Such was the enormous scale and scope of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame that even now, almost eight months after the film’s theatrical debut, we’re still poring over its many intricate layers and cute Easter eggs.
Case in point: the fate of ‘old man Cap’. Those of you out there who haven’t yet seen Endgame (in which case, why on Earth are you still reading?!), there’s a moment at the tail-end of Marvel’s three-hour juggernaut when Steve Rogers returns to the present day following a life well spent with Peggy Carter.
We’ve since learned that Steve was 106 years young (!) when he returned during the Avengers: Endgame finale – just in time to pass over the mantle and title of Captain America to Sam Wilson, a subplot that will soon be explored thanks to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series headed for Disney+.
As for the genesis of Old Man Cap, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told attendees at the New York Film Academy this past weekend (h/t ComicBook.com) that writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely always intended to explore Old Man Cap – an idea that predates even Avengers: Infinity War.
In that case it was all of the above, because we were all together in the room as it was being put together on those two movies. Those two movies were developed at the same time. And it was relatively early on, before Infinity War had even been completely written, that the idea came up – and I think it was Markus and McFeely, I don’t remember exactly – to have Old Man Steve on the bench and to hand the shield over, and to end the movie with two things. One, with Cap gone, out of the picture now, which is where he was headed, but also getting his happy ending. Getting his happy ending with Peggy and getting the dance and the date that he didn’t get at the end of his first movie.
Feige went on to outline the reasons why Old Man Cap helped dovetail the story of Steve Rogers, whose final act involved handing over that famous shield to the next generation – Sam, to be specific.
When you have an anchor of an idea like that, and you’re like, ‘We think this is the perfect ending,’ a lot of the movie can be in shambles and you’re feeling okay. Because it’s worth working on because you know where you’re headed. So most cases, it is collaborative, the way these ideas come up.
If Avengers: Endgame brought the curtain down on Marvel Phase 3 – and, by effect, the so-called Infinity Saga – then next year’s standalone Black Widow movie has been tasked with launching Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s scheduled for release in May of 2020, and follows Natasha Romanoff on her globe-trotting journey to right a few wrongs.