Captain America is hanging up his shield(s) and riding off into the sunset.

Over the past few years, Chris Evans has gone back and forth as to whether or not he would continue playing Steve Rogers after his Marvel Studios contract expires. Once he completes planned reshoots and additional photography for Avengers 4 this year, he will be free to do, or not do, as he pleases.

In a new interview with the New York Times, writer Reggie Ugwu got the impression, but not a direct quote, that Evans is done.

Last year, he filmed back-to-back the final two Marvel movies for which he is under contract — Avengers: Infinity War, due in April, and a sequel planned for next year. For now, he has no plans to return to the franchise (“You want to get off the train before they push you off,” he said), and expects that planned reshoots in the fall will mark the end of his tenure in the familiar red, white and blue super suit.

Before anyone panics, having no plans to return is different from having no desire to return. Evans, who once talked about retiring or at least taking a large step back from acting after his Cap contract was up, said as recently as last year that he was open to playing the role again.

The only way I’ll believe Chris Evans is truly done playing Captain America is if the character dies in one of these next two Avengers movies. That is a very real possibility given that Marvel Studios did not hold writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely back from killing any particular character in those films.

Should Steve Rogers survive, however, it’s not hard to see Evans coming back after a long break. Evans will have most of this year off from his Marvel duties. He would likely be off for all of 2019 and 2020 as well. A new generation of Avengers (Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, etc.) are coming to the forefront, so Steve Rogers can be more of a mentor compared to the central figure that he is now.

Marvel Studios would not even need a solo film from Evans, as they can focus on other franchises. Evans could be called upon just once every few years for team-ups, so that he would not have to dedicate nearly as much of his time to being on set. Assuming the next Avengers film doesn’t arrive until 2022 (at the earliest), Evans would have almost three full years of Cap vacation.

By then, Evans could find himself missing the role and wanting to return. But again, that’s only if there’s still a Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

SOURCE: The New York Times