If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is looking for ideas for where to take Steve Rogers after the events of "Captain America: Civil War," then there's one fan theory they might consider. A fan theory on Reddit states that Captain America might be owed millions of dollars in back pay to account for the stretch of time he spent on ice in the Arctic.
As depicted in the last act of 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger," Steve Rogers sacrificed himself to stop Hydra from bombing America, plunging into the Arctic ice and freezing. It's there that he remained until he was thawed out in the film's present day setting. So that's 66 years (1945 to 2011) that Steve Rogers spent missing in action -- and the MCU's fictional government might just owe him back pay for the 66 years. Adjusting for inflation and taking in the Army's 1945 pay grade and regular raises, the Redditor says the total owed is $3,154,619.52.
Business Insider fact checked that number by bringing in a Wayne Hall, a spokesman for the US Army. "If Capt. Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) were not a fictional character and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and recovery actually real, he may actually be entitled to receive back pay," said Hall in an email to Insider. "However, a wide variety of variables would have to be taken into consideration to actually calculate the true amount of back pay to which he would be entitled to receive; given that he is a fictional character we cannot truly capture all of those variables accurately."
Additionally, some of the facts used in the fan theory weren't accurate; while the 1945 pay grade for an O-3 (Army captain) was $313.50, it was given out monthly instead of quarterly like the Redditor figured. The theory also "misinterpreted" the military's pay scales when it comes to the biannual pay raises, and also didn't take into account "any potential promotions that may have been bestowed upon Rogers while he was listed in a 'Missing' status."
While numbers haven't been crunched taking in these new factors, like the fact that Rogers' pay was received monthly instead of quarterly and that he likely received a promotion or two during his decades listed as "missing," it's possible that the fictional government owes the fictional patriot even more than the $3 million originally theorized. That amount would fund what, a week's worth of upkeep at the Avengers compound?