Steve Rogers — the quintessential version of Captain America — finally chose to “get a life” as he was so warmingly advised, in the final Avengers installment. Choosing to stay in the past for a chance at life with Peggy Carter, he followed his heart, returning to the main MCU timeline as a wise old owl archetype. With silver hair swaying in the wind atop his head, he handed his shield over to Sam Wilson/Falcon, yet Rogers kept his love story all to himself.
The writers recently revealed why Captain America could not die in Endgame; the explanation was always right in front of us, as the Rogers and Stark were on opposing character arcs — one needed to become more selfless, while the other needed to become more selfish. Stark made a personal sacrifice at the end, while Rogers, at last, put himself before otherworldly pressures. Stephen McFeely explained:
We realized over the course of the movies that Cap and Tony were on crossing arcs. Cap, who had started as completely selfless and was jumping on grenades willy-nilly, was becoming more self-interested. Not to say selfish, but if you watch Civil War, particularly, he’s making decisions based on what he wants, even if it breaks up the Avengers. And Tony started as the brash billionaire playboy, and the stakes are growing for him, the responsibility’s growing for him. We realized at one point, late in 2015, that for Steve to be his best self, he was going to have to get a life, and for Tony to be his best self, he might have to lose his.Vanity Fair
Christopher Markus then chimed in stating, “that’s why [Captain America] can’t die in this movie. Because he was willing to die in the first one. That’s not a journey.” However, now that Cap has taken his journey and returned to the main MCU timeline, what’s next? The character may be old, but he is not dead. Rather, his hero days are done. Will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier give fans full closure when it comes to Steve Rogers?
Why Steve Rogers should die off-screen in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’
As long as Steve Rogers is alive in the main MCU timeline, fans will wonder if some infinity stone magic and/or some other willy nilly technological advancement will ever bring him back to the battleground.
Choosing to keep Captain America alive in Endgame was the right move — a death in the final installment would have been an improper denoument for the character on a journey towards life-fulfillment. However, now that he has had his moment, will the writers kill him off in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, providing the final sense of closure fans deserve?
Captain America should not be left to wain in narrative limbo — presumably existing (without mention) as an old man sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and a copy of the New York Times.
If The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will take place post-Endgame, allows Steve Rogers to die as a sub-plot, fans will get to witness two men who loved him equally — at different points in his life — attempt to live up to his legacy, attempt to honor the hero who paved the way. His death would only enhance Wilson’s desire to be a version of Captain America that pays homage to his best friend.
Not to mention, Rogers’ death would likely bring Bucky and Wilson closer together, which would work for the series. Fans do not need a funeral; rather, seeing Bucky and Wilson react to the news would be enough. Stark got the funeral because it was part of his arc — emblematic of his shift to altruistic heroism. Rogers has always been an altruist who finally shifted to fulfill some personal desires; let his death reflect the more personal side of things — the reactions of his most beloved friends can be just as strong as a theatrical funeral. Let Steve Rogers go quietly, but allow his impact to be felt, allow his memory to live on in the show’s subtext.