Avengers: Endgame had a lot going on. This isn’t news to anyone–the MCU Phase 3 finale was responsible for wrapping up a whole slew of character threads and plotlines as many of Marvel Studios’ A-list stars finished their contracts and stepped aside from their decade-long commitments as major characters in the franchise. For some, like Tony Stark, this meant dying in an extremely straightforward way. For others, like Steve Rogers, things were significantly more convoluted.
In case you need a refresher, the ending of Steve Rogers’ journey in the MCU involved time traveling back to the 1940s to finally get that dance he was promised with Peggy Carter way back in Captain America: The First Avenger. Then, after apparently having led a full life entirely off screen, he comes back to the present to hand off the shield to Sam Wilson and, presumably, either go back to his life in the past or, you know, die or something. We can’t really say. Written out in so few words, it might actually sound kind of straightforward–the whole “go back in time to reconnect with a lost love” trope happens on the semi-regular, after all–but Endgame’s own internal time travel logic (and Steve Rogers’ story through the other six MCU movies he was in before Endgame) provoked some big questions about timeline paradoxes and basic character development.