2019 is a big — no, a huge year for a couple of pop culture’s most beloved franchises. Over the past decade and change, the juggernaut Marvel Cinematic Universe has unleashed 21 blockbuster movies held together by a few common threads, and on April 26, one of those threads will come to a glorious, three-hour-long, action- and drama-filled conclusion in Avengers: Endgame. On the small screen, HBO struck Lannister gold when its adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s popular A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series, Game of Thrones, debuted in 2011 and became a global hit. On April 14, the much anticipated eighth and final season premieres — it’s been over a year and a half since season 7! — and viewers are understandably eager to find out how the saga will end.
Thankfully, those of us who have followed along with both journeys haven’t been forced to choose between the two, barring any unforeseen circumstances, and most everyone who wants to see both Thanos and the Night King defeated should be able to do so. But what if you were forced to choose? What if you could only watch Avengers: Endgame or the final season of Game of Thrones? Which would you sacrifice, and which would you see? We had two RT staffers maker their case, and then you can vote below and make your case in the comments.
The Marvel movies are great entertainment, and I have a blast every time I go to see one, but I just don’t have the same kind of emotional investment in the Avengers that I do in the fates of Dany, Tyrion, Jon, and the Starks. Game of Thrones did such a spectacular job of taking each of them through their individual character arcs and then bringing them all back together again — and, in the case of Daenerys, introducing her to the others — that I just couldn’t not find out what happens to them. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and the other big players in the MCU who are done or close to done playing their roles will absolutely be missed, and their characters have been fun to watch, but their stories aren’t nearly as significantly intertwined as the characters’ stories in Game of Thrones are. Plus, we’re talking about seven-plus hours of storytelling in Thrones‘ final season; that’s more than double the length of Endgame, which is admittedly a long movie that will likely feature some definitive moments for the franchise… but that franchise will ultimately continue on. After season 8, Game of Thrones as we know it will be done, and no, the prequels do not count. At the end of the day, as sprawling as Game of Thrones has been at times, it’s still a more complete, more focused story than the MCU as a whole has been, so I’d be way more sad about missing the final season than I would be about missing Endgame.
We’ve never seen big-screen storytelling like we’ve gotten with Marvel’s literally game-changing “Cinematic Universe.” As a fan of the comics, it’s been thrilling to see some of their marquee characters brought to life with such style and craft by some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and best talents behind the camera. As a child, I never would have dreamed that a bunch of superheroes would rule the movies, but here we are, and the ride has been amazing. Robert Downey Jr., of course, turned out to be the perfect Tony Stark, and whatever else he does after this, he’ll forever be remembered for that role, so it’s unthinkable to me that I might miss his inevitable departure from the franchise. The same goes for Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers. Plus, I practically grew up with these characters, watching them on their individual journeys and cheering when they were allowed to share screen time. Marvel was also really smart about the way they seeded the Thanos storyline, beginning with his appearance in the first Avengers movie’s mid-credits stinger — remember that? — and leading all the way up to Avengers: Infinity War. This is the battle I’ve been waiting years to see, and I’m not about to miss it, not only because it promises to be an epic one for the ages, but also because it will probably serve as the swan song for some of Hollywood’s most beloved big-screen characters. Don’t get me wrong; I love Game of Thrones too, but I’ve invested over a decade of my life in these movies and these characters, and I am looking forward to Endgame like no other movie I can recall in recent memory.