Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are happy audiences continue to debate the nature of Captain America's ending. By now, most viewers know that after Steve Rogers returned the Infinity Stones to their rightful places, he decided to go back to the past and finally share his long-awaited dance with Peggy Carter. Steve lived out a full, peaceful life, coming back as an old man in 2023 to pass the Captain America shield to Sam Wilson. Just about everyone's in agreement this was the ideal sendoff for Steve, but there's confusion over the logistics.
Ever since Endgame premiered, fans have pondered if Steve travelled to an alternate reality to be with Peggy, or if he stayed in the prime MCU timeline. Both have canon-altering implications, and a straight answer has yet to be revealed. Even Endgame's creative team can't agree on what happened, which is frustrating for those who eagerly want to know. But if their latest comments are any indication, Markus and McFeely are fans of the debate, and they won't be resolving it any time soon.
Speaking with Vanity Fair about Endgame, the two were asked for their thoughts on the discussions surrounding Captain America's ending, which have gone on for months. Rather than pointing out something that could clear things up, they admitted they love seeing this aspect endlessly debated:
McFeely: Oh, its great!
Markus: Yeah, that’s fine. Those are unsatisfied questions. Those are intrigued questions. I’m delighted at people still chewing over this thing. You know, if it’s “That’s stupid and I don’t like it and I’m talking about it because it was dumb,” that’s one thing. But if it’s, “I honestly don’t know, and it’s kind of cool to think about,” that’s great.
While it's baffling Endgame's own directors and writers don't see eye-to-eye on the matter (for what it's worth, Markus and McFeely intended Steve to be Peggy's unseen husband), the ambiguity does allow individual viewers to decide on their preference and accept that explanation. In some respects, it's similar to the Inception ending; it's fun to debate the finer points (was Cobb dreaming or not?), but that loses sight of the larger picture. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter if Steve went to an alternate timeline or the prime past. It was extremely cathartic to see him with Peggy, paying off The First Avenger's devastating "I had a date" ending eight years later. That's the whole point of the scene. Steve finally got what he wanted and deserved.
Though Chris Evans hasn't definitively closed the book on a possible MCU return, Markus and McFeely believe the actor coming back would retroactively hurt Endgame. With that in mind, it's unlikely any future projects in the franchise touch on Captain America's ending, which is probably for the best. Even for Marvel (who's pulled off plenty of unprecedented things before), it'd be a tall order to find a compelling narrative reason to bring Steve back into the fold. And with the MCU continuing to expand with new characters and sub-franchises, there's no need to lean on Captain America like a crutch. Most viewers would probably be fine if the creatives didn't touch this and let Steve be at peace.
Source: Vanity Fair