Avengers: Endgame served as the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, which launched back in 2008 with Iron Man. Chris Evans debuted as Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger, becoming a key figure in the franchise alongside Iron Man and Thor. Prior to Endgame's release, Evans was vocal about this being the last time he would play the character, due to not only having fulfilled his contractual obligations but also due to his desire to pursue new projects. While some fans thought this meant that Steve Rogers' demise was a certainty, directors Joe and Anthony Russo recently detailed how, were he to have died, the film would have been a dreadful affair for fans.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Avengers: Endgame
Rather than depict the death of Steve Rogers, fans instead saw him travel back in time to reunite with Peggy Carter, appearing at Tony Stark's funeral as an old man who had lived a full life. Given Stark's demise, the directors felt that killing both heroes would have been too depressing.
“Once you kill a beloved character like [Tony], you've got to have hope at the end of the movie in some regard, and the only person to give you that hope is the other co-lead,” Joe Russo shared with the Empire Podcast. “Had we killed both the leads, I feel like people would have been walking out into traffic after the film. The intention is not to destroy people, it's to hopefully tell a complex and dimensionalized story in a way, that makes them feel a varied range of emotion.”
The film's finale saw Rogers handing the shield over to Sam Wilson, who will likely take up the mantle of Captain America as the MCU moves forward. As far as rebooting other dead characters, we shouldn't count on that happening anytime soon.
"It's the nature of the MCU,” writer Christopher Markus noted. “It's not a place where you can reboot one and suddenly Iron Man is 15 years old and everyone else is still the same age. The characters have to pass out, and the universe has to still stand. So if you're going to take people off the board, they've got to go for real. Granted, these are movies. I understand that somebody has made some kind of announcement that has the word 'Vision' in it, so I mean..."
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now. Stay tuned for details on the future of the MCU.
Are you glad that Steve Rogers didn't die in the film? Let us know in the comments below!