One of the more interesting aspects of the new Disney+ original The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is how the series has thus far handled the question of Steve Rogers’ fate. While it seems like the first man to carry the mantle of Captain America has passed away, no one in the series explicitly says this is the case.
He’s referred to as “gone,” but we don’t see a funeral or a body, and we don’t hear about any cause of death. Yes, he’s an elderly man by the end of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set only a few months after the events of the film.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to think he’s dead. Regardless of his status, the general public believes he’s dead, as evidenced by his appearance in the Midtown School’s “in memorial” video in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home.
There are more signs in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Would Sam Wilson go against Steve’s wishes and give up the shield unless Rogers was truly gone? Not to mention when Dr. Raynor looks at Bucky’s phone, she doesn’t mention any communication between Bucky and anyone named Steve — and you’d assume that if Steve were alive, the pair would definitely be in contact.
But there are a growing number of fans not only insisting that Steve Rogers has yet to leave the building but proposing specific ideas about where he might be and what he could be doing.
How could Captain America be alive?
A lot of fans are pulling for Steve Rogers to be alive. For example, the day The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Disney+, Texas journalist @TylisaHamptontv tweeted, “If I don’t see a funeral for Captain America….then he is not dead.”
A week later, @LiquidSenders wrote on Twitter that she thought Captain America’s death was merely symbolic:
“Steve Rogers is alive, Steve Rogers’ Captain America is ‘dead.'” The same day, professional comic book artist Kevin Maguire — whose work includes the 1991-92 Adventures of Captain America miniseries — chimed in. Addressing the reactions of Sam and Bucky to the unveiling of the new Captain America, Maguire tweeted, “the reaction I wanted to see most was from Steve. He IS still alive.”
How could Steve Rogers be alive in spite of how he’s been referenced as gone by different characters in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Well, fans in the “Cap is alive” camp, like Twitter’s @ReverseGoblin, would tell you it’s the result of a “PUBLIC COVER UP.” Steve Rogers is alive — with more wrinkles than he had at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame but alive just the same.
Supporting the idea of a cover-up is the argument that if Rogers is alive, it would actually make more sense to cover up his existence than to do otherwise. Think of the attention Rogers would draw. How many former enemies — particularly any surviving members of Hydra — would do everything they could to get revenge on an elderly Steve Rogers?
Some fans think Steve Rogers is hanging out with Nick Fury
Do you remember Joaquin Torres telling Sam Wilson about the theory that Steve Rogers is on the moon? Well, judging by their tweets, plenty of fans have decided this isn’t just a joke. Some even think it might be setting up future Disney+ series.
For example, a couple of days after the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, @ReverseGoblin tweeted their theory that “Steve is ACTUALLY on the #AgentsOfSWORD space station with #NickFury,” referencing the post-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far from Home with Fury on what appears to be a space station filled mostly with Skrulls.
@ReverseGoblin added, “I believe this will be a Plot Point In The #SecretInvasion series.” A few days later, @kn0p0w wrote a similar sentiment, tweeting, “Captain America is alive on the moon with Nick Fury and the Skrulls. Calling it now.”
While not everyone is echoing what @ReverseGoblin tweeted about the upcoming Secret Invasion, plenty of fans clearly want the old soldier to be alive and doing something beyond the boundaries of Earth.
The day The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered, @taylen_henry tweeted, “proud believer that Captain America is on the moon. not dead. nope. just chilling on the moon.” Twitter user @jiajiunnhon agreed. In a tweet that included pictures of four actors who play deceased Marvel characters including Chris Evans, they issued a correction, tweeting, “Well maybe not Steve. He could be still alive, living at the moon.”
If Steve Rogers is living on the moon or on a space station, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be visiting him in the heavens any time soon. Whether Rogers lives or not, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige shot down rumors Chris Evans would be returning as Steve Rogers in a March 2021 interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Sam Wilson may have already confirmed Steve Rogers is alive
Regardless of whether Steve Rogers is on the moon, hanging out with Skrulls, or just in a perfectly normal living room on Earth binging Matlock, a serious moment in a mostly comic scene on The Falcon and Winter Soldier may have already confirmed that Steve Rogers isn’t dead.
In episode 2 of the miniseries, Bucky is arrested and before he’s released, his therapist demands to talk to him and Sam Wilson in a police interrogation room. The scene is mostly funny until, finally, Bucky unloads his anger and disappointment at Sam’s surrendering of the shield. Sam responds, “Maybe this is something you or Steve will never understand, but can you accept that I did what I thought was right?”
Something you or Steve will never understand? That’s an interesting way to refer to a dead guy. It implies Steve might understand it at some point in the future.
Of course, this could be reading too much into a single line of dialogue. Maybe he’s speaking about Steve looking at events from the afterlife. Or maybe he says “will” instead of “would” because sometimes people use the wrong words.
But if there’s one thing we all should’ve learned from Marvel by now, it’s to never discount the little things.