The final scene of Avengers: Endgame is a big talking point for those who’ve seen the film for many reasons. First, it’s a hugely emotional ending to Captain America’s story, as it’s revealed that he travelled back in time to live out his life as he should have done the first time around, with Peggy Carter. Aside from that, though, it sort of breaks the rules about time travel that the movie previously establishes.
For one, how can Old Man Steve be sitting by a lake in this timeline when he just went back and changed history, thereby creating a new branch of reality? Is this a plot hole, or do the filmmakers have an explanation for it? Well, the answer turns out to be the latter, as screenwriters Markus and McFeely have confirmed that Old Cap travels over to the prime timeline to appear in Endgame‘s final scene.
The Russo brothers have now reiterated this point as well while speaking to Entertainment Weekly. Although, Joe also suggested that there’s a greater mystery here that could be explored in a future installment in the MCU.
“If Cap were to go back into the past and live there, he would create a branched reality. The question then becomes, how is he back in this reality to give the shield away?”
Russo went on to tease that there are many “layers” to the narrative of Endgame, as it’s been in the works for so long, that could potentially lead somewhere else down the road. In fact, he even teases that “maybe there’s a story there,” which may be a hint that we could see another Captain America movie which explores it.
“Interesting question, right? Maybe there’s a story there. There’s a lot of layers built into this movie and we spent three years thinking through it, so it’s fun to talk about it and hopefully fill in holes for people so they understand what we’re thinking.”
Another mystery about this scene is that Bucky isn’t anywhere near as shocked by the sudden appearance of an elderly Steve as Sam is, implying that he might have an inkling about what his friend had planned when he went into the Quantum Realm. The Russos heavily hinted this was the case, too, pointing to his final words to Cap as evidence.
“Especially when he says goodbye. He says, ‘I’ll miss you.’ Clearly he knows something.”
Fans seem split on whether Cap’s goodbye was the perfect ending for the character or ruined the movie, but it’s nice to hear that the Russos seem open to the idea of possibly exploring more of the hero’s story post-Avengers: Endgame. Whether that’ll happen or not, we can’t say for sure, but without a doubt fans would be all for seeing what Steve got up to while living in the branched reality. As Russo says, “there’s a story there.”