The internet went into a collective tizzy when it was reported that Chris Evans was in talks to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America. Or, er, as Steve Rogers – given that the mantle of Captain America has been passed to Anthony Mackie’s Falcon.
While Evans himself responded to the story with a cryptic tweet reading “news to me”, the not-quite-a-denial has sent fans into a whirlwind of speculation about how Evans could reprise the role. If he did, it would certainly clear a lot of things up.
For instance, we’d finally get clarity on whether Cap set up a new timeline in his final moments of Avengers: Endgame by staying in the past, or if he was the husband Peggy always spoke about (and therefore, there was only one unified timeline). Of course, it’s worth remembering that this is entirely speculative, as we have no idea whether Chris Evans will return at all.
The most likely scenario, and the one that makes the most sense with the direction in which the MCU is heading, is that Steve Rogers will come from the multiverse. There are a couple of different ways this could unfold (it is the multiverse, after all).
To keep it simple, we’re going to define some terms. Firstly, there’s our-Steve, aka the Steve we all know and love who was thawed out of the ice and then, at the end of Endgame, returns the Infinity Stones to their rightful places (and has a little detour with Peggy, of course).
For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to say that the terms ‘timeline’ and ‘universe’ are synonymous. While some think it’s possible that our-Steve’s travels didn’t create an alternate universe, we think it did.
So, given our-Steve did set up a new universe by going back in time, there is the possibility that he spent his time acting as an anonymous superhero, defeating Hydra, preventing Bucky from being captured and tortured, etc. Our-Cap lives out his days happily with Peggy in this new universe.
In his old age, he uses the Quantum Realm to return to our-universe and appear at the end of Endgame, having spent his life in the other-universe, to hand the shield and mantle over to Falcon. Then, presumably, he dies.
Given everything we know – and don’t – about time travel and multiverse-hopping, there’s nothing to say that our-Steve doesn’t do the same thing again at some point in the other-universe, and come to the aid of the new Avengers in Phase 4 and 5.
He could do this either with Pym particles or through the quantum tunnel. Presumably, given the wibbly-wobbly of it all, our-Steve could leave his other-universe, help out in our-universe, and return to Peggy in the other-Universe as if he’d only been gone for a day, keeping his other-Universe intact.
Then there’s the possibility that the Captain America who turns up in our-universe’s phase 4 and 5 is another-Steve altogether. This is possible given that an entirely new universe is being set out by Loki in his Disney+ series, which branched off when Loki escaped with the Tesseract (before Steve’s return to the past and old-Steve turning up in the present).
There’s also the Cap in the ice, another-other Cap, who maybe would or wouldn’t be thawed in the other-Universe Steve created by going back in time. What’s the moral guide on leaving your other-self frozen in ice for all eternity? Would Steve be chill with that? (See what we did there!)
Of course, Scarlet Witch could always magic him up too, we imagine. Or Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness could set a new precedent that would facilitate an easier return for Steve.
Given that his rumored return role is set to be more along the lines of Iron Man’s – acting as a mentor and having cameos – hopping across timelines would be a way to achieve this in a “realistic” way, rather than trying to shoehorn him back in as a main figure in future phases.
There are a plethora of other theories: that old Cap was a Skrull, that he simply appears in newly-filmed flashback, or that old Cap gets put through the Quantum tunnel to be de-aged (a la Scott Lang in Endgame). We’d love to get a wizened Old-Cap in a Young-Cap’s body.
Whether any of this comes to fruition or not, only time (ha ha) will tell.
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