Can the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4 give Captain America a happy ending? The grand finale of Phases 1-3, Avengers 4 is expected to be a film of scale and sacrifice that's unparalleled in the MCU to date. A common theory among fans is that the ending will be bittersweet, though, and will end on a far more optimistic note for Steve Rogers.
The central theme of the Captain America movies to date has really been sacrifice. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers proved his worthiness to become a super-soldier when he dove on top of a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers. By the end of the film, he'd sacrificed his entire life in the 1940s, awakening decades later in a time when almost everyone he knew was dead. As time passed, Rogers attempted to build a new life for himself as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; but by the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he'd made the decision to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. down. Even his attempt to create a team/family in the Avengers backfired in Captain America: Civil War, with the superheroes torn apart as a result of Zemo's machinations and Steve's own desire to prove Bucky's innocence. Time and again, Steve Rogers has been called to sacrifice everything for his ideals, and he's never been found wanting. Little wonder many viewers are eager for Avengers 4 to close with him rewarded for his years of heroism.
But is it actually possible for Rogers' life to end on an optimistic note, or will he be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to defeat Thanos, the Mad Titan? Let's look at the possibilities.
- This Page: The Main Theories on How Captain America's Story Could End
- Page 2: Could Steve Rogers Really Find Peace With Peggy Carter?
Avengers 4 is Set to be Captain America's Final Film
Avengers 4 is the last film on Chris Evans's contract with Marvel Studios. Evans originally signed up for six films with Marvel; three solo movies and three ensembles. But the actor evidently found the experience of working with Marvel to be a satisfying one; he agreed to cameos in Thor: The Dark World and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and then extended his contract to cover Avengers 4. "I could have said after the third Avengers I was done," he reflected, "but they wanted to make the third and fourth Avengers films as a two-parter."
Captain America didn't ultimately play a particularly major role in Avengers: Infinity War, but according to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely that was by design. "I will say there is less Steve Rogers... than you might expect in [Infinity War]," Markus explained shortly before the film's release. "Because they are such hard-bitten people, when a threat comes, they stand there and they take the threat. They don't crack. They don't whimper. They don't start talking about all their failed opportunities. So, there isn't that much to explore, especially when you don't have a lot of time. But there's a lot later."
The cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War was a useful narrative tool to tighten the focus of Avengers 4; as it stands, the finale will celebrate the original Avengers as they work to avert or undo the snap. It's generally believed Captain America and Iron Man will essentially be the focus of Avengers 4, a "Last Hurrah" for both Evans and Downey, who are believed to be departing the MCU together. The challenge facing Marvel is how to bring these stories to a satisfying close.
What Will Happen to Captain America In Avengers 4?
Avengers 4 is set to be both Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans' final MCU film (at least for now). For Iron Man, it's possible Avengers 4 will come to an end with Tony Stark retiring, but no such option would ever be accepted by Steve Rogers.
As he observed in Captain America: Civil War, "If I see a situation pointed south, I can't ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could." That's led many viewers to believe Captain America's story can only be finished by his death in battle. A popular theory is that the Russo brothers will reproduce one of the most iconic scenes in Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet comic, in which Captain America stood alone against the might of Thanos. The Mad Titan possessed the unlimited power of the Infinity Gauntlet, and he'd already easily bested Cap's most powerful allies. In spite of that, Rogers stepped forward boldly. "As long as one man stands against you, Thanos," he observed, "you'll never be able to claim victory." Needless to say, it didn't go well for the star-spangled Avenger, but that scene has come to define Captain America for comic book readers; a hero who will face overwhelming odds, and not falter, no matter what. It's easy to understand why many are keen to see this on the big screen.
But another theory, first proposed by Eman's Movie Reviews but now building traction among fans, is that the film will end with Steve Rogers traveling back in time and finding peace with his beloved Peggy Carter. There's strong evidence that Avengers 4 will be a time travel movie, so it can work in the plot. The idea would certainly be a fitting close to Steve Rogers's character arc, a satisfying way of bringing his story full circle. It would also explain why Evans has recently been a little more ambiguous about whether or not he could ever return to the MCU; Marvel isn't above making films set in the MCU's past (as next year's Captain Marvel proves).
Page 2 of 2: Will Avengers 4 End With Steve Rogers in the Past?
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019