This post contains spoilers.
Marvel skipped teasing out the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, but it was still on-hand to provide some much-needed comfort for those with plenty of feelings about the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
It’s been nearly three months since fans first witnessed Thanos wipe out half the Marvel universe—superheroes, animals, side characters, and all—but for many fans who spent the past decade with the superheroes they witnessed turn to dust, it’s still very close to the surface. So Marvel, having caused that amount of distress, tried to diffuse the situation by offering group therapy sessions at its Comic-Con stand.
The setup is Marvel’s push to promote Infinity War’s upcoming home release. According to io9, fans could participate in what were called “Group Hug sessions,” which featured group discussions about fans’ experience with the MCU and Infinity War. They may have gone to the session because of the trauma of Infinity War’s conclusion, but Marvel wanted to promote positive vibes in and out of the room as some of the MCU’s most affirming quotes surrounded fans.
So #AvengersInfinityWar has a great setup at #SDCC where they are holding #GroupHug therapy sessions w/ free donuts for people still reeling from Thanos’s snap
(Plus you get to see a deleted scene that hasn’t been released yet) pic.twitter.com/VadGR6WAVi
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) July 21, 2018
— J. Brown (@jeromieabrown) July 21, 2018
Fans could also watch a deleted scene from Infinity War that will appear on the home release, which may be somewhat cathartic to those who wanted to yell at Peter Quill a whole bunch. And having attended the session, fans received acknowledgment that they survived Thanos’ great purge.
Upon exiting the setup, fans could get their own group hug in a photo opp with one of the survivors who showed up after all.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) July 19, 2018
— Dustin Sandoval (@DustinMSandoval) July 20, 2018
At one point, Paul Bettany showed up to join in on a group hug.
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 20, 2018
Even with Ant-Man and the Wasp as a palate cleanser, Infinity War hit hard. But there’s hope on the horizon, and if it shakes out how we’re hoping, we can only imagine the party Marvel might throw at Comic-Con next year.