The following post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame. Unless you have an Infinity Gauntlet handy to wipe your mind, better not read it until after you’ve seen the movie.

The final scene of Avengers: Endgame left room for a lot of questions. Exactly where did Captain America go when he took the Infinity Stones back in time? How long did he live in the past with Peggy Carter? How did he do it for decades without anyone noticing him? Did he alter the past by doing that?

The Russo brothers explained a little bit of their intentions in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. They confirmed that Captain America couldn’t live in the past of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for decades, because doing so would have created a “branched reality” — a theory of time travel established earlier in Endgame that holds that it is impossible to change the past and that what you end up doing instead is creating alternate realities where different events take place.

Okay, so if Steve Rogers didn’t just travel back into the past — or if he did travel to the past but then created an alternate dimension as a result — how did he get back to the main MCU in the present to hand Captain America’s shield to Sam Wilson? Here’s what Joe Russo said to those queries:

Interesting question, right? Maybe there’s a story there. There’s a lot of layers built into this movie and we spent three years thinking through it, so it’s fun to talk about it and hopefully fill in holes for people so they understand what we’re thinking.

The Russos also hinted that Bucky’s aloof nature in that scene was meant to imply that he knew what Steve was doing before he did it, and that perhaps he had met this time-traveling Steve Rogers at some point in the past. This could be something explored in the upcoming television series about Falcon and Winter Soldier that’s coming to Disney+.

I am not sure this really answers the questions we have so much as it narrows them down a little. Now we know a little bit of what Marvel intended with that ending. But there’s still a lot more we don’t know — and won’t know until that Falcon and Winter Soldier show at the earliest.

Gallery — How Every Avenger’s Costume Evolved From Movie to Movie:

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