When Steve Rogers dropped his shield at the end of Captain America: Civil War, it was more than just a dramatic ending. It was a shift in the status quo of Marvel’s movie universe. The director-duo the Russo Brothers have confirmed that, as of this moment, Steve Rogers is not Captain America.

“I think him dropping that shield is him letting go of that identity,” Joe Russo told The Huffington Post, saying Captain America was “in conflict with [Steve's] very personal choice that he was making.”

The Russo Brothers sat down with The Huffington Post to promote the release of Captain America: Civil War on Blu-ray. Essentially, they said that Steve abandoned the Captain America identity due to the conflict it brought upon his conscience.

The Russos didn’t state whether or not Rogers’s abandonment is permanent, and Marvel’s deep comics library offers all kinds of possibilities. Rogers quitting Captain America echoes the time he became the purple avenger Nomad to reflect his disillusionment with the U.S. government. (The storyline was published two years after Watergate.)

While the Marvel Universe is vast and full of alternate realities with alternate Captain Americas, in the main universe the Captain America identity has also been assumed by others close to Steve. Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) have both been Captain America. In fact a deleted scene on the Civil War Blu-ray had Cap briefly toss Bucky his shield, with him quipping “I gotta get me one of those.” Maybe you will, Bucky. Maybe you will.

It’s also plausible Steve will once again become Cap for Avengers: Infinity War, as he was when he stood against Thanos in The Infinity Gauntlet (the story Infinity War is likely adapting).

When Cap fought Thanos one-on-one in 'The Infinity Gauntlet' #4.
When Cap fought Thanos one-on-one in 'The Infinity Gauntlet' #4.

Captain America: Civil War is out on Blu-ray September 13.

Photos via Marvel, YouTube.com/Marvel Entertainment