Wow, what a week this was for Avengers fans. A few days ago someone leaked almost five minutes of blurry Avengers: Endgame footage that had never been seen before, and it spilled several of Marvel’s best-kept secrets. We then witnessed a barrage of new Avengers 4 commercials and ads, which contained plenty of brand new scenes from the film and delivered additional spoilers. We also saw someone leak a pretty detailed account of the Endgame plot, peppered with several interesting details and a mind-blowing revelation that I said would ruin the film for you even if the claims are fake.
It turns out that plenty of Marvel fans out there have problems dealing with that controversial theory, but I’m here to tell you why it’s brilliant and it makes perfect sense for the film. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes and the more I want to see in Avengers 4. Before we get any further, given how massive this spoiler might be, I’ll advise MCU fans who hate spoilers to avoid my explanations at least until premiere day.
I’m absolutely serious about the spoilers that will follow, so your last chance to avoid them is an appeal from the Russo brothers not to spoil Endgame:
With that in mind, let’s dive in and address this controversial Captain America leak — yes, it’s about Cap and his fate after Endgame.
A few days ago, a leaker started offering plenty of Avengers 4 details on Reddit, but Seymour did it without actually listing a chronological plot. Instead, he simply answered questions from fans and took his time before revealing Cap’s fate.
The gist of it is that at the end of the movie, Steve Rogers will receive an envelope from Nick Fury with a letter from Peggy Carter. Peggy apologizes to Cap for not telling him before, but the world needed him more than she did. Now that he has saved the world, it’s time to come home and he will know where to meet her. Steve understands and tells Fury to call him if they need him again, a nod that Captain America might show up in the MCU down the road. What Cap realizes is that he’s closing his own time loop:
Cap goes back in time and shows up at the dance hall. Peggy is waiting for him. She shows him how to dance slowly and then asks if he can keep up. “I could do this all day.” are the final words from Cap in the movie.
A lot of people are not understanding that Cap was always Peggy’s husband. He’s not changing anything, he’s closing his own time loop. He will still be found on ice in 2012, still go through everything he goes through, and then go back in time and be with Peggy. They leave the door open for him to travel to the future if he’s needed after the events of Endgame too.
This prompted plenty of Redditors to question the leak. Some said that it would be very uncharacteristic for Cap to go back in time, and witness everything wrong that happened with the world since the mid-1940s and without intervening. Others said that such an ending would somewhat contradict the Agent Carter series.
I’m about to tell you why this ending would make perfect sense for Cap, and why Steve realizes that’s the only way to go.
Yes, it would be incredibly hard for Rogers to watch the world tear itself apart on numerous occasions by going back in time and not doing anything about it. But it would also be a significant evolution of his arc. Think of the events in Civil War and remember how adamant Steve was about not being controlled by a group of people with agendas. To go from there — willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he could help the ones in need — to a place where he’d be stuck living a normal life with Peggy, would take an incredible amount of sacrifice.
But then again, this fate would be the real grenade he’d have to cradle. Whatever he ends up doing in Endgame, he won’t be able to take Iron Man’s place and undo the snap himself, according to this Redditor, at least. When he reads Peggy’s letter, he didn’t read it as an optional invitation. He could not choose not to go back to the past because the past already happened. Peggy sent him that letter knowing that he will receive it and he will come back home. And Peggy wrote it because Cap told her to — or they both agreed.
When Steve reads the letter, he understands this is his final mission, and that his sacrifice ensures Thanos will be defeated. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that he can’t ignore. It already happened, he’s just finding about it for the first time.
Thankfully, it’s a fantastic mission, being able to grow old with the woman you love in a time that feels familiar — he could have been told to peel potatoes for 50 years because that’s what will kill Thanos and he would have done it. But the sacrifice he has to make is that he can’t intervene in the events of the past. He can’t save Bucky. He can’t tell SHIELD about Hydra. He can’t prevent the deaths of Tony’s parents. He can’t do anything about the frozen Steve in the ice, and he can’t prevent Peggy’s disease. He can’t do anything that would jeopardize the current timeline and ruin their victory over Thanos. And in a weird way, he’d be somewhat agreeing to Tony’s arguments from Civil War:
Doctor Strange’s only way
Remember how many times we wondered why Doctor Strange made sure he told the Avengers during Infinity War that they have only one chance of winning out of more than 14 million possible futures? We’ve overanalyzed that particular detail quite a few times and explained why Strange said it. The bottom line is that certain events have to take place in a specific order. Should anything change — like Steve doing any heroics in the past that would alter the future — they might never beat Thanos.
Now I’ll invite you to watch this great motivational speech that Rogers gives the Avengers in Endgame, as they’re all dressed in the new suits before they leave on their missions.
Rogers tells them there’s no room for mistakes, no do-overs. He knows they have one chance to beat Thanos. The surviving Avengers must have talked time and again about what happened on Titan and in Wakanda. As a military man, Steve knows everything in great detail, including what Strange said about their chances of success.
By the time they win, it’ll be clear to everyone that this was indeed the only way. They’ll probably do plenty of debriefing before Rogers actually goes back to Peggy. Strange will likely make it clear to them that they can’t go back in time to save Tony, or Loki, or Gamora, or anyone else who may have died during Infinity War and Endgame and wasn’t brought back to life when they undo the snap.
What I’m trying to say is that it’ll be very clear to Steve that he can’t change the past, which is already written. And it’ll become clear to him that he had always been Peggy’s husband, even though she never told him.
The Russos clearly have a thing for Captain America, in a good way, and that’s hardly surprising. They’ve given the superhero a massive makeover starting with The Winter Soldier and Civil War, growing the character into an iconic MCU presence.
Captain America is what turned the Russos into big MCU names, so that’s one more reason to love the character that shaped their professional careers.
Killing him, for them, might be the laziest thing they could think of because the fans expect him to die. Taking him to the past and preserving his life for possible new MCU adventures in the future wouldn’t just be satisfying for them, Evans, Cap, and the audience. It would also be a challenging way to end this character’s arc in Endgame. That’s because people don’t expect this particular evolution, and as I’ve said before, many of them think it wouldn’t fit the character. Shocking the audience, on the other hand, is what the Russos do.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Peggy was so important to the brothers that they’ve included Peggy scenes in both of their Captain America movies.
The Winter Soldier issues
I’ve rewatched The Winter Soldier recently, and I’ve rewatched the scenes that involve Peggy while studying this leak. I have to say that everything Peggy tells Steve fits with this leak. She’s not too specific, because she’s old by now and that’s one explanation for it, which makes this leak plausible. Steve may have died a few years earlier, and she’s experiencing a genuine shock to see this young version of the man she loved and may have grown old with. And it’s absolutely real even if she’s partially expecting this to happen. Steve had probably told her that they would meet again in the distant future, soon after he came out of the ice, but neither of them had any idea how long Steve would actually get to live.
Also, there’s no picture of Peggy’s husband anywhere in the scene, although they do show her and her children. Is that a coincidence?
Agent Carter issues
As I’ve explained before, Steve going back to Peggy might be the best mission he ever received in spite of the considerable sacrifice he’ll have to make, and a great evolution for the overall Captain America arc — he won’t be able to intervene in what happens in the world in any capacity. So there’s no question in my mind about his character.
But I do agree there are some issues with what we saw in Agent Carter. We never got to learn who she married or even if she did marry. Also, she had all those romantic moments with Agent Sousa, didn’t she? All that will have to be reconciled in some way or another, and thankfully that’s not so difficult to do. After all, Captain America or not, marriage isn’t easy. People can drift apart and they can get back together. Or maybe Steve got called back to the future again, and he never came back to the past in spite of marrying Peggy in secret.
Also, if Steve grew old with Peggy in the past and he ended up growing to know a particular niece that his younger self got involved with, well, that’s just very complicated. But it’s also something he’d have to deal with. What’s strange is that Sharon doesn’t see the resemblance between Captain America and Peggy Carter’s husband.
The only real problem that remains is that Steve Rogers is this huge star back in the 1940s. He’s Captain America, who just died heroically while saving everyone. How will it be possible to go to that dance and not be seen?
Back in November 22nd, long before we had any idea of how heartbreaking Infinity War would be, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the following photo:
And here’s what they had to say about it:
Marvel’s latest “Avengers” movie, headquartered at the Pinewood Studios facility in Fayette County, is filming on location here on Thanksgiving Eve. Chris Evans, who plays Steve Rogers/Captain America, is on set.
We already know that Infinity War and Endgame were filmed back to back, and that there was no time travel scene in Infinity War involving the 1940s. Nope. Aside from Strange’s Time Stone shenanigans and Thanos’ use of the Stone at the end of the movie, we did not have time travel in it. So the scenes that AJC mentioned should be part of Endgame.
Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy in the MCU, said back in August, per WeGotThisCovered, that she’s not aware of her character’s involvement with Avengers 4.
We do get to see and hear her in Endgame trailer, though. Steve still carries that compass that has her picture, and Peggy’s famous quote from The Winter Soldier is spoken during one of the trailers. Her voice is unmistakable to the trained ear. And let’s not forget that Age of Ultron gave us that famous dance thanks to Wanda’s mind tricks.
That said, Atwell would still be needed so that the scene looks precisely as Seymour described it. But an actor would definitely lie to protect such a big secret.
Speaking of lying, some Redditors were quick to point out that Evans said while on the Endgame press tour in China that the Peggy leak is not real. Do I really have to remind you how many times the Russos lied about these films? Actors could do the same thing.
With all that in mind, I’m more and more convinced that sending Steve back to the past to have his dance and marry Peggy is the perfectly controversial conclusion for Captain America. It’s the happiest end Steve could get given that he had to deal with losing Tony, he had to abandon Bucky and the remaining Avengers, and he has to accept that he cannot interfere with the past so the future, as he’s known it, can unfold.
The only problem I see with all this is Steve’s reminder to Fury that he can return when needed because it makes time travel sound like such an easy thing to pull off going forward. Having such easy access to time travel tricks would definitely make the upcoming MCU adventures far less intriguing.