We recently learned that return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America. This came as quite the surprise to many, given what happened at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The character’s journey seemingly reached its conclusion. That, coupled with Evans’ comments on his tenure as the beloved superhero made it seem like we had seen the last of Steve Rogers. And while that may be true, until further confirmation is provided, there is at least one story left to tell within the MCU, should Cap come back for one last ride. Namely, we haven’t seen how he managed to return all of the Infinity Stones.
Just to recap, Avengers: Endgame concluded with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes defeating Thanos once and for all. His snap was undone. The life that was dusted away in Infinity War was returned to the universe. All was well. As part of the deal Hulk/Bruce made with the Ancient One, the Avengers were tasked with returning all six Infinity Stones to their proper places across time and space, as to not create chaotic branch realities. In the end, it was Captain America who was tasked with accomplishing this ever-important mission.
Hulk sent Cap through time to return the stones. It was a great deal of time for him and mere seconds for the audience. When Hulk tried to bring Steve back, it didn’t work. We then see an old man sitting on a bench by the lake. This turns out to be a much older Steve, who opted to stay back in time after returning the stones to live out his life with Peggy. He gifted his shield to Sam, signaling that he is the one who will take up the mantle of Captain America. The last thing we see is Steve finally getting his dance with Peggy. Happily ever after.
Endgame had a whole lot to accomplish. Several major heroes, such as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, saw their cinematic journey conclude. A complicated time heist needed to be executed. All of our dusted heroes had to be resurrected. The movie served as a conclusion to more than a decade’s worth of storytelling. It was a tall order and Joe and Anthony Russo managed to pull it off. But it took nearly three hours to do so. There wasn’t room for anything more.
This is not to say, had time allotted for it, that we needed to see the return of the Infinity Stones in the movie. But much was made of this within Endgame. It was an important element of the plot. One has to imagine there would be challenges along the way, ones that would be entertaining to watch. What would happen when Cap tried to return the Soul Stone? Would that have any bearing on Black Widow’s fate? What is it going to look like when he shows up on Asgard to bring back the Soul Stone? Is Cap going to need to go undercover as a Hydra agent again to return the Mind Stone? There is a lot of meat on those bones. Plus, Steve would get to reunite with Peggy during this quest.
There is, unquestionably, a story to tell there. While reports about Chris Evans returning noted that it was not for a new solo movie, there is an easy way around that. Disney+ is going to be home to a bunch of new live-action MCU shows, which kicked off with WandaVision recently. This quest seems tailor-made for an expensive, marquee limited series. Six Infinity Stones. Six episodes. Though getting all of the adjacent talent on board that would be needed to make the proposed show happen would be expensive and difficult, even by Disney standards. Still, if we’re getting a Secret Invasion series, this seems doable. Expensive, but doable.
It is worth noting that Chris Evans has already cast major doubt on the possibility of his return. After the news was widely circulated online, the actor reacted on Twitter by saying, “News to me.” This heavily implies the rumors of Captain America’s return have been greatly exaggerated. Be that as it may, this is certainly something that could happen, should both sides manage to come to terms. If that is accomplished, watching Cap return the Infinity Stones seems like the most logical story to pick up with.
Since many saw Avengers: Endgame as the perfect conclusion to Captain America’s arc within the MCU, it is understandable that certain fans may be hesitant to get excited about this news. It is a risky prospect. Is it worth destroying that perfect ending the Russo brothers accomplished in Endgame? Probably not. But showing us the Infinity Stone quest wouldn’t be sullying anything that has happened. It would merely be filling in a gap that already exists. Your move, Marvel.
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