Reports of Chris Evans ditching his shield may be premature.
Although Esquire reported last week that there was "no more red-white-and-blue costume" in Evans' future after he finishes his contract by shooting the next two Avengers movies -- Avengers: Infinity War and the still-untitled Avengers 4 -- it turns out that Captain America may still be part of Evans' life beyond those two films.
Speaking with Collider while doing press for his upcoming film Gifted, Evans was asked if he really was done with Steve Rogers after the next two Avengers outings. His reply was a masterpiece of circumvention:
"It's really not up to me. My contract is up. I’m not going to sit here and say, 'No more.' I think Hugh Jackman has made 47 Wolverine movies, and they somehow keep getting better. It’s a character I love, and it’s a factory that really knows what they're doing. The system is sound, over there. They make great movies. If they weren't kicking out quality, I'd have a different opinion. But, everything Marvel does seems to be cinema gold. And like I said, I love the character."
"The only reason it would end is 'cause my contract is up. After Avengers 4, my contract is done. Talk to Marvel. If we engage further, I’d be open to it. I love the character. It’s almost like high school. You certainly always look to senior year, and then, all of a sudden, senior year happens and you’re like, 'I don’t know if I'm ready to go.' It’s tough thinking about not playing the guy."
Evans is actually walking a very straight and thin line here. He admits that he loves playing the character, he says that he's pleased with the quality of the movies, and he's happy to be part of the "factory" that turns them out. And he has to know that starring as that character in a string of billion-dollar-grossing movies is (to say the least) a nice calling card that he can leverage into a lot of non-Marvel future projects.
On the other hand, this is still a business, and Evans doesn't want to appear too eager to return without a suitable bump in his pay. He's worth a lot more now than he was when he first donned the shield, and he wants to make sure he gets what he feels he's due for future outings.
Marvel, for their part, can back a bank truck up to Evans' front lawn if they feel that strongly about keeping him (which wouldn't be a bad idea). But if they think that Evans is asking too much, they can either a) put Sebastian Stan or Anthony Mackie in the costume or b) recast the part entirely.
Both sides have an interest in keeping things reasonable and friendly, but as we know, reason and friendship don't always mix well with money. Evans is saying here -- as opposed to a few days ago -- that he's open to playing the role again if the terms are right, yet he's not taking any sort of adversarial stance about it. Not yet.
We probably won't know more about Cap's future -- and Evans' participation in it -- until the events of those next two Avengers movies play out in 2018 and 2019. But if Evans is indeed leaving the door open for more appearances as Steve Rogers, would you like him to just keep going?