There always existed two Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following 2023 Steve's decision to time travel to the past for a peaceful life with long lost love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), according to Avengers: Endgame screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
"Here's how we reconcile it. We think there have always been two Caps from 1945 to, say, now, and we just didn't know that. That's the loop, right?" McFeely told Backstory Magazine when asked if there were consequences or timeline ripples caused by Steve's fight against his 2012 self or his later decision to retire to the past.
"It's not Back to the Future rules, it's branch reality rules. This is not stepping on a butterfly that turns the world into Biff's casino. You can't alter your future by going back to the past. We sort of created our own time travel rules wherein, as the Ancient One says, if you remove an Infinity Stone from a timeline, that creates a branch reality."
When Smart Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) sent 2023 Steve back in time, "We think Steve went back, put all the stones back, clipped those branches," McFeely said.
"Those are fine. And after he did the last one, he jumped to 1948 and decided to stay. So, his younger self is on ice somewhere and it's only in 2011 that there are technically two Steves running around — to the point where if you were to look closely at Peggy's funeral, there'd be an old man in the back named Roger Stevens."
Asked if audiences really could spot Old Man Rogers at Peggy's funeral in Captain America: Civil War, McFeely answered, "No, no, no, no, no."
"But feel free to legally download Civil War and investigate," added Markus.
And what of Peggy, an accomplished SSR agent and later co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. who had her own life of adventures as explored in two seasons of ABC's Agent Carter?
"That dance you see takes place sometime after the second season of Agent Carter," McFeely said.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo said at San Diego Comic-Con what happened next for the retired Captain America made "lots of stories" possible.
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