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Captain America (Chris Evans) decided to give up his superhero mantle and pass the shield onto Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but that doesn't necessarily mean the world's First Avenger is finished in the MCU forever. The real question on everyone's mind, however, is how old Cap (he got to spend a lifetime with Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter) ended back up in the regular timeline.
During a spoiler-heavy discussion about the movie on The Empire Film Podcast, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo teased the answer may be explored somewhere down the road.
"That could be a story for another time," Joe said. "It's something that we'll be explaining, perhaps, at some point."
"In order for that to be, according to the rules of the movie that we set out, there's some missing story that, obviously, we're not getting in the film," Anthony added. "We don't really want to delve into that missing story. The great thing about the MCU is anything that doesn't show up onscreen, anything that doesn't become text, is fodder for future storytelling."
Indeed, some have speculated that Captain America could pop up in the live-action Loki series on Disney+, as Steve needs to return all of the Infinity Stones to their proper time periods, lest he risk branching timelines with dire consequences. Part of his quest involves the Space Stone Loki (Tom Hiddleston) absconded with during the Time Heist portion of Avengers: Endgame. Only time will tell, though.
Another interesting tidbit from the two-hour, nine minute podcast came from the Endgame screenwriting duo of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Said tidbit involved the budding romance between Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) kicked off at in Age of Ultron that never really panned out.
"We certainly tried to [wrap up that thread]," said McFeely. "In Infinity War, we have scenes — wrote em', shot em' — of them sort of hashing that out. [Natsha says,] 'You've been gone, I've moved on,' that kind of stuff. It became very clear [that] if a scene was not on the A plot, it could not survive Infinity War. That thing has to be on rails just to get to the finish line. You couldn't wrap up loose threads just because you wanted to."
That deleted moment looks to be hinted at the 26-second mark in the very first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, which debuted online in November of 2017. In any case, Natasha (who eventually gives up her life for the Soul Stone) couldn't have been expected to wait around for Bruce as the Hulk went off into space, only to end up on Sakaar as the Grandmaster's top warrior.
Even with Endgame clocking in at over three hours, giving them more time to do what they wanted with the characters, Markus and McFeely still didn't feel it was right to explore Bruce and Nat's relationship, particularly because Banner turns into the hilarious (and gigantic) Professor Hulk. Such an outcome would have raised awkward questions...if you catch our drift, dear reader.
"He was smart Hulk in this movie and it did seem a little odd, in the midst of everyone's mourning and his change to a 2,000-pound genius, to go, 'And they're dating,'" Markus continued.
"We thought it would be more elegant not to address that," finished McFeely.
Avengers: Endgame is currently playing in theaters.