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How to Survive Being a Fangirl When all Your Favorite Characters Have Died

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"Raine is a twenty-one-year-old writer. They have been writing for over nine years and are so excited to share their work with you!"

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Fangirl: (noun) A fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, movies, music, or science fiction

It was April 25th, 2019. My family and I drove to Wilmington, North Carolina, to see the night premiere of Avengers: Endgame. I had been waiting for years to see this movie. As a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was prepared. I had worn my Iron Man shirt, my Captain America socks, and my Marvel Vans. I was decked out in my Marvel gear, and ready to sit in a theater for three hours, to finally see the movie that would end an era. The end of phase three was here, and I was here for it… At least I thought I was.

That night was one of the worst and best nights of my life. For starters, it had been a little under a year since I left the theater in hysterics because a bunch of my favorite characters had turned to ashes, thanks to Thanos, a giant purple-looking grape, snapping his fingers and ending it all. I had waited an entire year to see when my favorite characters would return and to see if I would lose some of my other favorites.

I had hoped that wouldn’t happen though, I told myself that they wouldn’t kill off certain heroes, especially heroes like Iron Man. They had given Tony Stark a family, they had let him live a normal life and for once he seemed healthy and happy. He was married, had a daughter, and had hung up the Iron Man suit. It was no longer needed, so I assumed that meant Tony would be safe. I was so very wrong though.

Endgame started exactly where I would hope. It told us the story of Hawkeye. We learned that Clint was still on house arrest when the snap happened, which turned his entire family into dust. This caused him to go on a rampage and kill people for a living out of revenge for his family. It was quite a story and honestly, I loved it because it lets us see Ronan on the big screen, something I enjoyed as a fan of the Marvel comic books.

The movie continued into its long story arc, showing us where the heroes who had lived through the snap had been. They showed us Scott getting out of the quantum realm, Steve leading a group for those who had survived the snap and lost their loved ones, we saw Natasha living at that compound with Steve, Thor living in New Asgard (located in Tønsberg, Norway), the Hulk/Bruce now was combined into both, becoming Professor Hulk, and we saw Tony living a domestic family life, married to Pepper, and having a young daughter, named Morgan. It seemed like nothing could go wrong, even with half the new Avengers missing, along with Nick Fury. I was so wrong though, so very wrong.

I was excited to see many of my predictions come to life, that being the time travel, Tony having a family, Captain Marvel having her iconic short hair from the comics, and Steve being able to wield Mjölnir. Even seeing them travel back in time to the battle of New York, which was at the top of my predictions list. I was ready for it all, well, it’s what I kept telling myself.

The thing I had learned after seeing Avengers: Infinity War, and before seeing Avengers: Endgame, was to be prepared to see your favorite characters die. So I did, I prepared myself to see Steve Rogers (Captain America), possibly even Thor. I told myself those two were the only deaths that’d happen, especially since Chris Evans’ contract was up and he had not signed a renewal. So it was bound for Captain America’s life to end. It seemed like the only logical explanation. That’s where I was wrong.

The first, real death in Endgame was shocking. To see Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) sacrifice herself for the soul stone, by fighting with Clint (Hawkeye) on the planet Vormir. The two fought on the same cliff Thanos had pushed his own daughter, Gamora, off in Avengers: Infinity War to collect the soul stone. This time around was different though. Clint tried to kill himself, but Natasha wouldn’t allow it. She sacrificed herself, by letting go of Clint’s hand as he tried to pull her up. This gave Clint the soul stone, that was being held by Red Skull, a villain from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Seeing Natasha die was quite heartbreaking for me because she was the first female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a huge feminist seeing a girl on-screen fighting in superhero movies is always so exciting. To see the first main woman hero die such a tragic death, and not even get a real send-off, was heartbreaking and angry all in one.

This was the point where I told myself, I don’t know if I can survive the rest of the movie. There was still quite a long time left and I was already in tears. Natasha was dead, and I had no clue who’d be next. I tried to prepare myself though, I wiped my eyes and sat through the rest of the movie, telling myself nothing could get worse. Boy, was I wrong.

The end of the movie was approaching, the Avengers had collected all the infinity stones, lost Natasha, and the Hulk had taken hold of the gauntlet made by Tony Stark. Bruce snapped his fingers, bringing back everything around them. Suddenly the world was anew again, back to what it had been before, birds chirping, sky blue, and trees green. What they didn’t know was, Thanos from 2014 had come back to the present day (2023), thanks to past Nebula and the time machine.

I was ready at this point. The Avengers compound had been destroyed and the Avengers were ready to battle. Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor suited up and began to make their way towards 2014 Thanos, ready to destroy him and bring back everyone. Thor was stronger than ever, especially since he was now wielding Stormbreaker and Mjölnir from the past. It was everything I was hoping for and got even better as Steve suddenly picked up Mjölnir, something people had been expecting since Avengers: Age of Ultron.

I was still prepared though, still prepared for Steve or Thor to die. That or for Thanos to snap again and actually kill everyone, even though I knew that was very unlikely I still told myself it was a possibility. What came wasn’t what I wanted though, or expected. Thanos got a hold of the infinity stones, I was ready for him to snap and end it all, but instead, he snapped and nothing happened… I was confused and in shock. What did this mean? Was I right, did Steve or Thor get a hold of the gauntlet Tony had made? Where they going to snap their fingers and kill Thanos and his army of aliens. I was prepared for one of their deaths, telling myself that it might not happen, but it was likely, even if one was a super soldier and the other was a god. That’s not what happened though, instead, it was so much worse.

I sat in my seat, gripping my sister’s arm with one hand, and my tissue in the other. There he was, the man who had started it all, on his knees, hand raised in the air, with his gauntlet holding the stones. A single tear rolled down my cheek as I gasped. I wasn’t ready, I didn’t want to see Tony die. I knew it was coming though, and that’s when it happened. He spoke those words, the words that started it all, “And I.. Am… Iron Man.” BAM!

This is when it hit, I was a sobbing mess, Tony spoke the iconic words, snapped his fingers, and Thanos was gone, dusted. For Tony, well he was gone too, the snap was too strong for a non-superhuman, killing Tony Stark.

I was a mess, tears streaming down my face, snot coming out my nose, and my body shaking. This couldn’t be happening, my favorite character had died and I felt like my life was over. It didn’t feel real at all. Tony was supposed to live out the rest of his life with Pepper and Morgan. Instead, he was dead and my whole world had fallen apart.

My heart was breaking, I didn’t know how I’d live or watch another MCU movie again. Two out of six of the original were gone, it’s like my childhood had died right in front of my eyes. So how was I going to live? Well, I wasn’t, especially with what was to come next.

The funeral scene was heartbreaking, tearing me up on the inside and causing me to cry way more than I already was. Then straight after, Steve decided to go back in time and return the stones. I thought he’d come back and would retire from being Captain America, then live out the rest of his life with Bucky, but instead, I was left angry and in tears, because he grew old, ruining his character arc.

Now, I was truly heartbroken, I didn’t know if I could watch another Marvel movie ever again. I cried the entire way home from the theater that night, not once did I stop. Thinking about the fact I’d never get to see some of my favorite characters on the big screen was horrible. My fangirl heart couldn’t take it. So I did what I do best, I wrote fanfiction.

I wrote fanfiction about Steve and Bucky, which really helped me. It made me feel like nothing had actually happened to all my favorite characters because I was able to make up my own story. Being able to write a work of fiction, that’d “fix” the story, really made me feel better about what happened in the movie.

I was able to find a way to make sure things went the way I wanted them to, even though I was still upset about how the movie had ended and how they had ruined my favorite characters. Writing fanfiction had helped me so much, and still does.

Being a fangirl is difficult, especially when all your favorite characters have died. It feels like you’ve lost hope and there’s nothing left to enjoy, but I’ve learned that there is. There are fanfictions, books, comics, fan art, and so much more. There’s always a way to enjoy your favorite characters after they’re gone, even if it doesn’t feel like there is. That’s why fan work, is so helpful when it comes to surviving as a fangirl when all your favorite characters have died. It gives you a chance to read different perspectives and alternate universes of what the story could’ve been or how others view it.

Having your favorite characters die is always a pain, and hurts a lot, but with the help of fan work, it’s a lot easier to survive.

© 2021 Raine

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