Avengers: Endgame shook up the MCU’s status quo so much that even six months on from the film’s release we’re still picking over the implications. One factor that’s generated a ton of debate involves Steve Rogers’ decision at the end of the movie to travel back in time and live out a happy domestic life with Peggy Carter. At first, we’d assumed that he’d simply travelled to an alternate reality, but writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have explicitly said that Rogers was living in the background of the current MCU.
This puts an interesting new perspective on a key scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Here, we see Rogers visiting the aged Peggy Carter in a hospital, where she says that her only regret is that being frozen in ice meant he didn’t get to live his life. As she spent the last few decades living a happy life alongside him though, this is a lie. But, time travel being what it is, she may have recognized that telling Rogers that he would one day return to the past might affect that ever happening.
However, she may have dropped a little hint in the same scene, when she said:
“The world has changed and none of us can go back. All we can do is our best and sometimes the best we can do is to start over.”
Now, The Winter Soldier is written by Markus and McFeely, but I think it’s unlikely that they’d decided on Cap’s fate way back in 2014 and wrote lines to tie into it. Still, it is kinda fitting that Peggy Carter’s words that “none of us can go back” and “the best we can do is to start over” have a new resonance now that we know the true story.
With rumors that The Falcon and The Winter Soldier may fill in the blanks on what Rogers was doing for all those years, we may see Peggy Carter return, too. After all, if they know that HYDRA is slowly infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., than it’s not like they’re just going to let it happen, right?