The news is far from confirmed, but the news that Chris Evans may return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to play Captain America has the internet in a tizzy. Many fans are understandably psyched at the possibility of seeing one of the franchise's greatest heroes back in action after his assumed exit in Avengers: Endgame.
As thrilled as I want to be alongside others, I can't help but feel a little worried about the impact this has on the MCU as a whole. As Marvel enters a new era, every move it makes will be under a microscope, and I think that will ultimately impact how successful the MCU is moving forward. In my opinion, bringing Evans back could be problematic in a few ways and potentially deliver some bad results should it go through.
Bringing Back Chris Evans Undermines The New Captain America
The news of Chris Evans potentially returning as Captain America arrived months ahead of the release date for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, which is said to settle the dispute of who will become the new Captain America. But now we're already getting rumors that Marvel is talking with Chris Evans, seemingly giving the world its answer.
Now, as I've mentioned, the news isn't confirmed, but I have to wonder why Marvel would already be talking with Chris Evans before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier even premieres. The tease that Sam Wilson could become the next Captain America was a huge moment in the MCU, and representative of a big move Marvel was willing to invest in its future with Anthony Mackie taking on the mantle.
Whether the rumor is true or not, I think its existence creates a feeling among the public at large that we may still have Chris Evans puttering around as Steve Rogers to fall back on should Mackie (or Sebastian Stan) underwhelm as Captain America. Once you know you can bring back Evans once, I think it'll only strengthen fans to keep pressing for more. Meanwhile, there's a new Captain America trying to pave their way who will face an even steeper uphill battle with Evans not officially retired from the role.
Chris Evans Returning To The MCU As Captain America Diminishes His Presumed Exit In Endgame
When it comes to MCU superheroes, or superheroes in general, few have had the quality run of film appearances as Chris Evans' Captain America. In fact, I'd put his string of appearances on the level of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. And like that trilogy, we get a satisfying sendoff for the hero in Avengers: Endgame. It was advertised as the end of Chris Evans' run as Steve Rogers, and it couldn't have been set up more perfectly than Steve traveling back through time to live a life with Peggy and grow into an old man.
We don't need the story of what went down when Steve went back in time, and we already got cliff notes of the most exciting beat of that adventure. Honestly, just about any re-emergence as Chris Evans in the MCU will undermine that exit because it negates Avengers: Endgame as the finish line. Sure, the MCU can make sure an appearance is set before that exit in Avengers: Endgame, but we all know it's the next performance after the actor's exit.
Let's also not forget that an additional Captain America adventure further jeopardizes the perfect run of the character in the MCU. I'm not the only person who holds the Captain America run in high regard, and I'm not the only one who would be a little upset if it was tainted by a tacked-on appearance. Don't get me wrong, the MCU has brought back characters in the past with success, some of whom had seemingly more permanent exits than Captain America. Even so, their endings weren't nearly as meaningful or emotional, and once you get an ending as Steve Rogers did, I think it's best you let that be the end of it.
I will grant one exception, and that would be Chris Evans returning to the MCU to play The Human Torch, or another character who is definitively not Steve Rogers/Captain America. I should say that's not the rumor that's being reported, but as we all know, rumors can be wrong. As the rumor stands, I can't abide by it, but if this involved him playing another character, I need to make it clear I'm here for this option.
The Move Would Confuse A Mainstream Audience
Like it or not, a blockbuster franchise stays that way by catering to its most casual audience. I recently had a friend perplexed about all the story tying into the Loki series, and I would consider them fairly on top of the MCU more than the average person. If the story of an alternate timeline Loki can trip up a somewhat well-informed MCU follower, bringing back Chris Evans as Captain America in any capacity will cause problems.
When things get a bit too complicated, it can impact the reception of a franchise as a whole. Look back at how retcons back in the height of comics affected audience perception for Marvel and DC, and it's easy to see why bringing back a potentially young Chris Evans as Captain America is a bad idea. This is especially true if the rumor that he's planned for multiple projects will only further confuse the mainstream audience.
That's not a knock against the casual MCU viewers, but a testament to how complicated the MCU already has gotten. Even fans on top of goings-on need reminders for where heroes are when other movie events happen, and why one Avenger was absent during a time where they'd be colossally helpful. If we're adding the re-introduction of a "retired" character to all that, I won't blame anyone for getting burnt out with how nuanced the MCU is getting.
Obviously, I'm a pretty hard "no" on Chris Evans returning to the MCU as Captain America, but understand that may be seen as a hot take. Those with different opinions are more than welcome to share their thoughts in the comments. CinemaBlend will obviously have more news on the situation in the coming months, so check out our WandaVision coverage in the meantime for more MCU fun.