When Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters next month, this will be Chris Evans’ fourth appearance as Captain America (not including his cameo in Thor: The Dark World) since his debut in 2011. Although we'll still see plenty of the patriotic superhero in the coming years, it’s been rumored that once Evans’ Marvel contract is finished, he’ll leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently. However, it sounds like he’s recently had a change of heart and may stick around as Steve Rogers for a little longer.

Last year, Evans mentioned that he planned to retire from acting once his contract finished so he can focus on directing. In a recent interview with Gay Times Magazine (via Nerd Reactor), however, he suggests he’s amenable to staying in the MCU. Evans explained:
I think it’s almost like high school. You’re kind of always looking ahead, about when you’ll graduate, but then when graduation day arrives you kind of don’t want to leave. I AM gonna try and focus on directing a bit more, but by no means am I done acting. And if they’d have me back, yeah, I’d probably consider it.

After Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America will next be seen in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and he is expected to appear in at least one of the Avengers: Infinity War movies. It sounds like Evans isn’t opposed to continue playing Cap afterwards, he just wants to lighten the load a bit. His priority is to start directing films, but if future Marvel movies wanted to use him, he would at least consider an offer rather than outright say no.

Perhaps Evans will follow in the footsteps of his Avengers costar Robert Downey Jr. The Tony Stark actor, whose original contract ended with The Avengers, has extended his Marvel deal several times over the years, most recently when he joined Captain America: Civil War last October. Once Evans’ six-movie contract is done, maybe Marvel will offer a small extension so he can be involved with the Phase Four film slate, but not as a leading character.

One recurring piece of speculation over the years is that the films will follow the Ed Brubaker Captain America storyline by eventually having his friend Bucky Barnes inherit the star-spangled mantle. Assuming Cap’s death isn’t the catalyst for the switch, this would allow Evans to continue playing Steve Rogers, but he wouldn’t need to wear the costume or wield the shield. Even if he does get killed off, he could still appear in flashbacks and hallucinations. 

What do you think? Would you like to see Evans in the MCU beyond Phase Three, or do you think he should call it quits after his contract runs out? Let us know in the comments below. You can see Captain America in action when Avengers: Age of Ultron is released on May 1.

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