Avengers: Endgame Director Finally Explains That Cap Timeline Plot Hole

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While there’s no denying that Avengers: Endgame was a satisfying conclusion to the saga and a worthy follow-up to the highly acclaimed Avengers: Infinity War, the film’s narrative structure once again drives home the fact that time travel plots will inevitably contain a multitude of holes.

As you’ll remember, the Avengers confront the Mad Titan at the beginning of the pic when he’s retired from his gruesome crusade. Alas, the big bad reveals that he destroyed the Infinity Stones, meaning Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have no chance of bringing back the dusted population. Five years later, however, the team decides to give it another go after Scott Lang comes up with the idea of time travel and Tony Stark builds a model through which they can traverse the MCU’s timeline. The only catch being that they don’t really go back in time, but rather jump into an alternate timeline that’s almost indistinguishable from their own.

Fans have noted that this creates a lot of inconsistencies in the context of the plot. For instance, how was an old Cap able to show up during the final moments to pass the shield to Sam, when in fact the younger Steve Rogers went back to an alternate reality?

Viewers have come up with a number of viable explanations, of course, and co-director Joe Russo has finally given us a definitive answer. As he explained in a recent appearance on Lights Camera Barstool:

“Cap would’ve had to have traveled back to the main timeline. That’s something that yes, he would’ve been in a branch reality and would’ve traveled back to the main timeline to give that shield to Sam. In our internal logic that we defined in the room, that was the choice that we made based on everything that happened. He would’ve been in a branch reality and then had to have shifted over to this. So jumped one to the other, right? Then handed the shield off.”

Honestly, this is the only thing that actually makes sense given Avengers: Endgame‘s own rules regarding time travel, though the movie seemed to imply Steve aged naturally and arrived at that moment, which made the whole sequence a continuity nightmare for diehard fans. Still, that doesn’t explain how he managed to manipulate the Quantum Suit to return to their reality after growing old, but given the latest reports, that may yet prove to be a story for another time.