The Reason Captain America’s Fate Was Left Undetermined in ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Avengers: Endgame bid farewell to two of the franchise’s founding fathers: Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. While Iron Man sacrificed himself for the good of all humankind, Captain America decided to spend a little time with Peggy Carter in the past. He “got a life,” as suggested, and returned to the present timeline as an elderly man. He then relinquished the shield to Sam Wilson’s Falcon, setting up The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

Chris Evans star of Captain America
Chris Evans arrives at the Premiere Of Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While Iron Man’s future in the present timeline is inexistent, Steve Rogers is still alive; he may be old, but his mind is intact, and he seems to have a few good years left in him. So, what’s next for Captain America? What happens off-screen? Did he have a family with Carter? Does he advise young heroes from the sidelines and sign autographs at baseball games (making up for the fact that he never signed Agent Coulson’s Captain America cards)? 

Captain America’s fate was left up to the audience on purpose, as such a narrative decision retains the film’s relevance long past its premiere; fans will debate over intriguing yet unanswerable paradigms for years on end. The writers recently explained this choice. 

‘Avengers: Endgame’ writers on the Captain America mystery

In a recent interview, writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus revealed that Captain America’s fate was designed to be ambiguous, as We Got This Covered notes. The writers argued:

Those are unsatisfied questions. Those are intrigued questions. I’m delighted at people still chewing over this thing. You know, if it’s ‘That’s stupid and I don’t like it and I’m talking about it because it was dumb’, that’s one thing. But if it’s, ‘I honestly don’t know, and it’s kind of cool to think about’, that’s great.

Theories surrounding what happens next to Steve Rogers continue to circulate the internet, and the movie premiered over seven months ago! In other words, this very facet has kept the fanbase magnetized to the saga and the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe concerning Phase 3. The writers made this choice, as it fits with Roger’s narrative arc, yet also creates a way for the character to live on forever — in debates and discussions — thought experiments — that are simply enjoyable for enthusiasts. 

Captain America’s permanence – or the illusion of such — will keep fans guessing for years and, maybe one day, he will die off-screen; however, until that point, fans will eat up every inclination that he has done something off-screen to influence the new saviors, every reference a character makes back to him, every moment reminiscent of his leadership, and so on. One of America’s greatest heroes gets to literally and metaphorically live on forever (as of now). 

Tony Stark had to die, as he had to grow into the selfless savior; Captain America had to live, fully coming to own his identity and personal reasons for existing; he deserves more time (on or off the screen) before he says his final goodbyes.