As the ensemble action of Avengers: Infinity War made evident, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting awfully crowded these days, and if Disney wants this franchise to sustain for another decade-plus, it’s evident that some Thanos-style population control is in order. Thus, next year’s Avengers 4 is expected to see some major characters purged from the series, but contrary to the Mad Titan’s plan, Disney needn’t kill their heroes to take them out of action.
This new fan theory, for example, offers a peaceful means of concluding the First Avenger’s decade-spanning story. Though Steve Rogers is usually ranked pretty high in the list of characters most expected to die in the fight against Thanos, Reddit user Rocket135 suggests that Captain America could leave this saga alive via the widely predicted device of time travel.
“We are almost certain that the main premise of Avengers 4 will be time travel. Set pictures have shown us a modern day Tony Stark with a 2012 Battle of New York Steve Rogers.
Time travel is the most satisfying end to give to Captain America. Sending him back to the 1940’s to meet Peggy, and giving him the life he never had back.
We don’t know how time travel really works in the MCU, whether it’s multiple timelines, universes, or one continuous timeline. If the latter is the case, Steve gets sent back after the events of Agent Carter and spends a quiet life with her but would pass away before 2012, so that Young Steve Rogers would wake up and meet Peggy during Winter Soldier while never meeting himself.”
As Rocket135 says, the tricky particulars of time travel logic in the MCU still need to be worked out, but if next year’s film finds a way to pull this off, it could certainly be a way of bringing Cap’s ‘man out of time’ story full circle. That being said, a quiet exit with Peggy does seem a little out of character for Steve, and perhaps wouldn’t suffice as the happy ending that this Redditor envisions. A notorious do-gooder like Rogers probably couldn’t be content leading a peaceful existence of domestic bliss while there’s still evil in the world to be challenged.
As a bonus theory, Rocket135 then briefly speculates on how the fate of the Winter Soldier may differ from that of his old friend.
“Also maybe Bucky stays in modern day and takes up the Captain America mantle because there’s nothing left for him back in the 40’s and he feels he’s found his place in the present.”
Honestly, this part of the post seems pretty plausible, even if it is just one of many fates that Marvel could have in mind for the former Hydra assassin. Ultimately, it all rests with the studio to decide how best to end (or not end) each of these arcs, and you can expect some major shakeups in the MCU when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019.