For many MCU fans (or Marvel, in general), Chris Evans has (and always will be) Captain America. Many fans are still reeling from Evans' final appearance as Cap in Avengers Endgame, especially after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s premiere. The actor spent a decade playing Marvel’s First Avenger, but Evans recently revealed another Avenger he would like to play before explaining why it wouldn’t work.
The end of the MCU’s Infinity Saga meant many Marvel staples, such as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., were leaving the universe. Despite his departure, Evans has kept the internet on fire with rumors of his return still out there. But the actor might have his sights on a fellow Avenger. While speaking with ACE Universe, the actor spoke on taking the Iron Man mantle and Downey’s impact on the role:
I mean, I'll say Downey, Iron Man. The paychecks would be nice, but just the role is so fun. The role is, you know, he's the engine, he's the life. But I suppose that's kind of signing up for failure. I don't think there's anything anyone on this planet could do that would somehow improve upon what Downey's done, you know what I mean? I don't consider that a role that's gonna be like a James Bond or a Superman or Batman, that somehow other people get a bite at the apple. He's Iron Man, the end.
As Chris Evans mentioned, Robert Downey Jr. didn’t just play Iron Man (a.k.a. Tony Stark), he was the Marvel character. Just like Evan’s Captain America, it's probably safe to assume many Marvel fans couldn’t handle someone else as Iron Man (not even Evans). This is especially true after the emotional and dramatic death of Tony Stark in Endgame. Unlike other superhero franchises and universes, Marvel rarely ever recast roles. At this point, too people see Tony Stark and Downey as one and the same for Evans to take over, but at least he was realistic about Downey’s presence within the Marvel universe.
To be honest, if it wasn't for the success of that first Iron Man movie, there would be no Chris Evans as Captain America or MCU period. Evans’ words were more focused on Downey’s ability to become his characters, as evident by his multiple award nominations. But the same goes for Chris Evans, and the jury is still out of Wyatt Russell until we see him in action on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But regarding Downey and Evans, both actors are irreplaceable in the MCU despite Captain America passing the torch in Endgame.
With that said, Chris Evans might’ve been a good Iron Man if Robert Downey Jr. hadn’t been cast first. But with Phase Four set to explore the multiverse, you never know. Maybe both actors could return as their respective Marvel roles in a different capacity. For now, fans will just have to watch Evans (and Downey) in upcoming projects.