Avengers: Endgame released worldwide last week and has basically broken every record put in front of it, raking in well over $1 billion in ticket sales in that first week alone. The film currently sits at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, too, marking it as one of the most well-regarded superhero adaptations of all-time.
Even so, the final product of the aptly named Infinity Saga isn’t without its issues. Many have pointed to the use of time travel as a rather confusing element. Essentially, the Avengers go back to various points in the timeline to collect the Infinity Stones in order to bring them forward to the present and reverse the Decimation.
The problem is, they were specifically warned by the Ancient One that this could create alternate and far darker timelines. Bruce Banner assured her that the stones would be returned to the exact moment they were removed though, and the Avengers moved forward with their plan.
And that’s where things take their most confounding turn. The First Avenger himself, Captain America, is the one chosen to accomplish this task, but when it’s complete, instead of returning to the present, he chooses to go further back in time to be with Peggy Carter. The question then becomes, doesn’t this act splinter the timeline, as the Ancient One warned?
Prolific Marvel screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely recently sat down with Fandango to discuss this very problem, stating that:
“We are not experts on time travel, but the Ancient One specifically states that when you take an Infinity Stone out of a timeline it creates a new timeline. So Steve going back and just being there would not create a new timeline. So I reject the ‘Steve is in an alternate reality’ theory. I do believe that there is simply a period in world history from about ’48 to now where there are two Steve Rogers. And anyway, for a large chunk of that one of them is frozen in ice. So it’s not like they’d be running into each other.”
The pair are staunchly against the idea that Captain America choosing to be in the past with Peggy has any impact on the timeline. But it’s hard to think that such a heroic man wouldn’t try to makes some changes, especially given everything he knows.
Perhaps that’s the way the story of Steve Rogers will continue, and the MCU will grace us with a spy thriller featuring Cap swinging Mjolnir around alongside his great love, Agent Peggy Carter. All we can do now, though, is wait and see if there’ll be any lasting effects from the time travel shenanigans of Avengers: Endgame.