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How Steve Rogers can appear in Avengers: Secret Wars – and why Marvel should do it

Updated Dec 27th, 2022 4:07PM EST
Captain America in Avengers: Endgame
Image: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s course for the Multiverse Saga is no longer fan speculation. We know we’re heading toward two massive Avengers adventures, including The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. Set one year apart, the two films should deliver an epic conclusion to this story. And some rumors suggest Marvel will bring back various Avengers for Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

Iron Man’s return is the most talked-about among them, with Secret Wars being the likely place for it to happen. And we already explained all the ways Marvel can bring back Tony Stark without diminishing his sacrifice in Endgame. The same goes for Nat, by the way. As for Cap, Rogers’s case isn’t the same as the previous two. That’s because the MCU’s original Captain America isn’t dead. He’s old and retired, living his life in a different timeline.

But there are rumors about Chris Evans returning to the MCU, and I’m about to explain how it can happen without altering Steve’s story from Endgame. Before I share this theory with you, know that significant MCU spoilers follow below.

In this post, I’m referring to Chris Evans’s iconic MCU character as Steve Rogers to avoid confusion with the new Captain America. That’s Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who will appear in his own Captain America movie soon.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) wearing the new Captain America suit revealed in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale. Image source: Marvel Studios

Why Iron Man, Steve Rogers, and Black Widow have to return

Word on the street is that Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars will be somewhat similar to Infinity War and Endgame, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The new teams with Sam Wilson’s Captain America and other prominent Avengers might lose the initial fight against Kang (Jonathan Majors). They’ll then have to reassemble and fight the villain again in Secret Wars.

Rumors say that Kevin Feige wants to pull in all the help the Avengers can get from the multiverse. That means any Marvel superhero who appeared in the MCU or non-MCU stories is fair game.

We might have Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return as Spider-Men. Similarly, various X-Men characters from the Fox movies could appear in Secret Wars. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is one of them, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) might be another. We also have Fantastic Four teams out there and the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man.

On top of that, Marvel can pull any number of Avengers variants from the multiverse into Secret Wars. That includes Earth-616 Avengers, who have died in the primary reality, like Tony and Nat. And Avengers who have retired, like Steve Rogers.

Even if the leaks aren’t accurate, it’s very likely the Avengers will need all the help they can get in Secret Wars. That’s why heroes who are dead or retired are still possibilities for the movie.

Kang (Jonathan Majors) in Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer 1.
Kang (Jonathan Majors) in Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania trailer 1. Image source: Marvel Studios

Why Marvel won’t ruin the Endgame legacy

Remember that we’re in a multiverse story where we have beings who can traverse from one reality to the next. Iron Man’s tech in Endgame is one example. And Steve Rogers does have the space-time GPS gadget on him at the end of Endgame.

Then we have The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright), who can observe the entire multiverse and act when needed. Furthermore, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) is just starting to learn how to portal between universes.

Add the He Who Remains variant of Kang to the list, and we might have another Avengers ally who can pull other Avengers from different realities. Rumors say He Who Remains will form the ultimate Avengers team to face Kang in Avengers: Secret Wars.

Because of the multiverse, Marvel can bring these characters back without ruining their arcs or the Endgame story. Marvel needs to pick up Iron Man, Steve Roger, and Natasha from points in their past that precede their deaths or retirement. You take them out of their realities for the Secret Wars fight, then bring them back to fulfill their destinies in their respective timelines.

The only problem is that Marvel needs to ensure these characters don’t die in Secret Wars. A plot gimmick will be needed for that.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Screen from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer: Samuel Wilson (Anthony Mackie) looking at the Captain America shield, with a poster of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the background. Image source: Marvel Studios

How Marvel can explain Steve Rogers’s appearance in Avengers: Secret Wars

Getting back to Steve Rogers, there is a great way to have the original Cap fight alongside his friends one more time as a relatively young 100-year-old man. And this will not steal his perfect dance with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).

Remember that the last time we saw Steve, he was an old man, bringing Sam Wilson a brand new shield from a different reality. He presumably married Peggy and had a great life with her.

But we have yet to learn what happened between the moment he left with the Infinity Stones and the Mjolnir hammer as a young man and the moment he returned as old Steve. Decades have passed for him. And Marvel fans have often asked for a story showing how Steve returned everything before reuniting with Peggy.

What if, after Steve deposits the stones and the hammer in their rightful places, He Who Remains comes to recruit him? Steve already had his mind set on retiring with Peggy when he left Earth-616. And Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) already knew that Rogers was about to “take all the stupid” with him.

Secret Wars might show us He Who Remains explaining to Steve that the only way for him to retire with Peggy is to join the Avengers in the future of the Earth-616 timeline. Only if Kang is defeated can Steve Rogers be absolutely sure that he’ll have a future with Peggy. That’s because Kang will want to rule all timelines. And fighting Kang alone isn’t an option for Steve.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dancing with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in Endgame finale.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) dancing with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in Endgame finale. Image source: Marvel

The Secret Wars Steve Rogers plot problems that Marvel needs to prevent

There are some significant caveats here. Marvel has to bring Steve Rogers to Secret Wars and ensure he lives so he can return to Peggy. And it will be challenging. After all, they’re fighting Kang, the most powerful villain the Avengers have ever faced.

The same goes for Iron Man and Nat. Marvel can snatch them from the primary realities before their deaths. But Tony Stark and Natasha then return to their Earth-616 realities to complete their journeys.

This is another, much bigger problem since they’d be aware of their imminent deaths.

But since Tony and Nat are already dead, there is another way to make their return happen. Asgardians and Wakandans go to different places in the afterlife, and we expect at least one of them to return. That’s Jane (Natalie Portman), of course. Iron Man and Black Widow must have certainly qualified for similar ascensions thanks to their heartbreaking sacrifices in Endgame.

Getting back to Steve Rogers, Marvel also needs to explain why Steve Rogers would not be able to bring the Infinity Stones or hammer with him. That’s actually an easy one. Steve is returning these artifacts to their realities to prevent those timelines from suffering negative consequences. He Who Remains might also want that from Steve Rogers.

While we’re at it, Marvel might also choose to have a certain Johnny Storm join the Avengers in Secret Wars: The version that was played by Chris Evans in the 2004 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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