Here's some unexpected, and rather exciting, news. Deadline has confirmed that Captain America will be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Actor Chris Evans is reportedly close to signing a deal that will allow him to return in "at least one Marvel property".
This is curious because 2019's Avengers: Endgame resolved Cappy's arc on a perfect note. After all the time-travel shenanigans, death and destruction, the movie resolved itself on a note of gorgeous intimacy, as the older Steve Rogers went back in time to honour the dance with late love interest Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). It was the ideal way to come full circle on the emotional journey of the so-called First Avenger, who first marched onto our screens in the 2011 Marvel Studios movie of the same name. The World War II heroics of Captain America set in motion the individual actions of every subsequent MCU hero, emotional significance that clearly wasn't lost on directors the Russo brothers.
Evans signed out of Endgame having completed his Marvel contract. His other films encompassed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Infinity War. (He also made a great telemarketing cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming.) The rumours of Steve's return have got everyone talking – does the time-splicing nature of Avengers: Endgame mean we're going to be faced with an alternate, retro Captain America arc?
After all, the new Disney+ series WandaVision is mining great potential out of disruption to the MCU timeline. In the series, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is seen living a picture-perfect, white picket fence, 1950s lifestyle with otherwise deceased love interest Vision (Paul Bettany). Is this an expression of Wanda's emotional trauma following Vision's death at the end of Infinity War? There are lots of questions, but it shows creative willingness to scramble the chronology of the Marvel franchise, which may indicate a bold return for Captain America.
Naturally, there's speculation that Steve's comeback may tie into Marvel Phase Five. We say that because the outline of Marvel Phase Four would appear to be firmly established, beginning with Black Widow in May 2021 (at the time of writing) and ending with Thor: Love and Thunder in May 2022. That makes it more likely that Steve will appear in the Phase Five period, although the length of Phase Four could be tinkered with and extended to encompass current Phase Five movies, plus Steve's mooted new film.
On a more grounded note, we're perhaps likely to be confronted with some kind of flashback sequence or key plot reveal that will, retrospectively, add depth to his character. Deadline credits Evans' eventual return as a supporting role in the manner of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in the recent Spider-Man movies. So, clearly, we're not about to get Captain America 4. Nevertheless, fans are already tearing up the internet with their theories on Steve's return.
In fact, some would rather that the thread of Avengers: Endgame continued. The movie culminated with the aged Captain handing his shield over to his colleague Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie). At least one person on Twitter doesn't want Sam to be denied his time in the spotlight as the new Captain America.
Sam Wilson is and should be Captain America going forward.— BrandaVision (@BrandonDavisBD) January 14, 2021
Steve Rogers is in the past, literally. The story could take place in any number of points in time and not interfere with Sam being Cap. https://t.co/jQ3GXHlO7h
And just to complicate things even further, Chris Evans himself has shared his reaction to the news. Is the following tweet a way to put us off the scent? Or a sign that the news has been misreported?
News to me🤷🏻♂️— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) January 14, 2021
It was revealed recently that Evans wasn't supposed to play the older Steve during Endgame's closing moments. Anthony Mackie told The Jess Cagale Show: "They actually wanted to cast an old dude to play Chris Evans. So they brought in like three actors. They're like, none of these, like, this isn't how Chris will look when he's old."
Mackie continues: "Like, he's gonna be, he's like George Clooney. He's going to be 95 and still like handsome, you know? So, they brought in a makeup team and prosthetics and makeup and made him into an old man. And how good of an actor Chris is, it actually worked. He pulled it off with his voice and everything. He did a great job."
What will be the nature of Steve Rogers' return? Tweet us your thoughts @Cineworld.