While Avengers: Endgame marked the sendoff for three major MCU characters—Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, and Steve Rogers—fans are understandably curious if “the end” really is the end. Scarlett Johansson’s Romanoff returns in her own Black Widow solo movie next year (although it’s a prequel that takes place before the recent Avengers sequels), and rumors are already swirling about where Robert Downey Jr.’s dearly departed Tony Stark might make a cameo.
The one Endgame character whose ending wasn’t an explicit death was Steve Rogers, who went back in time to replace all the horcruxes Infinity Stones, only to remain in the 1940s to live out the rest of his days alongside his main squeeze Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). That opens the door for more Captain America in the future, but the larger question is, would Chris Evans even want to reprise the character?
As part of Variety’s Actors on Actors awards conversation, Evans (who stars in the excellent Knives Out) and Johansson (who stars in the very funny/sweet Jojo Rabbit) sat down for a conversation, during which Johansson asked Evans if he’d ever play Captain America again. His initial response left the door open for a potential return:
“You never say never. I love the character. I don’t know. It’s not a hard no, but it’s not an eager yes either. There are other things that I’m working on right now. I think Cap had such a tricky act to stick the landing, and I think they did a really nice job letting him complete his journey. If you’re going to revisit it, it can’t be a cash grab. It can’t be just because the audience wants to be excited. What are we revealing? What are we adding to the story? A lot of things would have to come together.”
Johansson noted that when she saw Endgame was the first time she learned of Captain America’s fate, calling it a “beautiful, cathartic ending.” Which then prompted Evans to lean more towards “no” on a possible return:
“It’d be a shame to sour that. I’m very protective of it. It was such a precious time, and jumping onto the movie was a terrifying prospect to me. I said no a bunch of times, and there’s a million and one ways it could have gone wrong. It almost feels like maybe we should let this one sit.”
Indeed, Evans turned down the role of Captain America multiple times in the early days of the MCU, fearful he’d be tied to a franchise that simply wouldn’t be very good. His fears weren’t eased until after The First Avenger came out, and it’s been a long road to this ending for Cap—during which Evans has been the steward of the character who’s essentially the co-lead of the MCU alongside Downey’s Tony Stark.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has remained coy about whether we’ve seen the last of Steve Rogers, and indeed the notion that Rogers lived out the rest of his days alongside Peggy Carter means there are decades worth of adventures that Rogers could have gotten into—you don’t expect Cap just sat idly by all those years, do you?
Personally I’m doubtful Evans would commit to another feature film return, but if Marvel’s Disney+ limited series turn out to be successful, I could see Evans reuniting with the Marvel team for a six-episode series that follows Steve Rogers through the 40s, 50s, or 60s perhaps. Production is already underway on the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan and WandaVision starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, as those shows aim to continue the stories of those characters in longform format. If the quality of these series is up to snuff, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Steve Rogers Disney+ series coming down the pike in a few years time.
But for now, both Steve Rogers and Chris Evans have deserved a well-earned break. Evans’ schedule is now freed up to pursue other opportunities, stuff like Snowpiercer or Knives Out that give him meaty roles far different from Captain America to stretch his chops. And Marvel is plenty busy with a robust lineup of films set for its Phase 4 and beyond slate.
So yeah, never say never, but don’t quite hold your breath yet either.