Warning - This article contains spoilers for the fifth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier .
In many ways, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is essentially the fourth installment in the Captain America franchise — except for the obvious omission of Chris Evans' Steve Rogers. The blockbuster Disney+ show has demonstrated the true legacy of the patriotic superhero mantle, exploring its significance on America and the world as a whole.
The series' latest episode finally saw the former Falcon Sam Wilson wield the iconic shield to become the MCU's next Captain America . But many fans are still wondering what exactly happened to the last star-spangled man Steve Rogers after he was shown aged into an old man in the concluding moments of Avengers: Endgame .
Despite having been a significant part of Sam and Bucky's lives, as well as his lifelong partner Peggy Carter having already passed away in 2016, Steve has been totally absent during the John Walker debacle .
While the series has yet to provide a definitive answer to that question, the latest episode “Truth” suggested the first Avenger may be gone for good.
IS STEVE ROGERS GONE FOR GOOD?
During Sam Wilson's training with the iconic Captain America shield in the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , he and Bucky took a pause to have a heart-to-heart conversation.
The moment proved to be a key one for revealing Bucky's mental state regarding his position in the modern world as he describes the shield as “the closest thing [he's] got left to a family.” Bucky explains that much like Steve Rogers once did, he is trying to find his place in the world. Barnes revealed that he's been using Rogers' notebook in the hope that “it'd work for [him]” like it did Steve:
“Whatever happened with Walker, it wasn't your fault. I get it. It's just, that shield's the closest thing I've got left to a family. So when you retired it, it made me feel like I had nothing left. Made me question everything. You, Steve, me. You know, I've got his, uh, I've got his book. And I just figured if it worked for him, then it'd work for me.”
In response to Bucky's explanation of his struggle to find his place in the new world, Sam offered some heartfelt wisdom while commenting on Rogers' current position saying that “Steve is gone” :
Sam: “I understand, man. But Steve is gone.”
Sam: “And this might be a surprise, but it doesn't matter what Steve thought.”
WILL THE OLD CAPTAIN AMERICA EVER RETURN?
An exhibit shown in the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier referred to Steve “retiring and laying down his shield” to honor the sacrifice of Tony Stark. So far, no indication has been provided suggesting that Steve died in retirement between his last appearance and the Disney+ series , so where exactly is he to be described as “gone?”
In the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame , Captain America traveled back in time to return the Infinity Stones and live out his life with Peggy Carter. Following this, an aged version of the retired hero is shown in the modern-day, having lived out his middle-aged and elder years with the love of his life.
By the time travel rules of the MCU, this alteration should've created an alternate reality in which Steve enjoyed his life with Peggy outside the main timeline shown on screen. This could potentially indicate that Steve may have taken a multiverse-hopping trip to offer Sam his shield in Endgame , before returning to the "alternate" universe he had inhabited with Peggy for several years.
Marvel's decision to leave the current whereabouts of Steve Rogers out of the series is a curious one, although there is still one episode left to finally answer that question. John Walker actor Wyatt Russell recently hinted Chris Evans may make an appearance before the credits roll on the finale, so fans may still get the answers they're looking for.
It's entirely possible Steve is hiding out somewhere in the world enjoying his elder years, while Sam and Bucky are simply choosing to respect his retirement by leaving him in peace. However, if Rogers is still around, it can be assumed he wouldn't exactly be happy to see someone as unstable as John Walker parading around with his shield and even using it as a brutal murder weapon.
Logically speaking, Steve Rogers would come out of hiding to offer advice to Sam and Bucky, or to give the US government his thoughts on John Walker taking up his mantle. However, it's hard to imagine Marvel Studios signing Chris Evans to another contract so soon after his departure from a brief appearance in the climactic finale.
Reports have been circulating for some time now that Evans was in talks to make a return to the Marvel universe down the line . While these claims have been refuted several times , the initial claim comes from Deadline who is generally an extremely reliable source in Hollywood.
If the original Captain America were to make a return, it's hard to imagine it being in more than a cameo capacity, at least in the short term. Down the line, after Evans' MCU departure is less fresh, a larger scale role may be more on the cards in a future Avengers blockbuster.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will drop its final episode next Friday, exclusively on Disney+.