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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for a decade, although the future of the shared universe is largely a mystery. Avengers: Infinity War threw everyone for a loop, when The Russo Brothers killed off half the galaxy, resulting in many of Marvel's finest falling. The studio has been keeping everything around Avengers 4 and Phase Four under wraps, but the fandom seemed fairly certain that Chris Evans would be retiring from Captain America.
Chris Evans is one of many of Marvel's stars who are coming to the end of their contracts. And after the actor seemingly said goodbye to his signature role after wrapping Avengers 4, his departure from the MCU seemed inevitable. But according to co-director James Russo, he's not quite done. Russo recently said of Evan's infamous tweet:
I think it was more emotional for him than us only because he's not done yet. I won't explain what that means, but the audience will soon understand what I'm talking about.
Not done? Not done?! This update is sure to make many Marvels fans out there very happy. Chris Evans is one of the mainstays of the MCU, and its hard to imagine the shared universe without his Steve Rogers. But what could The Russos have planned?
Joe Russo's comments to USA Today is a potential game changer, as Chris Evans already seemed to have one foot out the door of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His tweet after wrapping Avengers 4 seemed to put the final nail in the coffin, with many Marvel fans expecting Cap to potentially be killed off in the upcoming blockbuster. But if the Russos say "he's not done", then maybe there's still hope for the Avengers leader.
As a reminder, Chris Evans tweeted back in early October than he had wrapped his role in Avengers 4, and seemingly hinted that he was through with the MCU as a whole. He wrote,
Officially wrapped on Avengers 4. It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.
Call me crazy, but "thank you for the memories" sounds an awful lot like a goodbye. Yet Joe Russo's recent comments seem to paint a different color, with Captain America somehow still involved in the MCU as a whole. Unfortunately, there won't be any answers at least until Avengers 4 finally arrives in theaters, so the fandom will be left to wonder and theorize for the foreseeable future.
Chris Evans' departure from the MCU has been a long time coming. In fact, many cinephiles theorized that Cap was going to bite the dust in Avengers: Infinity War, especially when the trailer showed him going toe to toe with Josh Brolin's Thanos. But Steve Rogers was one of the few characters to survive the snap, alongside the other OG members of The Avengers, as well as War Machine, Rocket, Okoye, and Nebula.
It should be fascinating to see how it all shakes out in Avengers 4, and what Marvel's mysterious plans for Phase Four end up being. While fans were expecting Chris Evans to retire and pass the shield to a new Captain America, Joe Russo's recent comment might indicate that he's staying. And in that case, the possibilities are endless.
If Chris Evans isn't departing the MCU, perhaps he'll end up making a new deal for additional appearances. Scarlet Johansson is seemingly in a similar position, as Marvel is finally giving her a Black Widow solo movie. Since her contact is up, Scar Jo should be able to negotiate some serious cash money for this appearances-- as well as any other potential crossovers. Perhaps Chris Evans will end up doing the same.
Narratively, there are a ton of threads and plot lines to be pulled at for Captain America, and which Joe and Anthony Russo would have to tie up if Avengers 4 ends up being Chris Evans' final bow. The audience is still largely ignorant of Cap's life during the time gap between Civil War and Infinity War-- where he operated outside the law as a vigilante alongside Black Widow and Falcon. He's also got a romantic connection with both Widow and Emily VanCamp's Agent 13, although the latter was noticeably missing from the conflict with Thanos.
Avengers 4 will also likely focus on the strained relationship between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Their juxtaposition is what brought on the titular battle in Captain America: Civil War, and the duo didn't exactly end on good terms. Cap and Iron Man were also kept separate during the events of Infinity War, so they've yet to resolve their issues onscreen. It should be interesting to see how an apocalyptic event like Thanos' finger snap will put their quarrel in context.
Of course, it's completely possible that Joe Russo is simply pulling our leg, and trying to throw the rabid Marvel fanbase off the tracks of Avengers 4. With almost a year of theories separating the two Avengers flicks, it's likely that someone out there has figured out the events of their upcoming blockbuster. Those intimately involved with franchises like the MCU have to keep their cards close to the chest, so it's also hard to take Joe Russo's comments at face value.
The wait between Infinity War and Avengers 4 has already been pretty excruciating, considering how insane Thanos' finger snap of death was. While there's a year difference, Marvel did plan two releases to keep us satiated. Ant-Man and The Wasp brought the Quantum Realm into play for Avengers 4, while Captain Marvel will bring Brie Larson's powerful hero to the MCU for the first time.