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When Thor and Rocket retrieve the Reality Stone, they went back to the events in Thor: The Dark World, and they got the stone by removing it from Jane Foster. Supposedly, when Captain America has to put back all the stones to the moment they were taken, I have to imagine that he is going to put back the stone (that was not a stone in that moment in time, more like a kind of a fluid) inside Jane?

Am I mistaken or is there another explanation?

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    For that matter, how does he reproduce the Tesseract shell around the Space Stone and I didn't see Loki's scepter for the Mind Stone. Not to mention all the other changes to those timelines, like Hydra now thinking Cap is one of them or at least knowing he is aware of their existence. I love the movie, but the return the stones part could functionally be Captain America IV, just to explain it all. – Xavon_Wrentaile Sep 24 '20 at 0:01
  • He's Captain F'n America. That pretty much is all that's required to know, or to explain. – Keith Morrison Sep 24 '20 at 19:37
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We don't know what Cap does in returning any of the Stones that were taken during the Time Heist as it is never shown. However, there are two main possibilities of what happened with the Reality Stone.

The whole plan with returning the Infinity Stones is to return them to the exact moment they were taken as to erase the alternate timelines that were created. This is mentioned by Smart Hulk to the Ancient One in the initial conversation.

Ancient One: For each stone you remove, you’ll create a new, vulnerable timeline. Millions will suffer. Now tell me, Doctor. Can your science prevent all that?

Smart Hulk: No. But it can erase it. Because once we’re done with the stones, we can return each one to its own timeline. At the moment it was taken. So chronologically, in that reality, the stone never left.

Avengers: Endgame

It is later repeated by Smart Hulk when he's talking to Cap about sending him on the return journey.

Smart Hulk: Remember, you’ll have to return the stones to the exact moment they were taken. Otherwise, we’re still looking at a whole bunch of nasty alternate realities.

Steve: Got it. I’ll clip all the branches.

Avengers: Endgame

Potentially all Steve does is take the Reality Stone back to Asgard at the moment it was taken and leave it under their care. He doesn't need to put it back into Jane and I doubt they would even let him.

However, he likely does have access to the device Rocket used to extract the Aether from Jane in the first place. That means he could sneak in, poke her with it and then get lickety-split.

Rocket holds the extractor with the Aether contained inside of it
Click image to enlarge.

There are two problems with this second theory though; one, the Reality Stone is in stone form when taken back so it might not be able to go back to sludge form and two, I don't spot the extractor in the briefcase when he goes back and it is unlikely to be on his person.

The open briefcase with all of the Infinity Stones in a container inside
Click image to enlarge.

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  • The clipping of the alternate timelines is greatly exaggerated by the Hulk i think. Those timelines are going to be radically different but they were trying to leave no trace and obviously failed with Loki and killing Alternate thanos. I don't think a precise number of alternate timelines created is known. Like did the team each go to one timeline or one for each stone. Theres no real incentive to reinfect Jane knowing those universes will be different regardless. Returning them helps the home universe from a physics perspective only which is mostly what the Ancient one was concerned about – lucasbachmann Sep 23 '20 at 17:54
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    @lucasbachmann the time travel theory in Endgame made sense (to me at least) until the directors and writers contradicted each other and the film. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 23 '20 at 20:47
  • yep out of universe I think they sacrificed a somewhat consistent story with the split off timelines and with caps implied aging in the official timeline until he got onto the bench (explaining both takes quite a lot of out of movie story telling...), which is even more sad given that they make these cheeky remarks about other time meddling movies in the beginning. – Frank Hopkins Sep 24 '20 at 2:49
  • Is there any inconsistency in the film(s)? There’s at least two ways the scene could work with the stated time travel rules: the Russo’s stated way where he lived out his time in an alternate timeline, then travelled to the “Prime” timeline for the handover, or the perhaps simpler way where in the history of the films, there had always been a Steve Rodgers in the past, from a different but substantially similar timeline. The fact we don’t know exactly which of those (or a different one?) it was doesn’t make it inconsistent per se... – Ben Murphy Sep 24 '20 at 7:55
  • @BenMurphy Well the directors and writers disagree on where Steve was. But the film also states only removing a Stone can create a new branch but then apparently any significant object does too. There's a few things that don't quite line up but in general it matches somewhat decently. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 24 '20 at 8:01
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Perhaps the timeline is meant to be the way it is? Let me clarify. And its gonna use a bit of time travel.

So the basic principle under this theory is that what the Avengers perceived as Time Travel was actually them travelling to an alternate universe where time runs behind ours. That is, in that universe, the battle of New York was the present for the people there.So basically what we saw was all meant to happen in the respective universes. For e.g, Loki was supposed to escape on Earth-2(let) and Thanos of Earth-3(let) was supposed to vanish from there.This kinda explains why changing the past won't change the present, because they are independent of each other.

I know this was confusing.

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