigger a substantial amount of accidental and circumstantial deaths, such as airplane crashes and vehicular accidents.
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