Chris Evans is no stranger to superheroics — he's appeared in no less than 14 comic book films, but he's most famous for playing Marvel's very own Captain America. Here's the catch, though; as fans of Hugh Jackman can attest, all good things must come to an end. For Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War marks the end of Chris Evans's contract, and fans have been eagerly watching for any hint of what might come next.
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Now, it seems, we've just had confirmation: #ChrisEvans will indeed be bowing out as Captain America in the aftermath of Infinity War. The latest article in Esquire contains this remarkable piece of prose:
"Settling in on the couch, he groans. Evans explains that he’s hurting all over because he just started his workout routine the day before to get in shape for the next two Captain America films. The movies will be shot back to back beginning in April. After that, no more red- white-and-blue costume for the thirty-five-year-old. He will have fulfilled his contract."
What Does This Mean?
Chris Evans has long toyed with moving on from #Marvel; he's often said he wants to pursue another career, one where he works as a director rather than as an actor. In fact, Marvel's insistence on a multi-picture deal was something of a problem during the initial negotiations — as he told Variety at the time:
"If these movies take off and do very well, and my life changes and I don’t respond well, I don’t have the opportunity to say, listen, I need a f****** break. That just scared me."
Still, it's a matter of history that he was eventually persuaded, but he's always been more proud of his smaller, more intimate films than of the blockbuster hits. That's left Marvel fans concerned for some time, and it seems Evans has finally decided to call an end to his Marvel career. It's worth noting that the report from Esquire specifically mentions that Evans is appearing in both Infinity War and Avengers 4; he's currently working on the back-to-back productions. Then? He'll move on, and the world will wait to see whether he retires from acting altogether, or focuses in on his directing career.
What Are The Implications for the MCU?
Captain America has become one of Marvel's most iconic heroes, and the star of some of their most popular films. The Russo brothers — who are responsible for Infinity War and Avengers 4 — clearly love the character, and we should be expecting Evans to play a starring role in these two films. Ominously, though, these films are likely to include an iconic moment for Captain America; during the Infinity Gauntlet comics, Cap took the stand against Thanos, refusing to back down even against a being who had just swatted aside gods like insects.
For many, this is the quintessential Captain America scene; the moment when the hero stands against impossible odds, refusing to bend, refusing to break. It's the moment that defines Captain America — and though he survived it in the comics, will the same be true in the films? Will his death at Thanos's hands be the inspiration that brings victory?
At the same time, Evans's departure leaves an inevitable Captain-America-sized hole in the #MCU. How will that hole be filled? Will another take up the mantle of Captain America? In the comics, both Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie's Falcon have picked up the shield (the latter is a Captain America right now), so either could replace the star-spangled Avenger — should Marvel decide his role is symbolic, and choose to have another step into Steve's shoes.
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Let's face it, this quote is one that has electrified Marvel fans all over the world. Suddenly, the stakes in Infinity War look larger than ever. Suddenly, we are faced with the realization that not all our heroes are going to walk away. Chris Evans has proved himself to be the definitive Captain America — and soon we're going to see his last stand...