Avengers: Endgame is finally out, which means we finally got the answers to several lingering questions after Infinity War. But while the emotional adventure that we just witnessed does deliver an epic conclusion to more than 10 years of Marvel films, we do have a batch of new questions that need answering, and we’ll have to wait for the next set of MCU movies to give us those answers.
While we wait, however, we’ll explore the answer to the biggest mystery in Endgame — well, a major part of it. You’ll soon understand what I mean, but I do have to warn you that major spoilers follow below.
I’m not only talking about the spoilers that Marvel included in its latest Endgame teaser — a 15-second clip that features several key scenes from the film, while simultaneously telling us how massive the Endgame launch was. This spoilery video from Marvel is your last warning that more significant spoilers follow:
Before we get into it, I’ll remind you that I’ve already tackled the most controversial Endgame plot detail in this post. That’s time travel in the MCU, which makes complete sense right up to the last scene. Also, I’ve explained why Captain America’s arc is so satisfying, including that final scene of the film.
The biggest mystery after Endgame is the exact whereabouts of Steve Rogers. We know he went back to the past to live his life, and we know that he’s either in the main MCU timeline or in a separate branch. But at what point in time did Captain America stop to have that dance with Peggy Carter?
When we first saw Endgame leaks saying that Cap would stay with Peggy in the past, I explained why it all makes sense for the character, although my interpretation of time travel was flawed at the time. My theory still stands: Steve could have easily gone to the past and lived his life in the shadows in the hope that he wouldn’t branch off a new timeline. He wouldn’t have tried to fix all the things that happened to the world while he was frozen, as he’d know that, eventually, this timeline leads to beating Thanos.
I also provided one piece of key evidence that Marvel did shoot scenes for the movie in the past, which proved not only that there would be time travel in the film, but that Cap would go back to the 1940s:
We knew all along that Chris Evans was spotted filming on that set. And now that the movie is out, we know the car in the image above actually appeared in the film, right before we saw Steve and Peggy dancing in the past. So what car is it? Because the make and model could help us identify the time period. After some digging, I’ve concluded that we’re looking at a 1946 Desoto Deluxe version.
It could also be a much later model because it would have shared the same design — via Wikipedia:
Deluxes produced during the 1946, 1947, 1948 and first half of the 1949 model years used DeSoto’s prewar bodies, slightly updated following the end of World War II.
This means Steve returned to the past in 1946 at the earliest, therefore a year after the war. Also, it’s fall wherever they are — just look at those trees.
When Steve and Peggy dance, the song playing in the background is It’s Been a Long, Long Time by Harry James and Kitty Kallen. The song was a genuine hit at the end of World War II, and we heard it once before in the MCU (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), so it’s a great callback to that movie as well:
Getting back to the song, the same Wikipedia entry tells us that a recording by James and Kallen topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart on November 24th, 1945. The song would have been popular before and after that date.
So we’ve established so far that the dance scene takes place in 1946 at the earliest, given the make and model of the car and the song on the radio. But where are they exactly? Is that Steve’s house? Or Peggy’s?
The Agent Carter TV series was created by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — the same duo that penned all the Russo brothers MCU films, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame. They said the show would be set in 1946 initially, and then each new season would advance a year.
Peggy lives in New York in the first season, and then mostly in Los Angeles in the second season (the show was canceled after season 2). In those two seasons, Peggy was involved with her colleague, Daniel Sousa.
Because they brought the actor who played Howard Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis, in Agent Carter to Endgame (that’s James D’Arcy, by the way), it sure looks like Marvel canonized the events of the TV series.
The last scene in Endgame doesn’t provide enough details to give us a definitive answer. But if Marvel wants to keep the Agent Carter arc in place, it would be easy to speculate that Cap goes back in time at some point towards the end of the ‘40s. You’d still have the same cars, and the same music, but Agent Carter would have had time to move on from her job in LA and her relationship with Sousa.
How did Steve choose?
We still have no idea how Steve chose this particular time to get back to Peggy. Maybe something happened while he restored order to other timelines by dropping off the Infinity Stones they had stolen. Perhaps his first meeting with Peggy Carter from the ’70s was enough to convince him that he is destined to marry her. After all, she still had a picture of him on her desk, which could be a suggestion that she hadn’t gotten over him. Or maybe she kept his photo on the desk because he was married to her.
And, most importantly, we have no idea what timeline this is.
But it sure looks like Steve made the most of it by going back for that dance soon after the second World War. After all, he does have an idea of what will happen to Peggy when she gets old and when she dies, and he probably wants to share his life with her for as long as possible.