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If Steve Rogers, as Avengers: Endgame has shown, never went on the ice to go to the future to form the Avengers, then the current timeline doesn't make sense. Also if he went back before he went on the ice, then what happened to the other Captain America in general?

If he went back after the past Cap went on ice then that would mean that there are now inconsistencies with Winter Soldier and Civil War where Peggy is mentioned as to have already lived a life without him.

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    Why do you think he never went on ice? – sanpaco Apr 27 at 6:52
  • It's a plot hole. If he created a new timeline then he didn't come back through the time machine. He was sitting on the bench. How did he get there if he was in a different time line? Poor quality writing. – Chloe Sep 5 at 22:51
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If you create new timelines when you change the past, the Captain must have traveled back to this one after growing old.

By universe rules,

you cannot alter current timeline (that is why they couldn't kill Thanos as a baby).

So, when Captain stayed with Peggy, he created and lived in an alternate timeline. Presumably, everything happened similarly to this one.

This is supported by this interview.

Cap did, in fact, create an alternate reality, one where he lived his life with Peggy.

Q: Peggy Carter was probably already married and in her mid-40s in 1970, in that case, what year was it that Captain America went back to dance with her?

A: We can’t answer it, for now, this is a story that happened in an alternate reality. [...] The time travel in this movie created an alternate reality. He lived a completely different life in that world. [...] If you go back to past, you simply created a new reality. The characters in this movie created new timeline when they went back to the past, but it had no effect to the prime universe. What happened in the past 22 movies was still canon.

And at some point, he had his time-line's Pym, Scott, Stark, and Banner to bring him back to this one. Or maybe he used some other method unknown to us viewers.

  • You only need to worry about creating a different timeline if your actions in the past impact any of known history. Keep in mind Endgame specifically disavows the "forking timelines" theory on which (long lost of movies) operates. – Harper May 2 at 18:08
  • @bluemoon93 this one works, I guess this time travel back wasn't shown for the dramatic effect on the park bench. But you're right he couldn't have gone back to live with Peggy in the same timeline because that would change history. We already know she wasn't married. But here Cap is wearing a wedding ring. – MovieMe May 3 at 14:05
  • @Harper Added director commentary as support – BlueMoon93 May 6 at 9:23
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In the original timeline, the Tesseract was lost in the sea, Steve stuck in ice, Howard searches for Steve and finds the Tesseract and gives it to SHIELD for research.

In Endgame, Tony takes Tesseract from SHIELD, so Steve already went under ice. So the current Steve goes back to this moment to return the Tesseract.

There are two at this moment but one stays with Peggy and one is stuck in ice.

When Fury finds Cap in the original timeline, that sequence of events continue as it is. At this moment, there is a young Steve and very much older Steve and this older Steve returns to the present. Thus completing his timeline.

There is only one Steve.

  • I have this same theory and this one only makes sense. – deepak kumar Apr 27 at 8:09
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    Except that this explanation does not abide to the rules of the universe. Previously in the movie they mentioned that you cannot alter current timeline (that is why they couldn't kill Thanos as a baby), so if old cap met with Peggy, that would create a branch and he would be sitting on a bench, waiting for Avengers in different timeline, not the one we are seeing in the movie. – Matej Drobnič Apr 29 at 22:01
  • @MatejDrobnič time travel is a can of worms. I interpreted it in the way it makes sense to me. In the way that culminates this epic journey I had been on with the characters. This interpretation of timeline gives me closure as an MCU fan. I am happy with that. You can choose the interpretation that gives you closure – KharoBangdo Apr 30 at 2:37
  • @MatejDrobnič Not necessarily. It would really be better if people would stop using the word "timelines", because the movie went out of its way to say there's only one timeline, and if you run yours off the tracks, that's the only one you get. The movie said this on at least 3 occasions. My interpretation is that anything you do in the past must be compatible with the events that shaped the world. Whether that's enforced by physics, I do not know; nobody really wanted to test that. – Harper May 2 at 18:35
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    @Harper, call it multiple realities, outcomes, possibilities or timelines. According to the in-movie rules, there is no way to change the past. Yet, Steve is able to change Peggy's past by living a married life with her. So if there is only one timeline, Steve should have not been able to change that past. Movies like Predestination and 12 Monkeys deal with "one-timeline", Endgame does not fit into that paradigm because they alter events from the past creating new rifts like a disappearing Loki. – MovieMe May 4 at 11:11
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We can expect he approached Peggy sometime around the late 1940s, and said "look, here's what happened. We can't mess with the timeline, so if we want to be together, we must be discreet about it."

Hence the unremarkable, nondescript little 1940s house.

And Peggy allowing it to be believed she made her life without him, and that this husband of hers just merely resembles a 12-years-older Steve. (since Steve has aged normally from when he was unfrozen in 2011, to 2023 when he returned the Infinity Stones).

So from 1947? until ??? there are two Steve Rogers; one frozen in the ice, one living a quiet life with Agent Carter.

In 1970, there are three: One frozen in ice, one living a quiet life, and one raiding the Army base for the Tesseract/Pym particles.

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    Ah then you have to remember the scene in Winter soldier where Steve visits Peggy before she dies. If it was Steve who married Peggy, and he died, how is this scene explained? – bobbyalex Apr 28 at 2:20
  • @bobbyalex Easily. At the time, Peggy was talking to 2014 Cap, not 2023+ Cap. She would know that she was dealing with the Cap who had yet to come back in time, and would handle him accordingly. – Harper May 2 at 18:17
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The movie doesn't give any details about what Cap did, so I don't think anyone can give an official answer yet, but I think the implication is that he went back to Peggy at some point after the original him was already frozen. They lived a (presumably) quiet life together, which probably would have required moving away from people who recognized him. That would mean there were two Caps after that point, but since the second one never did anything significant it didn't affect things. However, it's unclear how he avoided messing with the parts related to Peggy living without him; it's just not shown.

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