Warning: Major, MAJOR spoilers ahead for the ending of Avengers: Endgame.
It seems too good to be true, but the powers at be at Marvel actually gave us exactly what we wanted: a happy ending for Captain America in Avengers: Endgame. Since Chris Evans’ contract expired with the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three of films, we knew we were going to have to say goodbye to Captain America by the end of Endgame. But we were afraid that meant he would die tragically in battle with Thanos during the film. What we got was almost too good to be true, because Marvel actually gave Cap the happy ending he deserved after almost a decade of movies. But what exactly happened to Captain America in Endgame and how did his ending even work? Let’s break it down!
No, Captain America Didn't Die
To recap: The Avengers successfully got all the Infinity Stones, thanks to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) sacrificing herself in exchange for the Soul Stone. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) snapped his fingers while wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, bringing everyone who had been dusted in Infinity War back from the dead and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sacrificed himself to snap the Gauntlet again and dusted Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his whole army of bad guys. Everything was finally fixed… except for the promise that Bruce made to The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) to return the Infinity Stones had to be returned to the specific points in which the Avengers had taken them while time traveling so they didn’t create new, even darker timelines.
How Captain America Became Old In Endgame
Cap volunteered to go back in time and return each of the six stones to their rightful places. But when he was supposed to return from his time travel trip just a minute after he disappeared, he never reappeared. While Bruce and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) freaked out over whatever had gone wrong, it was Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who quietly turned away and noticed the old man calmly sitting on a tree stump nearby. It was almost Buck knew exactly what his BFF had planned and had already accepted it.
The old man was actually Cap, aged at least 50 years, wearing a wedding ring and seemingly happier than he had ever been. It turned out that Cap never planned to return after replacing all the Infinity Stones in the past. But as we saw in the beginning of the movie, Tony Stark's invention allowed the Avengers to choose where in time they wanted to go, and for how long, which is how Cap used the Pym Particles to take one last trip to his own past and stay there, likely in 1945 just after he had disappeared.
He got married and lived a full life in his own era. The wedding ring on his finger tipped Sam off that Cap had actually found real happiness, but Cap didn’t spill any details. The final scene of Endgame, however, confirmed that Cap reunited with the love of his life, Peggy Carter, and they finally had their dance.
Is Sam The New Captain America?
Oh yeah there's that: with Cap passing his shield to Sam (Anthony Mackie), his legacy still lives on.
Why Captain America's Final Avengers Scene Works
Cap’s happy ending brought his journey completely full circle from his first movie, Captain America: The First Avenger. By the end of that film, he essentially sacrificed his life and happiness to save the world, going down with the plane full of Tesseract-enhanced weapons and bombs into the Arctic so they wouldn’t detonate. He spent the next 70 years in a block of ice only to reawaken in modern times, separated from the love of his life, his friends and his entire life. And going back to 1945 and staying there doesn’t undo anything that Captain America has accomplished with the Avengers since waking up in our era, since that’s still Cap’s past. He just chose to live out the rest of his future back in his own time, reclaiming the life he lost.
With Endgame introducing new rules of time travel, changing the past doesn’t change the future. And now Cap’s happy ending is confirmed: he lived to be an old man with the woman he loves. We can’t think of anyone who deserves that more.