Not to be dramatic, but geeks everywhere are currently staring down a weekend of panic attacks and grieving. At least there's comfort in numbers. As long as we're all gnawing our fingernails off in nervous anticipation of two landmark events — the premiere of Avengers: Endgame and what's anticipated to be the biggest, deadliest battle in Game of Thrones history — let's do it together.
Because you see, friends, there is a conspiracy out there in the world. Years ago, in a dark room filled with smoke, probably, Marvel and HBO executives clearly gathered together to plan how they could best break us. There's no way it's a coincidence that these things happening on the same weekend. This is a conspiracy. Obviously.
On Friday, April 26 (really, though, on Thursday, April 25), audiences everywhere will gather to see Endgame, the second-to-final installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 3 and the franchise's 22nd movie in 11 years. And on Sunday, April 28, the world will gather around television screens to watch the as-yet-unnamed third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth season, in which the Night King's forces will attack Winterfell.
The death tolls and overall heartbreak factor of both these premieres are yet unknown, but I'm already sobbing. The MCU is, well, a marvel. Game of Thrones is a juggernaut all its own. Both franchises cast aside expectations from the very beginning and helped launch nerd culture as a popular (and profitable) influence on the world. The only way this weekend could be worse is if the GoT finale was this weekend. Thank the Seven it's not.
What other television, movie, or geeky thing could stack up against this weekend — in terms of drama, in terms of cultural impact, in terms of volume of tears shed? Honestly? Nothing.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered on December 18, 2015, after a Star Wars-less decade, marking a new era in both the Skywalker Saga and our hearts. Excitement over The Force Awakens was palpable worldwide. It opened on the same weekend as... Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, a movie that was tragic in a different kind of way. But despite the dual devastation of The Road Chip and Han Solo's death at the hands of his corrupted son, that weekend doesn't match up to the potential drama of this coming weekend.
Similarly, Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered December 15, 2017, the same day as Beyond Skyline, which was, again, tragic in a different kind of way. Losing Luke Skywalker hurt, but at least that was one character in one franchise.
So, let's look elsewhere. Game of Thrones has always known how to bring the drama. Arguably the series' most famous and tragic episode of all time is Season 3's "The Rains of Castamere," the episode in which the infamous Red Wedding takes place. It premiered on June 2, 2013, and nothing else really happened around then, at least culturally speaking. The same goes for May 22, 2016's "The Door," which introduced audiences to the tragedy and demise of Hodor.
The MCU's biggest batch of heartbreak came with last year's Avengers: Infinity War, which premiered on April 27. Nothing else could trump Peter Parker turning to ash that weekend, either on television or in theaters.
The titular Logan dying after saving his pseudo-daughter and her friends on March 3, 2017; Glenn dying by Neegan's hand (and baseball bat) in The Walking Dead on October 23, 2016; Primrose Everdeen killed by friendly fire in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 on November 20, 2015; Dumbledore's fateful fall from the Astronomy Tower in July 15, 2009's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is all recent history and I could go on, but I won't, as the point remains the same and at this point, I'm just upsetting myself.
Looking back as far as the eye can see, there's nothing that stacks up to this weekend. As we've seen, the problem in finding something that equates to this weekend is that these kinds of things don't usually happen at the same time. Sometimes heartbreaking events are on back-to-back weekends as movie studios look to stuff their releases into a certain time frame and compete with each other; sometimes television episodes catch us by surprise, but not on the same weekend as a tragic movie.
Arguably, this is happening now because what would traditionally be a summer blockbuster, Endgame, is premiering in the spring, a prime television season, because there are no rules anymore — and because this dang movie is gonna make billions of dollars no matter what, so who cares when it premieres?
I do. I care. Because I know in my gut we're all going to have to watch a lot of characters we know and love die tragically, painfully, and with much more to provide their fictional worlds. It's all a conspiracy.
Maybe if we all pray to the Seven, the Lord of Light, and Thor, we'll be spared. Best of luck, everyone.