Avengers: Endgame gave us a lot of unforgettable moments, including an unforgettable sendoff for Captain America. Steve Rogers, the eternal soldier, finally caught a break at the end of the film, and even got to stick around to hand his shield off to the next guy. Still, does that mean this version of Captain America is done for good? In a new interview with an MCU co-star, Captain America star Chris Evans explained where he stands on a comeback.
Evans and longtime Marvel co-star Scarlett Johansson recently sat down for a chat together as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series, and of course the subject of their time together in the MCU came up. Like Captain America, Johansson's Black Widow also got a sendoff of sorts via a sacrifical death in Endgame, but she's actually sticking around the franchise a while longer thanks to a solo movie hitting theaters next year. After talking a bit about how precarious their early Marvel films felt, and how lucky they got when it came to working with people they actually liked on a series of contractually obligated movies, Johansson asked Evans the big question: "Would you come back?"
After joking a little bit about being an "old man" now to dance around the question for a moment, Evans chose his next words carefully, pausing between sentences at first.
“You never say never," he said. "I love the character. I don’t know."
"So it's not a hard no?" Johansson pressed.
“It’s not a hard no, but it’s not an eager yes either,” Evans continued. “There's other things that I’m working on right now. I think Cap had such a tricky arc 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 audiences would be excited. What are we revealing? What are we adding to the story? A lot of things would have to come together."
Evans was famously hesitant to sign on to play Captain America in the first place, to the point that he said no when Marvel Studios came to him with an offer of a nine-picture deal. The studio came back with an offer of six films instead of nine (later renegotiated to include Endgame) and Evans agreed. He went on to massive box office success as Captain America, but at times he also seemed more eager than some of his Marvel co-stars to announce when he'd officially be done with the shield. An Esquire profile in 2017 hinted heavily that Evans was about to hang up his shield, and a 2018 New York Times piece also suggested that what was then just called Avengers 4 would definitely be Cap's last ride. In both cases, Evans walked back talk of finality. Even when he tweeted a farewell of sorts to the character upon completing his Endgame filming, he later clarified that he would have sent that emotional message regardless of the film's plot.
All of this comes together to suggest an actor who, despite his love for the character, seems happy to be free of the superhero movie grind, at least for now. When Johansson went on to point out that she thought Steve Rogers' ending in the MCU — dancing with Peggy Carter after all those decades apart — was what Steve "deserved" to go out on, Evans seemed to lean back into his Captain America retirement.
“It’d be a shame to sour that, you know what I mean?” he said. “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 and it could have backfired, and I could have regretted it. And it didn't happen. And to keep on testing that... It almost feels like maybe we should let this one sit. But, you know. The good thing about Marvel is you never — I feel that way about Pixar too — they never go for the cash grab. They care. They care. It's never gonna be something they just throw together just because they know they're going to make a mint. So, in that regard...who knows?"
So, for now Chris Evans is happy to be moving on to other things, like his upcoming role in Rian Johnson's Knives Out. Still, there are a lot of extra years in the timestream for Marvel to play with now...