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Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2019

Is Chris Evans Really Returning as Captain America?

You might have felt a tremor in the universe yesterday—the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of course—when Deadline broke the story that Chris Evans was nearing a deal to return as Captain America. This was major news, and majorly surprising. It was only 2019 when Evans told Scarlett Johannson in an interview for Variety that while he wasn’t a “hard no” on never returning, he felt good about where Cap’s story arc ended up in Avengers: Endgame. “It’s not a hard no, but it’s not an eager yes either,” Evans said to Johansson. “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.”

You’ll also recall that in the lead-up to the release of Endgame, Evans had made it clear his time carrying the shield was over. Yet here’s Deadline yesterday:

“It’s still vague whether the deal is closed, but insiders say it’s headed in that direction for Evans to return as Steve Rogers aka Captain America in at least one Marvel property, with the door open for a second film. Sources add it’s unlikely to be a new Captain America installment and more likely to be like what Robert Downey Jr. did after Iron Man 3, appearing in such films as Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

By the end of the day yesterday, Evans had responded.

Evans isn’t not known for being coy about his work, so you have to wonder what’s going on here. Is he really set to return to the role that made him a household name, but he’s not ready to go public about it? He couldn’t have had a better run as Cap, from his first introduction in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger through 2019’s Avengers: Endgame—his run as Steve Rogers was pretty much as good as it gets. And sure, Marvel is nothing if not savvy about bringing back characters that seemed to have moved on—or have died—thanks to their freedom to move back and forward and across time and timelines. Paul Bettany’s Vision was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but he’s starring in Marvel’s WandaVision on Disney+. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was killed by Thanos (that dude!) in Avengers: Endgame, but voila, he’s back in Loki on Disney+. In a cinematic universe that contains Infinity Stones, multiverses, and a talking raccoon, there’s literally no narrative hurdle here.

Plus, Evans’ return as Cap would be even simpler to solve. Sure, we left him as an old man at the end of Endgame, handing off his shield to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, but that’s hardly a speedbump. Old Cap was living in but one of the multiple timelines explored in that movie alone, and all one would do to see Evans return is jump to another timeline, or simply turn back the clock.

We’ll find out eventually whether Evans is picking up the shield again. For now, it’s Marvel-ous mystery.

Featured image: Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: ENDGAME. L to R: Captain America (Chris Evans) in b/g Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2019

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