While it hasn’t quite been a thousand years, the final installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga represents an unprecedented moment in movie history, partly because some of the characters who have been a consistent presence in movie theaters since 2008 might retire, or even die.
And over time, those characters have started to feel like real friends to audiences.
“It is like seeing their lives unfold alongside yours,” Molly Olis Krost, a fan and grad student from the Bay Area, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “You feel like it is actively existing along with your own life, which it makes feel inherently more real.”
“It feels like every summer I get to check in with a bunch of my friends, as weird as that sounds,” Ratnadip Das, a fan from India, says. “They almost stop being fictional characters and become real people.”
That kind of fictional friendship has real backing by psychological research.