Is Chris Evans hanging up his shield? If Twitter is to be trusted (and let’s face it, it’s not), it appears that the 37-year-old actor is retiring from the role of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Evans has played Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, in nine films since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, with one more unreleased film left to go in next year’s untitled Avengers 4. And if Evans’ tweet is to be taken at face value, Rogers is officially done after the Avengers take on Thanos next May.
Officially wrapped on Avengers 4. It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) October 4, 2018
Evans’ tweet above is interesting, as it leaves plenty of room for interpretation. The first thought that springs to mind is that he’s done in the MCU, and his Captain America will either retire after Avengers 4 and pass the shield to a worthy successor (friends Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson both being contenders), or die heroically in the film to add an emotional wallop to the last 8 years of being the never-quit, determined heart and soul of the Avengers. It’s also possible that he’s simply done in the role of Captain America and adopting more of a leadership position (a la Nick Fury), leaving the street-level fighting to a younger, battle-hungry newcomer. Or maybe the tweet is simply a misdirection and Evans is sticking around, merely posting an emotional tribute after a long shoot.
The casting of Evans as Captain America initially met with skepticism. Mainly known for comedic roles, including playing Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the wise-ass pretty boy didn’t seem to fit the mold (physically and personality-wise) of the stoic leader of the Avengers. And when Captain America: The First Avenger pulled an interesting trick by using CGI devilry to paste Evans’ face on a scrawny body for the introduction to the character of Steve Rogers, doubts weren’t put to rest until Evans emerged mid-way through the film following a super-soldier serum injection, newly muscled-up and tonally serious. From that moment onward he owned the role and became a fan-favorite, mesmerizing audiences with boyish charm, a self-aware sense of humor, and freakishly large biceps. He also emerged as one of the biggest actors in Hollywood.
It remains to be seen how fans will react as the heroes they’ve grown to love over the last 10 years transition out of the MCU. If Marvel head-honcho Kevin Feige is sweating over having to replace the beloved superstars that have filled these roles for the last decade, he’s certainly not showing it. In an interview with the Costco Connection, Feige touches on the prospect of keeping these characters fresh in his Cinematic Universe while comics have dealt with this issue for decades. “That’s why these characters are so relevant,” he said. “I talk about 10 years of movies, but it’s 50-plus years of comics. And they’re just as relevant and popular And that’s because they do get updated. They do change with the times.”
You can see Evans as Captain America (for the last time?) in Avengers 4, opening in every theater under the sun on May 3, 2019.