Avengers: Endgame Directors Explain the Mystery Around the Ending

Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters, and this culminating chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe delivered an equal mix of mind-bending time travel twists, and gut-punching emotional blows, right up until the very end. In fact, Avengers: Endgame's ending has been one of the most buzzed-about aspects of the film, mostly because a lot of fans can't make actual sense of it.

Warning - MAJOR Avengers: Endgame Spoilers Follow!

The endgame of... er, Endgame sees the 2014 version of Thanos from Guardians of the Galaxy travel through time to the present, in order to ambush the Avengers at Avengers Compound, and steal the fully assembled Infinity Gauntlet from their grasp. After Iron Man sacrifices himself on the battlefield to erase the threat of Thanos and his army, Captain America decides to take a page from Tony Stark's post-Snap playbook, and seek out an actual life for himself. To do that, Steve goes back in time to the Post-WWII era, to be reunited with his old love, Peggy Carter. Cap lives out the rest of his life in the past, with Peggy, and we see an elderly version of Cap show up to meet his old Avengers buddies at the moment where his younger self went into the time tunnel. Old Man Cap passes his iconic shield on to Anthony Mackie's Falcon, crowning him as the MCU's new Captain America.

The biggest questions that Marvel fans have been left with after this ending to Captain America's story in Endgame are no doubt:

  1. Based on Endgame's rules of time travel, wouldn't Steve Rogers going to live in the past with Peggy Carter create an entire separate timeline, since we know he didn't have that experience in the current MCU timeline?
  2. How does Captain America get the shield he passes on to Sam, when his own shield was shattered by Thanos, and never traveled into the past along with Cap?

Now that Avengers: Endgame is out, directors The Russo Bros. have been opening up a bit about how some time travel mechanics in the film work (more or less). According to the Russos (via Yahoo), Cap's ending was one that was always designed to spark new questions:

“If Cap were to go back into the past and live there, he would create a branched reality,” Joe explained. “The question then becomes, how is he back in this reality to give the shield away?”

That answer from Joe Russo pretty much shuts down a theory some fans have about Captain America: The Winter Soldier's scene where a dying Peggy Carter recounts her lifetime and marriage to Steve Rogers. Fans began to wonder if the mystery husband Peggy Carter referenced could be revealed to be Steve Rogers - but again, the Russos shut that possibility down with their latest comment.

Now that we know Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter's life together is in a whole new MCU timeline, the question of how Old Man Cap appears back in the MCU prime timeline, with a new shield, is probably the biggest mystery in need of solving. When Old Man Cap gives Falcon the shield, Falcon claims it feels like someone else's, to which Cap replies that "it isn't." Given what we know after Endgame, Marvel fans are already onto theories about another version of Captain America we'll meet in Cap's new timeline, whether it's in a feature-film, upcoming MCU TV series like the Falcon/Winter Soldier show and animated What If? series for Disney+.

Before Endgame hit theaters, it was revealed that the first What If...? episode will explore a timeline in which Peggy Carter becomes Captain America, and Steve Rogers becomes the first Iron Man. Now we may know exactly how and why that alternate take on events could happen.

Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel are now in theaters. Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters on July 5th.

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