How 'Avengers: Endgame' Can Complete Captain America's Journey

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - Hayley Atwell, Chris Evans- Photofest-H 2018
<p><em>Captain America: The First Avenger</em></p>   |   Paramount Pictures/Photofest
Peggy Carter has always been Steve Rogers' biggest loss, and now he may have a chance to correct the past.

Captain America has shaved his beard. However, that may not be Steve Rogers’ biggest moment in the trailer for the newly titled Avengers: Endgame. Through tears and desperation, Captain America (Chris Evans) has a very intimate moment that rivals Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) message to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) at the start of the trailer.

After voiceover from Captain America that says "We lost friends, we lost family, we lost a part of ourselves," he looks down at a compass that shows a picture of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). It's the same picture from 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, the one that he places on his plane’s controls to look at as he crashes into the water.

Since that film, Steve Rogers has been, like Mark Waid’s 2011 Captain America comic's title, a man out of time. The First Avenger’s ending sees Rogers running out of a hidden facility into the middle of Times Square, amid electronic billboards and modern cars, to learn from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that he’s been asleep for nearly 70 years.

That’s been the key to Steve Rogers this whole time. It has defined his character's morality, but also haunted everything he does. He's a man who has questioned what his own endgame is. The Avengers (2012) opens with a scene of Rogers in an old school gym, distressed and reflecting back on what’s happened to him. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) touches on how Rogers feels like he has no one in this world. In Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Scarlet Witch induces a nightmare in which Rogers makes his date with Peggy, until everyone disappears. Then, tragedy strikes in Captain America: Civil War (2016) as Peggy dies.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) shows us a side of Captain America where time has taken its toll. Jaded and on the run, Rogers has a viciousness and relentlessness to him in this year’s Avengers installment that he never had before. Now, after Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) snap, Rogers has another war to end.

The Avengers that are still alive — and it might not be a coincidence that all of the original gang still are — will have to find a way to bring back their lost friends and family, not just for the sake of the universe, but for the sake of those already-in-the-works sequels — Spider-Man: Far From Home being the first, and confirmed to take place after Avengers: Endgame.

This introduces the possibility of time travel. The Quantum Realm might be an avenue to that, with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) showing up at the end of the Endgame trailer, seeming to be a pivotal turn for Captain America and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). If the team were able to warp through time, perhaps Steve Rogers would be able to keep his promise to meet Peggy for that date.

The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe not only have arcs in their own movies, but also beyond them and across films. The crash that brought Steve Rogers to the present is likely the final arc he must complete.

Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who penned all three Captain America films and Infinity War, have indicated that Steve Rogers will have a big role in this film. Cap had very little screen time to consider what Peggy's death meant to him in Civil War, so he’s due for some emotional release.

The sight of Peggy Carter in the trailer hints at much more than it seems. While it wasn’t because of the infamous snap, the voiceover of "We lost friends, we lost family, we lost a part of ourselves" points to Peggy too. After all, Peggy has always been his biggest loss.

Avengers: Endgame opens April 26.