Is it the endgame for this Marvel question?
At the conclusion of “Avengers: Endgame,” it’s revealed that after returning the Infinity Stones, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) decided to remain back in time and live life with his boo, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
It’s a touching final moment for Cap but confusing as heck for the rest of us.
How was this possible? Did Cap go into the past of the main timeline and live his life in secret? Or did he go into a branch timeline, as was done during other time-traveling moments in the movie? But if the latter was the case, how did he return to the main timeline as an old man to give his shield to Sam Wilson/new Captain America (Anthony Mackie)?
Following the film’s release, not even the creators seemed to agree, with brother directors Joe and Anthony Russo saying he went into a branch timeline, but writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely saying he was in the main timeline and there were even Easter eggs to prove it.
Now, the Russo brothers are attempting to set things straight.
On a recent episode of the “Lights Camera Barstool” podcast, Joe Russo explained, “One thing that’s clear that Anthony and I have discussed, I don’t know that we’ve discussed this publicly at all, but Cap would have had to have traveled back to the main timeline. That’s something that, yes, he would have been in a branch reality and have had to have traveled back to the main timeline to give that shield to Sam Wilson.”
It seems the answer combines both explanations. Yes, Cap went back in time to a branch reality to stay with Peggy, but he returned to the main timeline at some point.
Joe Russo added, “In our internal logic that we defined in the room, that was the choice that we made. Based on everything that happened, he would have been in a branch reality and then had to have shifted over to this, so jumped from one to the other and handed the shield off.”
So does this finally explain things? Eh, maybe.
When talking to HuffPost in 2019, “Endgame” writers Markus and McFeely said that Cap returning the Infinity Stones was a “movie in itself” and that perhaps the real answer about timelines hasn’t been determined yet.
“I don’t know if Marvel wants to tell any more stories about that. ... I think the real answer hasn’t been written yet,” McFeely said.
While the Russo brothers’ explanation may be the answer we have now, with rumors of Evans reprising his role as Captain America in another Marvel project, perhaps the definitive Marvel take is still coming.