As the conclusion to the so-called Infinity Saga that was the first three "phases" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame had a lot of ground to cover. The epic film not only had to resolve the events from last year's Avengers: Infinity War, but it also had to create conclusions to some characters' overall story arcs and thus close one major chapter so a new one can begin. For Captain America/Steve Rogers, that conclusion came thanks to a major decision that has divided many fans -- but it's one that the film's writers firmly defend.
Warning: spoilers for the ending of Avengers: Endgame below.
In Avengers: Endgame, after the Snap is undone, Thanos defeated, and the universe saved Captain America(Chris Evans) has one more mission to undertake. Having taken the Infinity Stones from various places in the past in order to undo the Snap, they have to be returned now that everything's over to preserve the timeline. Cap heads off to do just that but doesn't return to the film's present day as expected. Instead, he shows up on a nearby bench as an old man who lived a full and happy life. He passes on the Captain America title and his shield to Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and then fans are given a glimpse of what he did instead of coming home: reunited with his true love Peggy Carter/Hayley Atwell and finally getting that long-promised dance.
Now, there's still a lot of debate about the mechanics of the moment or how it may impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the whole but for Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, there was no other way for them to conclude the First Avenger's arc.
"We've been with Steve Rogers since his first movie and to see him finally get some measure of peace ... I mean, as upright and upstanding a character and as relatively positive as he is, he's had nothing but sacrifice," Markus told the Los Angeles Times. "He has put himself aside at every turn. And to feel that satisfaction of him finally going back and getting with Peggy and experiencing that makes me very happy."
For fans, it's a satisfying ending as well. Going into Endgame, many feared that Captain America would make an ultimate sacrifice and die in the film especially with Evans' time in the role having come to a close. However, in an interview with the New York Times, the writers explained that death was never really considered for the beloved hero. He was always going to get his happy ending.
"From the very first outline, we knew he was going to get his dance," McFeely said.
"On a separate subject, I started to lose my barometer on what was just fan service and what was good for the character. Because I think it's good for the characters. But we also just gave you what you wanted. Is that good? I don't know. But I'll tell you it's satisfying. He's postponed a life in order to fulfill his duty. That's why I don't think we were ever going to kill him. Because that's not the arc. The arc is, I finally get to put my shield down because I've earned that."
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.
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