WARNING: Okay, obligatory and obvious spoiler warning here. For the few that didn’t contribute to the $1 billion box office earnings for ‘Avengers: Endgame’ over the weekend, you may want to stop reading and head to the nearest theater. Really… right now… what are you waiting for?
For those who have seen the film, let’s talk about what happened to Captain America and how the Russo Brothers explain the events surrounding the First Avenger.
Time travel. While many (especially this Whovian) believe the timey whimey spacey wacey explanation of what happens when one travels back within your own timeline, the Russo Brothers have a more linear approach which you need to keep in mind when trying to wrap your head around an older Steve Rodgers appearing at the end of the movie.
If you recall, Steve was entrusted to return each Infinity Stone at the point there were taken or else the line of that particular time would branch off forming another reality that was not their own – at least according to the Ancient One. Steve was able to do just that, but instead of returning back to the present, he decided to go back in time and live out the rest of his life with his one true love, Peggy Carter. (Excuse me as I grab a tissue. Romantic endings like this get me all the time.) This has many fans wondering: Did Cap go back into his own timeline or is this love story happening in another dimension?
Well, the Russo Brothers have decided to clarify this… kind of:
“If Cap were to go back into the past and live there, he would create a branched reality.”
Fortunately, during a Q&A in China, Joe Russo further explained:
“Yes, there were two Captain Americas in that reality. It’s just like what Hulk said, what happened in the past has already happened. If you go back to past, you simply created a new reality. The characters in this movie created a new timeline when they went back to the past, but it had no effect to the prime universe. What happened in the past 22 movies was still canon.”
So apparently, according to the Russo Bros, while time is linear (according to the Jade Giant), a person can go to the past with no worries of them affecting what they have already experienced since what is happening to them while in the past is actually occurring in their present) and it doesn’t affect their personal timeline. That is, unless that Avenger decides to stay in the past within his own timeline then time will branch.
And he doesn’t stop there:
“Both the Ancient One and Hulk were right. You can’t change the future by simply going back to past. But it’s possible to create a different alternate future. It’s not a butterfly effect. Every decision you made in the past could potentially create a new timeline. For example, the old Cap at the end movie, he lived his married life in a different universe from the main one. He had to make another jump back to the main universe at the end to give the shield to Sam.”
(I’ve just developed a headache.)
So how did Steve make the jump from his married alternate life to the main one to give Sam his shield?
“Interesting question, right? Maybe there’s a story there. There’s a lot of layers built into this movie and we spent three years thinking through it, so it’s fun to talk about it and hopefully fill in holes for people so they understand what we’re thinking.”
RELATED: Before Seeing ‘Avengers: Endgame’, Here Are 10 Facts You May Not Know About The Marvel Superheroes
Could this be a tease that a ‘Captain America 4’ film could be in the works that would shed light on what happened? The only drawback with this is that Chris Evans has supposedly retired his shield so a full film with him in the lead may be off the table. However, he could come back in cameos much like how Robert Downey Jr. has as Tony Stark.
Regardless, the whole idea of Steve Rogers completing his arc is both bittersweet and satisfying.
What do you think of the Russo’s’ wibbly wobbly timey wimey explanation? While I still try and wrap my mind around this, if you have a better grasp of the whole time travel explanation, please let us know in the comments!