MCU Phase 4 has raised some big questions about exactly what happened to old Captain America after Avengers: Endgame, including a rather sad one: is Steve Rogers dead? Captain America’s story ended Playoffs, but his legacy lives on. Most relevant, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier followed directly after Steve’s Playoffs end – more specifically the climactic moments when an old Captain America handed over his shield to Sam Wilson. Steve got his happy ending with Peggy Carter – apparently on a different timeline, though that’s a point, even Playoffs‘s directors and writers did not agree – but viewers do not get to see what ultimately becomes of him.
While Falk & Winter Soldier never confirmed anything, Captain America’s legacy weighed heavily over the show, and especially Sam. The show started with him giving the shield back and turning away from the cloak before finally coming to terms with what it means to be Captain America, including putting on a new costume and taking on the personality properly. So the MCU has a new cap, but it’s clear that the world does not know what happened to the old Captain America after Playoffs.
What is not so clear, however, is where Cap went or what he did after giving the shield to Falcon. Is Captain America dead, or did he continue to live his more peaceful life? Did he go back to the second timeline that he apparently came from, or had he perhaps … gone to outer space? Falk & Winter Soldier teased several options about what happened to Steve Rogers after Avengers: Endgame.
How old is Captain America at the end of the playoffs?
When examining what happened to Steve Rogers, it’s worth looking at how old Captain America is at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Steve was, fittingly, born on July 4, 1918, while the events of Playoffs primarily take place in late 2023, after the five-year time jump. That would make Captain America 105 years old Avengers: Endgame, even before he took into account that he went back in time and then lived a new life without being frozen along with Peggy Carter. Add his second chance with Peggy, who started when he went back to 1948, then Captain America is 180 years old at the end of Playoffs.
Is Captain America Dead After Avengers: Endgame?
It is clear that the old Captain America is not active in any way, nor is his whereabouts known to anyone other than Sam and Bucky. This allows Steve Rogers to truly die, which would fit in with the worship service held in his honor as a new Captain America exhibit opens at the Smithsonian, centered around his shield. Corresponding Hawkeye introduced Rogers: The Musical, mens Spider-Man: No Way Home showed off the new Statue of Liberty, now with Captain America’s shield. Steve remained fairly humble until the last and absolute anti-propaganda, so if he was alive and still in MCU’s main timeline, he probably would not allow any of them to move on, further supporting the idea of Captain America’s death after Playoffs. But while he is 180 years old, the combination of being frozen for decades and super soldier rooms gives him both the physical age of a much younger man – with an estimate, probably around 75-80 years old, and he does not seem to have poor health or weak Playoffs, which may mean that Captain America lives on in MCU for a few more years.
Is Old Captain America back in hiding after the playoffs?
Perhaps more likely than Steve Rogers died after Avengers: Endgame is that after handing over the shield to Falcon he went back into hiding. After Captain America: Civil War, where he opposed the US government’s rules for the Sokovia agreement and later broke prisoners out of the navy, Steve went into battle with Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson and formed the Secret Avengers. While carrying out secret missions, they probably also had to lie low for long periods in various corners of the country and even in the world. It is known that Steve spent at least some time in Wakanda, but not many other details about his time have been revealed, and certainly not on screen. Steve probably has a lot of contacts, and so if he wanted to stay in that timeline, he probably would have no trouble finding a place – maybe even Wakanda himself – where the old Captain America could go into hiding again and live his days peacefully.
Could Steve Rogers have skipped the timelines again?
To go with the idea that Steve’s time with Peggy Carter was in a different timeline, then it means that he somehow had to find a way to jump back to the main timeline in Avengers: Endgame (something Joe Russo has confirmed has happened). After that, it is not entirely out of the question that he still had more Pym particles left and was able to bounce back, though that is probably a little more unlikely. It’s not sure how different the second timeline was, but the implication is that Peggy still died around the same time, so it’s not like Steve would return to her. It’s similarly unknown what kind of life Steve had on the other timeline – obviously a full and happy one with Peggy, but if he were to remain in secret all the time, then there might be no need for him to return, except , of course, unless he wanted to live out his days in the home he had built with Peggy.
Given how complicated the idea of Captain America himself switching back to one timeline is, let alone crossing back, it seems more of a stretch. Loki and the introduction of TVA (which acts on behalf of He Who Remains) further complicates this, as it raises the question of why Captain America was allowed to change timelines – and thus have an uncut branch – when no one else was. Maybe Steve’s noble intentions and inherent goodness gave him a pass, maybe it’s because it was considered part of the proper flow of time, or maybe it’s because he really closed the branch where old Captain America returned to the sacred timeline after Avengers: Endgame.
Captain America Moon Theory
Finally, Falk & Winter Soldier put forward another theory of what happened to Captain America after Avengers: Endgame: he is on the moon. When Sam spoke to his future Falcon successor, Joaquin Torres, the latter mentioned that several conspiracy theories about Steve Rogers’ whereabouts have emerged, including the idea that he is on a secret base on the moon. The comment is very overtly ridiculous and meant as a playful joke, but it could at least be a hint of something to come. As shown in previous MCU movies, there is life on other planets, and in the same time frame Falk & Winter Soldier takes place, Nick Fury is up in space and running his own operation (which is either the real SWORD or something similar). In Marvel Comics, meanwhile, Inhumans had a base on the moon.
Even with all that, it is very unlikely that after Avengers: Endgame, old Steve Rogers strangely enough decided to take a one-way trip to the moon, but as for example Mysterio, which claims to be from MCU’s multiverse, there are often grains of truth in most things in MCU. So while it may not be Steve Rogers, it may be for something. Truly, having so many options for where Steve is and what happened to the old Captain America after Avengers: Endgame playing in Marvel’s hands. By not committing to the death of Captain America or anything else, it at least leaves the door ajar to do more with old Steve in the future. There may be no plans for Chris Evans to return as Captain America, but if that should happen, it’s easier to have a blank board to work with, instead of confirming that Steve Rogers is dead – or on the moon.
Next: Marvel Retconned Avengers: Endgame’s Biggest Captain America / Bucky Problem
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