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While DC and Warner Bros. may have stolen the comic book movie glory this week with the announcement of their film slate, there was still the shocker on Monday that Robert Downey Jr. would feature alongside Chris Evans in Captain America 3. The third installment is reported to be an adaptation of Civil War, a story that saw Tony Stark and Steve Rogers taking opposite stances on the Superhuman Registration Act, a bill that forced anyone with powers or special abilities to disclose their identity to the United States government and register as a "living weapon of mass destruction." Pro-registration and anti-registration sides clashed until during the climactic battle, Cap surrendered himself after seeing the devastation they were causing. However, soon after he was assassinated by an agent of the Red Skull. Although he came back to life years later, Cap’s death had enormous repercussions on the Marvel universe.
While Captain America 3 won’t be able to adapt Civil War completely, Marvel may be moving towards the film version of the Star-Spangled Avenger meeting his demise in a future movie. While this wouldn’t happen for many years, analyzing certain factors indicate that it’s a definite possibility. If Marvel is planning to kill Captain America, these are the main reasons they would pull the trigger...so to speak.
They’re Talking About Fallen SonDays before the Robert Downey Jr. announcement, directors Joe and Anthony Russo teased a potential subtitle for the third Captain America movie: Fallen Son. For those unfamiliar, Fallen Son was the name of a five-issue mininseries that looked at how different Marvel superheroes reacted to Cap’s death following Civil War. Despite the Russos joking that Cap would be killed off on page 20, Fallen Son is certainly a path the Marvel Cinematic Universe could travel down. With Cap unlikely to die in Captain America 3 (more on that later), one way the movie could end is Steve hanging up the shield or going into hiding. In this case, a Fallen Son subtitle would mean being defeated rather than killed...but that would some soon enough. By Avengers 3, Steve would put on the star-spangled costume again to fight whatever threat the Earth is facing, but perishes in battle. Now America’s son will have truly fallen, and we would see the MCU heroes react to the death.
Chris Evans Has Contract IssuesAfter Captain America 3, Evans has one Marvel movie left, which will probably be Avengers 3. So unless he’s appearing in a flashback or hallucination, it’s unlikely that Steve Rogers will be killed in Captain America 3. Although Evans recently stated that no one will be taking the shield from him anytime soon, there also hasn’t been any chatter about renegotiating his contract. Unlike Robert Downey Jr., whose role in the MCU just expanded, Marvel may have a definite conclusion for Evans as Captain America, and a heroic death would be a fitting sendoff for the character. However, just because he wouldn’t appear onscreen anymore doesn’t mean he can’t be involved with Marvel. Evans has shown interest in directing, so they could give him a project. Maybe he can start out with one of those One-Shots included on the Blu-Rays?
The MCU Hasn’t Really Killed Anyone Important OffWhile some villains managed to keep trudging along (Loki has more lives than a cat), most evil doers in the MCU have been killed off. Heroes, on the other hand, are sailing smooth. Phil Coulson was supposed to be the big death in The Avengers, and he came back to life a year later! Granted, the MCU is meant to be entertaining for both adults and younger viewers, but it’s still missing that sense of danger. These people with powers and colorful costumes may be fighting for good, but they’re still mortal...well, not Thor, but you get the point. No one is asking the writers to go all Game of Thrones on its characters, but it wouldn’t hurt for someone to succumb to a fatal injury. Since Cap had such an iconic death in the comics, he would be an ideal choice, but unlike the comics, this would be permanent.
It Would Make Comic Book Fans HappySteve Rogers may have died after Civil War, but there was still someone to take the mantle of Captain America-Bucky Barnes. Evans may not have many movies left on his contract, but Sebastian Stan has a nine-picture deal. When Captain America dies, Bucky will likely be the one to inherit the shield and become the new Cap, not only in to continue Steve’s legacy, but to seek redemption for his actions as the brainwashed Winter Soldier. Ed Brubaker’s Bucky as Cap stories are some of the greatest Captain America stories ever, and it would please comic book fans to see Bucky make that transition on film. Imagine Bucky fighting alongside the Avengers, both old and new, with a new star-spangled costume, his metal arm wielding the shield and a pistol in his other hand. It would be a great sight.
Cap’s Death Would Usher In A New EraCaptain America is more than just a superhero; people in the Marvel universe look up to him. So when he dies, the grief will be felt everywhere, and no matter which enemy they face, whether it’s Thanos or another villain, Earth will never be the same. His death can be used to "relaunch" the MCU. It’s been hinted that a new team of Avengers will be introduced at some point, and while the original team members won’t disappear completely, the newer heroes would be the prime focus going forward. The old guard would step aside to let the New Avengers take over as Earth’s protectors, and they would do their best to live up to the ideals that Captain America stood for. The MCU has largely been a continuous story since its inception in 2008, so with Cap’s death, one chapter of the MCU would end, but a new one would begin.