Captain America is not long for this world.
At least, not in his current form. The actor who plays the iconic Star Spangled Man, Chris Evans, has been talking a lot recently about how after Avengers 4 he really doesn’t know whether he’ll be sticking around in the MCU.
Originally contracted up to Infinity War, Evans signed on for Avengers 4 as well, as he was informed by Marvel’s story department that this additional movie would tie up his character’s arc, leaving things clear for him to slip quietly out of the limelight. What exactly this entails is anyone’s guess, but either way, things are clear: Chris Evans won’t have a major role in the MCU beyond Phase Three.
“I had six films in my Marvel contract, so I could have said after the third Avengers I was done, but they wanted to make the third and fourth Avengers films as a two-parter,” Evans said. “They said they had so many other characters to fit in – Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Ant Man – and couldn’t get them all into one movie. [I agreed] because it made sense. It’s going to wrap everything up.”
Evans hasn’t ruled out returning to the MCU periodically, likely on a movie-by-movie basis, as is the case with Robert Downey Jr, but considering that Evans seems a little more hesitant to commit, Marvel is almost certainly weighing up their options for the future.
All the Captain America movies have been designed around giving Marvel options to continue the franchise with another actor. It was apparent to fans from the first moment that Bucky Barnes appeared on-screen in The First Avenger that Marvel were keeping the door open for Sebastian Stan to become Captain America at some point in the future, as his character has done in the comics.
Then, in The Winter Soldier, Marvel threw another Cap into the mix – Anthony Mackie’s Falcon becomes a winged Captain America in the comics, and his inclusion in the MCU gives Marvel another actor to choose from.
But here’s the thing – Sebastian Stan has (quite rightly) pointed out that he doesn’t really need the Captain America mantle. The Winter Soldier has developed a solid fan following himself, so no matter what, by replacing Cap with an existing hero, the MCU loses out on the whole.
For this reason, it’s better if Marvel doesn’t choose either The Winter Soldier or Falcon to be the new Cap. There’s an alternative option that would be so much cooler.
Let’s talk about Ms America Chavez.
Made famous in the 2013 Young Avengers comics series, America Chavez is a relatively new comics character, but that hasn’t stopped her from making a splash. A queer Latin-American hero, Miss America represents a wider segment of the American people that are often, let’s face it, overlooked by Hollywood, and Marvel in particular.
Miss America has her own ongoing series of comics, which launched in March, and which is helping to further raise her profile. She’s a growing star within Marvel comics, and is perfectly placed to enter the MCU and provide a very different kind of superhero.
If Marvel is to replace Cap with a new hero, it makes sense to have someone that’s such an enormous departure from what’s come before – which is exactly what the MCU needs as the ball continues to roll on a shared universe that’s getting so massive that a lot of its movies are starting to blur together in people’s minds.
There are other options as well, of course. There’s Eli Bradley, better known as the Patriot, the grandson of a black Captain America that was an original test subject for the super soldier serum that turned Steve Rogers into a beefcake.
This character is far more complex and nuanced than your standard Cap – Eli doesn’t have any powers himself (at least at first), so he secretly gains his abilities from using a performance enhancing drug called Mutant Growth Hormone. If the MCU is in need of more shades of grey from its heroes (a little nuance hurts nobody), the Patriot is an excellent new version of Captain America who could perform a similar role in the team, while bringing a little more edge to the Avengers.
Of course, Marvel’s going to go the easiest possible route with the future of Captain America. In practice, that’ll likely mean paying Chris Evans obscene amounts of money to continue reprising his role. If it works with Robert Downey Jr, it’ll work with anyone.
If we won’t get Miss America of Patriot in an Avengers movie any time soon, here’s hoping we might one day get to see some version of the Young Avengers suit up, if only in a TV series. These two are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the untapped potential of this group of heroes!