Where in the world is Steven Grant Rogers? That’s the question on everyone’s lips in the first episode of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and we’re not likely to get an answer anytime soon. The series follows Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s titular heroes as they deal with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, as well as a new threat in the form of a terrorist organization named the Flag Smashers. In the show’s first episode, Sam grapples with the shield left to him by Steve — which he says feels “like it belongs to somebody else” — and faces inquiries about his predecessor’s location. Although Sam manages to joke around, deflect, and step around the question, there’s no doubt that Steve’s whereabouts are going to be a looming question as the season goes on. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as cut and dry as people would like to hear.
For a quick refresher, Steve survived the final battle against Thanos and company in Endgame. He got Sam and Bucky back, and even got to wield Mjolnir for a bit. In the end, Steve volunteered to bring the Infinity Stones back to their own timeline using the remaining Pym Particles. Hulk, Sam, and Bucky stick around to await his return and panic when he doesn’t come back in the designated time. It’s then that Bucky and Sam notice an older man sitting by the lake nearby, who turns out to be Steve, who has aged a good 100 years or so. Older Steve tells him that he used his last time jump to marry the “love of his life,” Peggy Carter. He lived a long and happy life with her and came back to pass on the Captain America mantle to Sam. He jokes that he finally went and “got a life,” just like Tony was always telling him.
Because the time travel of Endgame can be very confusing, simply put, the 2023 version of Steve left his timeline to start a new one where he married Peggy and lived a long, happy life with her. He journeyed back to his original timeline to pass on the shield. He could have then done one of two things: returned to the timeline he created to marry Peggy or stuck around in his original timeline. If he did the former, it means that there is no Steve Rogers in the current MCU timeline and, he’s essentially dead to them — a notion that is seemingly confirmed in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which picks up eight months after Endgame.
If he did the latter, it means that Old Man Steve is still around, but he’s keeping a low profile considering that he’s, yanno, 100-plus years old! This line does match the story from the comics, in which Steve ages up, and Sam picks up the shield. Old Man Steve makes several appearances in that comic book line, so if Chris Evans is making a comeback, this is the series to do it in. Considering how cagey Sam is when he’s asked about Steve, it’s more likely that the geezer is around somewhere, and no one has figured out how to explain his existence or if they even want to. We have five more episodes of TFATWS to go, so we’ll be getting a straight answer sometime!