Avengers: Endgame is done and dusted. Even all the interviews have died down now. But we’re still gonna continue talking about the movie anyway because it was the biggest movie of all time and it left us all a bit confused with its ending. The fact that the directors and the writers have different opinions upon a particular scene is even more puzzling. Yes we’re talking about that one Captain America ending which is probably the most discussed topic of the movie.
The writers and directors set up a convoluted ending for Steve Rogers. He went back to the past in order to return the Infinity Stones to the exact moment from where they were taken from. This would have clipped all the nasty alternate branched timelines that were created due to the stones being taken away from their original locations in time. But, what confused people was what Cap did right after that. He stayed back in the past with the love of his life and came back as an old man after having lived an entire life with Peggy.
So, people have been asking whether Captain America created an alternate timeline by staying back in time, or was he somehow a part of the same timeline that we’ve been pursuing over the years. The writers claim something, while the directors say something else. Avengers: Endgame established that if you go back in the past and change it in any way, it doesn’t affect our future. Instead, it will create an alternate reality and that’s exactly what Captain America did. He went back, and lived a life with Peggy having created an alternate timeline that had 2 Captain Americas – one in the ice and one with Peggy.
He didn’t intervene with anything that happened throughout time. He didn’t save Bucky from Hydra, he didn’t prevent the assassination of the American President and he never stopped Bucky from killing Howard Stark. All he did in this timeline was live a happy retired life with Peggy, and then jump back to the original timeline which he came from right when Peggy died. He does this in order to pass on the mantle to Sam. This is what the directors Joe & Anthony Russo preach.
But the writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, believe something else. They’ve always said that right from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they were setting up Captain America to be the mysterious husband of Peggy Carter. In Winter Soldier when Steve goes to meet old Peggy Carter in the hospital, she says “The world has changed and none of us can go back. All we can do is our best and sometimes the best we can do is to start over.” She also says that “even after he died, Steve was still changing my life.”
So, this whole statement that Peggy formed here was to conceal the real truth from Steve. And the truth was that Peggy was married to Steve the entire time, and if she had revealed the truth then none of the things which happened in the future (Endgame) would have actually happened. This is what happened according to the writers. They always intended for Steve to be the secret husband of Peggy within the same timeline.
The writers even claim that both Old man Steve and young Steve were present during Peggy Carter’s funeral. And, old Steve knew when his younger version would go back in time to return the stones, so he patiently waited for that moment and finally met Sam Wilson on the bench.
To suffice things, what I’m saying is that instead of creating the new alternate timeline which the directors believe Steve did, the writers say that he somehow lived his life in the same timeline that we have been pursuing. But according to the rules of time travel in the MCU, the writers would have to be proven wrong, and the directors should be right.
What if there is a common ground here? What if we can fix things by giving both pairs of the creatives exactly what they want? Look at things in this way – The MCU itself is an alternate timeline or a branched reality! Imagine that there is another timeline exactly like the MCU. The events of that timeline happen exactly like they did in the MCU. But the only difference in that timeline and the MCU is that that Steve wasn’t Peggy’s husband.
In that timeline, everything that has happened till date within the MCU happened, but Steve’s decision to go back in time and live with Peggy Carter created the MCU itself! Now in the MCU, there have always been 2 Captain Americas, Steve from the future has been the husband of Peggy the entire time while another version of Steve was in the ice. The most important factor of the MCU is that Steve’s story is now tied in a time loop.
Now in the MCU, the Steve Rogers who was found in the ice would wake up and meet old Peggy Carter, who is the wife of his future self. Then he reaches Endgame, and go back to the past to Peggy Carter in order to live with her. And now, he won’t create an alternate timeline because in the MCU, Steve was the husband of Peggy Carter the entire time. The MCU becomes a time loop, and both the writers & directors get what they want. The rules of time travel don’t get broken & the writers live their fantasy.