As Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters across the U.S. this week, count one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest veteran names among those who still seem undecided about their MCU future beyond the release of next year’s Infinity War sequel.
Ambivalence seems to be the watchword for the handful of longtime MCU actors whose superhero screen time appears to be heading toward a crossroads with Avengers 4, and Chris Evans is sounding (un)decidedly bittersweet about whether he’ll continue to soldier on as Captain America after 2019.
Sitting down with Variety for a recent podcast interview, Evans sounded a bit less certain of his long-term MCU future than he appeared back in March, when The New York Times reported that he had “no plans to return to the franchise” in an extended interview feature.
Explaining to Variety that "it depends" on how he feels about his role once Avengers 4 comes out, Evans sounds like an actor who wants to keep his options open — as well as one who admires Marvel’s craft enough to recognize that it’s hard to slam the door on great stories combined with A-list film deals.
Evans said he’s impressed enough by the current two-part Avengers story arc to feel good about making a graceful exit once the Infinity War follow-up arrives next May. But he left open just enough of a window of opportunity to ensure he still has options, should he and Marvel decide to continue their longtime collaboration.
“Tough to say,” Evans replied to a question about whether Avengers 4 will be his last MCU film. “Part of you almost kind of thinks — ‘Well, if we end on the right note...’ — and I think it really kind of does. The scripts they have are really beautiful and really well written.”
Evans’ current run in the Broadway revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s 2001 stage drama Lobby Hero appears to have honed his overall sensitivities to story beats and character explorations. Evans told Variety that theater “is the thing that I didn’t know that I needed,” and that he’ll definitely continue stage acting once Lobby Hero — which already has earned him critical praise for his portrayal of a beat cop named Bill — has run its course.
Perhaps his time under the lights has left Evans a bit more reflective about the value of ending his big-screen Captain America cycle when the story feels right. He described Marvel’s treatment in the two forthcoming Avengers films as “really sweet and lovely and just special,” with its constellation of major characters getting “a nice tight plot and story arc.
“Part of you almost doesn’t want to mess that up,” he added. “I guess it depends. It’s hard to know where your head’s gonna be at in a few years.”
For the time being, then, Evans, like his MCU frenemy Robert Downey Jr., still appears to be holding the door slightly ajar. No doors will contain the rush, though, when Evans, Downey, and the rest of the Avengers pull what’s all but certain to be the year’s biggest box office crowd once Avengers: Infinity War arrives on April 27.