The Facts About Chris Evans’ Return as Captain America
While the report from Deadline about Evans’ possible MCU return is light on information about what his role will be, it did leave us with a few significant details that help paint a picture of what to expect.
For a video breakdown of the big news, check out our report below:According to Deadline, Evans’s potential return will be a supporting role, so we won’t be getting a fourth Captain America movie or a Disney+ show starring Steve Rogers as the lead. The role is being likened to how Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark showed up in Spider-Man: Homecoming for a handful of scenes to play mentor to Peter Parker.
This means that whatever role Evans plays in the MCU going forward will be a smaller one. That doesn’t mean the role can’t be important and impactful, but it does help us narrow things down to more specific storylines that feature Cap as a supporting player rather than the leading man.
The reported deal for Evans’ return is for one MCU project and includes the option for a possible second appearance in another project, so however Cap returns, it should leave the door open for him to show up again. So don’t expect him to show up just to go out in a blaze of glory!
It’s worth noting that when we last saw Steve at the end of Avengers: Endgame he handed off the Captain America shield to his longtime friend and ally Sam Wilson aka the Falcon, and we’ll soon watch how Sam handles taking on the mantle in the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. (Side note: Steve’s original shield was destroyed by Thanos, so we figure Steve had a new shield crafted or he nabbed it from a different timeline.) This leads us to believe that Evans will not be reclaiming the title of Captain America from Sam, although there are some creative workarounds that would allow for Evans to still show up in costume and give the shield a few good tosses.
With all that in mind, let’s run through some theories.
New Director of SHIELD
In the comics, Steve once had his powers drained by a villain and found himself with the body of a senior citizen. Unable to fight evil in the field without risking breaking a hip, he became Director of SHIELD for a time, while Sam Wilson took over as Captain America. Though he didn’t see much action, he sported a high-tech version of his signature shield made of pure energy.
Obviously there are some strong parallels to that story and the current state of the MCU. In the MCU, Old Man Steve Rogers probably doesn’t have much to do aside from playing chess down at the retirement home, so perhaps he gets involved in the superhero business once more by taking on a leadership role a la Nick Fury. Despite being an old timer, he’s still a master strategist and one helluva motivational speaker, which are skills he can put to use from behind a desk.
With Evans coming back, we’d love to see Haley Atwell return alongside him as Peggy Carter. Maybe we’d get to learn a bit about what they were up to for the decades they spent together. Surely they didn’t spend all of it slow dancing in the living room and the duo wound up going on a few adventures. Even though we saw Peggy pass away in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s not unreasonable to think Steve would use the knowledge of her illness to keep her in good health, thus preventing her passing and creating an opportunity for her to lead in the present day alongside him.
One of the newly announced MCU shows coming to Disney+ is Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, and those who read the popular event comic of the same name already know why this show is an ideal vehicle to bring Evans back as Cap. The story features a plot by the Skrulls to take over Earth by replacing key figures around the globe (including superheroes) with shapeshifting sleeper agents. We’ve already seen the beginnings of this story in Captain Marvel and this show will bring it all to a head.
If the Skrulls want to deceive humankind by earning their trust, who better to impersonate than Captain freakin’ America? Not to mention, it’d be great to watch Evans’ Cap share the screen with Jackson’s Fury once more, even if it’s to reveal he’s actually a green space alien in disguise.
Defender of Iron Man’s Legacy
Another MCU show coming to Disney+ is Armor Wars featuring Don Cheadle’s James “Rhodey” Rhodes aka War Machine facing Tony Stark’s worst nightmare, Stark tech falling into the hands of dangerous villains. If elderly Steve Rogers were to catch wind of a plot to tarnish the legacy of fallen Avenger Tony Stark, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t step up to help Rhodey defend it. It sure would be a sight to watch Old Man Cap climb into the star-spangled Iron Patriot armor and blast baddies alongside War Machine.
Into the Cap-Verse
With movies like Spider-Man 3 and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the upcoming Loki show throwing open the door to a multiverse of parallel universes, it wouldn’t surprise us to meet alternate reality versions of some familiar faces. This may be the easiest way for Evans to return as Cap in his prime while maintaining the finality of his story in Endgame. There have been numerous riffs on Captain America over the decades in the comics, so the possibilities of what may show up on-screen are practically endless. There’s even a werewolf version known as Cap-Wolf, a deep-cut sure to leave comic readers howling with delight.
Marvel’s upcoming What If…? animated series on Disney+ will explore the infinite possibilities of the multiverse, showing what would happen if there were big changes to the established Marvel canon. One scenario shows what would happen if Peggy Carter took the Super Soldier serum to become Captain Carter while Steve remained scrawny and put on armor made by Howard Stark to fight alongside her as Iron Man. Perhaps this iteration of Steve Rogers piqued Evans’ interest and he’s keen on bringing it to life in live-action in one of Marvel’s upcoming multiversal projects.
The reveal that Captain America was secretly an agent of Hydra rocked the Marvel fandom with controversy back in 2016. In classic confusing comic book fashion, this version of Steve Rogers was created by a villain using the Cosmic Cube and was split off from the real deal, which in its own weird way would allow Evans to portray the twisted baddie without affecting his original version of the character.
This evil Steve — “Stevil,” if you will — went on to lead the terrorist organization as Hydra Supreme and took on all the heroes of the Marvel Universe in an event called Secret Empire. It would certainly be a shock to audiences for Evans to return as a villain instead of a hero, and you can see how the chance to do something unexpected with the character would be appealing to Evans as an actor. Not to mention, Evans has never been shy about sharing his political views on social media, so this portrayal would give him the chance to tell a story about how a symbol of America could be corrupted into a fascist icon that takes over the nation.
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Joshua is a Senior Editor and Producer of Features at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Star Wars are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.