It would seem obvious that most fans hoped for a happy ending for Steve Rogers. Going back into the past somehow to find Peggy and live the life he was denied was always the most popular option. Yet when the movie did just that, many fans were outraged. Not only did it undermine Peggy and Bucky’s stories, it created a huge plothole. Then there is the matter of Captain America, symbolically passing on his shield to Sam. If he remained in the same timeline, indicated by his appearance on that bench, then surely the shield from that timeline was destroyed by Thanos in the final battle?
Joe and Anthony Russo have finally started to speak out and address some of the biggest fan concerns.
Joe told Entertainment Weekly: “If Cap were to go back into the past and live there, he would create a branched reality. The question then becomes, how is he back in this reality to give the shield away? 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.”
This would explain that Peggy did indeed live out her full life in this reality with her original husband and two children. The Russos then continue and explain the scene with Sam. Are they suggesting he is already Captain America in the new timeline?
The idea of branching timelines would explain how the Captain has an undamaged shield. It implies his new timeline may be very different, potentially without Thanos, or dealing with his sooner or differently.
Also, in that new timeline, Cap has been ageing, so it seems he may have passed on his shield far earlier.
The clue is in that final exchange with Sam when he gives him the shield and asks: “How does it feel?”
When Sam replies, “Like it’s someone else’s,” Cap immediately adds: “It isn’t.”
Watching the film for the first time it is easy t assume Cap means the shield now belongs to Sam/Falcon.
But what if he means it actually is Sam’s, or the Sam from the new timeline?
This opens up huge possibilities, but does it also suggest the other Sam has died or that timeline no longer needs a Captain America with his shield?
ORIGINAL STORY IN EW