The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown into a behemoth force in the entertainment industry over the years. Nowhere was that more obvious than with the release of Avengers: Endgame, which briefly overtook Avatar as the highest grossing movie of all time. Endgame was universally acclaimed, giving fitting endings to both Iron Man and Captain America. Here's the story behind how the came up with Steve Rogers' final scene in the MCU, and what Peggy Carter actress Hayley Atwell thought of it.
Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame brought the biggest crossover in the shared universe's history, and also ended a number of actors' tenure in the MCU. That includes the likes of Josh Brolin, Idris Elba, Robert Downey Jr., and Chris Evans. The latter's character got to have a happy ending, while RDJ's hero famously sacrificed himself to defeat Thanos.
What Happened At To Captain America During Avengers: Endgame
After Thanos is defeated once and for all, Avengers: Endgame shows some of the fallout over the Blip and the last two movies. As promised to The Ancient One, Captain America uses the Avengers' time machine to return the Infinity Stones (plus Mjolnir) to their place in the timeline. But he returns as old Steve Rogers, with the final sequence revealing he went back in time and lived happily with Peggy Carter after completing his task.
The final moments of the film show a young Steve and Peggy finally getting their dance, seemingly without any worries in the world. Writer Christopher Markus spoke to Fandango about the idea behind Cap's happy ending, saying:
Certainly seeing Steve reunited with Peggy at the end is, you know, that is literally full circle with our time in the MCU. You know, we did First Avenger, we did the Agent Carter show in the middle, and now we got them back together at the end, and it feels right.
Points were made. Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter had a fascinating tenure in the MCU. While her only starring movie role was in Captain America: The First Avenger, she got a spinoff series Agent Carter, in addition to various cameos. Most recently she appeared as Captain Carter in Doctor Strange 2, although Atwell found that brief role frustrating. So it was a full circle moment for Peggy to be featured in the final frames of Endgame. But how exactly did the writers formulate this emotional finale for Chris Evans' hero?
How Marvel’s Filmmakers Came Up With Cap’s Emotional Finale
After seeing Avengers: Endgame in theaters, it was definitely powerful seeing the very different ways Captain America and Iron Man's stories were wrapped up. As previously mentioned, the latter died to save the galaxy, wielding the Infinity Stones and snapping Thanos' forces out of existence. But Captain America got to finally be with Peggy after years of longing for her and eventually mourning her death in Civil War.
In the same interview with Fandango, Stephen McFeely addressed the juxtaposition between Tony's noble death and Steve's well-deserved ending. He said:
We're very excited by this. If you look back at the MCU, that Steve and Tony have been on different paths towards becoming the fullest versions of themselves. And Steve's arc is about trying to find some personal life, you know? Like he's been a man for others for so long, when does he get to be a man for himself? And how is that not selfish? How is that just earned?
Points were made. Part of what makes Captain America such a tragic figure throughout the MCU is that he was ultimately a fish out of water. His loved ones had aged or died while he was frozen, including Peggy Carter. Steve Rogers never really got his own life until after the events of Avengers: Endgame, where he's able to go into the past and rest.
Stephen McFeely spoke further about the ways that Cap and Iron Man's stories were intrinsically connected, and in some ways mirroring each other. This is why their endings stand in juxtaposition to each other, as he put it:
And Tony goes from sort of self-interested playboy to a man for others. A man willing to lay his life down. And so they sort of cross in the middle in Civil War, and the natural end of those arcs seemed to be Tony laying down his life, you know, flying over the wire as it were, and Steve going and getting a life. So where we hit upon it was in order to become their best selves, Steve had to find a life, and Tony had to lose his.
Touche. This type of attention to detail is what made Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame so remarkable upon their release. On top of being massive and featuring the full ensemble of stars from the MCU, they also tell a very human story. Although Captain America and Iron Man's stories are particularly powerful.
What Hayley Atwell Has Said About Steve And Peggy’s Happy Ending
So what did Hayley Atwell think of how things went down at the end of Avengers: Endgame? On top of shooting Peggy and Steve's dance, she also appeared very briefly during the Time Heist. The Mission: Impossible actor spoke to THR about the ending, saying:
I thought it was a fitting end to a story that has affected so many people. I thought it was very endearing, innocent and wholesome in the way that it keeps those characters in their time. I thought it was quite beautiful and very tasteful of Marvel to finish this 10-year story in a very simple storyline about two human beings — and one of them doesn’t even have any superpowers. So, I thought the tone of it, to end there, after some extraordinary things of trauma, action, effects and powers… to just have two people slow-dancing was very beautiful.
I'm not crying, you're crying. It looks like Atwell as moved by Peggy and Steve's happy ending, just like the fans were when Avengers: Endgame hit theaters back in 2019. We'll just have to wait and see when she once again surprises moviegoers by appearing in the MCU.
Marvel fans are hoping that What If...? Season 2 featured Atwell's Peggy Carter, who was a big role in the first season. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.