If you have your ear to the Marvel Cinematic Universe pulse at all, you've likely heard the news by now regarding the fact that Captain America actor Chris Evans's contract with #Marvel Studios will officially be over following the second Avengers: Infinity War movie.
Despite a rocky history with his relationship to the character — and the effect that his newfound mega-fame has had on his personal life — Evans has previously professed that he may be open to the idea of continuing to play Steve Rogers even after his contract has ended, but this is far from a certainty right now.
And so the question has been raised: Will #CaptainAmerica become the first major casualty of the MCU? There've been a few deaths here and there so far, but not many of them have stuck. Indeed, the first big one was last year's Captain America: Civil War, which saw Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) dying of old age after a full life of being an undeniable badass.
But superhero deaths are tricky. The return of a dead or thought dead #superhero or villain has become so common that it's gone from trope to parody and back again. The #MCU has seen the "death" and return of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) twice, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Ant-Man hinted that Janet van Dyne is still alive within the Quantum Realm, and we're pretty damn sure that we'll see Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) coming back at some point soon.
- This 'Civil War' Deleted Scene Suggests That The Winter Soldier WILL Become Captain America In The MCU
- A Closer Look At The MCU's Villain Problem, From 'Iron Man' To 'Doctor Strange'
- Falcon Actor Anthony Mackie Confirms He Would Play Captain America In The MCU
The death of Cap has long been talked of, indeed it was heavily rumored to happen during Captain America: Civil War, as it does in the comics. And now the rumor continues, with Infinity War and its as yet unnamed follow-up as the new targets.
There are a lot of reasons that this would make sense, not least of all the fact that we have two candidates from the comics standing by to take over the mantle from Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). But on the other hand, there are lots of reasons that #Disney might pay through the nose to keep Chris Evans around.
But should they, or is it time for the MCU to grow up?
Unlike the DC Extended Universe with its grit and grime, the MCU has always favored a lighter approach with a humorous touch, and this has done wonders for it thus far. But now might be the time to take the tone down a notch, and here's why.
Thanos (Josh Brolin) has been the bad guy in the background of the MCU for as long as we can remember, and yet we don't really know much about what he can do. We know he's scary because we can see how others react to him, and for the same reason we know he's powerful because we see that he has subjugated other powerful beings.
But that's all second hand stuff. When Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) rebelled against Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy we should've seen the purple guy smush Ronan to paste for his disrespect, and take the Infinity Stone from him. But instead the Guardians stepped in and took care of Ronan, and thus the stone slipped further from Thanos's grasp. The #Thanos that we know now is a lazy villain, sitting around for nearly 10 years letting his lackeys do his work. Until now.
Infinity War has to change that image the audience has of him, and what better way to have us take him seriously as a villain than by having him kill off the First Avenger, Captain America?
There's an intense pressure riding on getting Thanos right, if Marvel messes this one up they might as well write off ever living down being the narrative franchise with the major villain problem. Having Thanos burst onto the scene and take down Captain America could be incredibly affecting and an excellent way to cement him as the Big Bad — if they get it right.
There are of course other boxes Thanos will need to tick to work as a villain though. Having a solid motivation for what he is doing is a big one, which is worrying as there's no sign of Mistress Death yet. But there's already a personal tie there between Thanos and the Guardians' Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), which is definitely worth mining into for some narrative gold.
And there are other reasons that Cap's death would be a good move for the MCU right now. It would make the stakes bigger and badder, show a commitment to following through with tough narrative choices, and would draw a big line between the movies and the cliché tropes of the comics.
But as to whether or not Marvel and Disney have the departure of the original Captain America as part of their grand plans, we'll just have to wait to find out.
Avengers: Infinity War releases May 4, 2018, and the Untitled Avengers follow-up arrives May 3, 2019 in the US. Do you think Captain America will be killed off in one of these movies? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!