Warning: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
Steve Rogers may have gotten his Happily Ever After with Peggy Carter at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but (unlike Tony Stark) he’s not dead yet.
While we have a tendency as a society to assume that life and usefulness ends after a certain age, let it be noted that Steve Rogers finished Avengers: Endgame very much alive, albeit it at the ripe old age of 100-ish (he looks great!). Is there a chance that he could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point?
Even before the events of Avengers: Endgame, Chris Evans had been expressing an interest in departing superhero life to focus on directing and other projects for a while. His Marvel contract is up with Endgame, and the movie does put a pretty definitive cap (get it?!) on the Steve Rogers story. However, I wouldn’t say this is definitively the end of Steve Rogers’ MCU story.
There is some precedent in the comics for an older Steve Rogers to still act heroically. In recent comics, during a period when he had been aged up to his “actual” age, he was still able to act as a strategist and leader for other heroes, even when he wasn’t taking place in combat missions. It was during that time when he officially passed the mantle of Captain America on to Sam Wilson.
Not only do we have the possibility of Old Man Steve (not to be confused with Old Man Logan—though I would watch that buddy comedy) showing up in a cameo (although at the moment that seems unlikely) in the continuing story of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier TV show on Disney+, but now that time travel has been properly introduced to the MCU, the possibilities are endless.
With all of the potential brought to light by the introduction of time travel to the MCU, we could meet earlier or alternative versions of our favorite characters or even that time itself could be rewritten (though the latter is a particularly risky venture, given the Thanos of it all and Doctor Strange’s notes on the Avengers’ post-snap odds). There is still much of Steve’s life that hasn’t been accounted for, including any potential adventures or side missions he may have gone on while returning the Infinity Stones to their correct place in history or the decades he spent in the past with Peggy Carter.
You cannot convince me that Steve spent that whole time while his wife was running SHIELD “doing nothing.” He may not have been able to actively change history in the form of rooting out Hydra within SHIELD or saving Bucky from his years serving the wrong side as the Winter Soldier (um, or did he?—time travel is confusing), but there are plenty of other ways to make a difference in the world, and Steve has always been one to use his power and privileges to help the most vulnerable among us.
“If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.”
There’s no way the guy who said that to Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War solely played house husband (though this is an important, gender-subverting role!) for 70 years.
The MCU doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Chris Evans may want out on the superhero life right now, but let’s check back in with him five, ten, or even 15 years down the road. Meet you there? I’m going to take the old-fashioned way, a la Steve, but feel free to pop through the Quantum Realm.