Here’s the Big Difference Between “the Blip” and “the Snap” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Spider-Man: Far From Home introduced the term “the Blip” into the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. Here’s what differentiates it from the widely-used “the Snap.”
Spider-Man: Far From Home—which I loved, by the way, and is a near-perfect summer superhero movie—begins with a tribute to those lost in the events of Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, as well as showing us an overview of how society dealt with half of the population disappearing and reappearing five years later.
They summarize the reappearance of life after Iron Man’s own Gauntlet Snap as “the Blip,” a rather blasé way to refer to what was, in-world, the resolution of a deeply traumatic period of time. But it’s just the sort of thing that people do—give something terrifying a far less frightening name in order to compartmentalize it and move on. And it turns out the MCU had been referring to this event as the Blip internally the whole time, though they initially meant it to encompass the entire sequence of events from Thanos’ Snap on up to Tony Stark’s counter-Snap.
Now, however, “the Snap” means what Thanos did in Wakanda to remove half of all life, and “the Blip” is defined by the return of everyone lost. In an interview with Fandango, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige explained that the headcanon term we all started using post-Infinity War helped to set these definitions. According to Feige:
“We always referred to it as the Blip, and then the public started referring to it as the Snap. We think it’s funny when high school kids just call this horrific, universe-changing event the Blip. We’ve narrowed it down to, the Snap is when everybody disappeared at the end of Infinity War. The Blip is when everybody returned at the end of Endgame … and that is how we have narrowed in on the definitions.”
Of course, the viewing public couldn’t know after Infinity War or going into Endgame that internally, Marvel was calling this “the Blip,” as that would have implied everyone was definitely coming back, that what Thanos did had been reduced in vocabulary to a sort of glitch in the timeline. Personally, I’m also a fan of calling Thanos’ actions in Wakanda “the Snapture,” but that’s neither here nor there. The ubiquity of “the Snap” shows that the way we talk about movies can come to affect them in-world.
The scene at the start of Far From Home manages to be both touching and funny at the same time—setting a high school-level slide show of lost Avengers to the strains of Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You,” super-speeding us through some footage of people returning, and explaining some of the weirdness experienced from both sides. (Peter Parker’s classmates are discomfited by how Remy Hii’s Brad Davis has aged up, but how must Brad feel being in a class amongst students he last saw five years ago as a relative kid?)
If I could add one element to Far From Home, it would be that I’d like to see a bit more of the personal and sociopolitical ramifications of how the Blip/Snap played out. Since this is a relatively light-hearted movie, I understand why they didn’t dive deeper, but it doesn’t stop me from endlessly speculating on all the things that happened as a result.
Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is working for an organization that helps people displaced from housing by the Blip, and she describes the confusion of appearing back in her apartment after five years, only to find another family living there. Peter’s teacher/chaperone Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) has a passing bit about how his wife faked her own death to, presumably, start a new life somewhere else.
It’s delivered comically, but I can’t help but wonder how many awfully human stories played out during the Snap’s aftermath and the Blip’s repercussions. Surely many people moved on with their lives, leaving who they were behind, only to have the people from their past reappear. Some might have been happy to have certain people disappear entirely. Governments must’ve risen and fallen—who gets to lead a country if the old leader Blips back to find someone else in charge? I have so many questions. Further, the possibilities are endless in terms of crimes that could have been committed during this time that might be conveniently covered up by the chaotic circumstances.
Will the MCU explore the various and ongoing ramifications of the Blip in the future? I hope so. Even if the universe is trending toward space with more Guardians, possibly more Thor, and no doubt more Captain Marvel, the Snap/Blip events happened absolutely everywhere, and must have played out quite differently on many different worlds. The Blip was a resolution to Endgame, but it wasn’t a happy ending for everyone, and the cultural shockwaves it set off could be mined for years to come.
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