Not all that long ago, as in, last week kind of not all that long ago, it looked like Chris Evans may be getting ready to hang up his shield for good and say goodbye to the role of Captain America. Now we have word from the actor himself that he is perfectly willing to play the part of Steve Rogers in the future, but the decision isn't really up to him. It is all up to Marvel Studios and, if they want to play ball, it sounds like Chris Evans may return in Captain America 4 after Avengers 4 brings Marvel Phase 4 to a close. Dang that's a lot of 4s!

While it is true that Chris Evans' contract will be up with Marvel following Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, that doesn't mean he is done, as was previously reported. The actor recently spoke with Collider about whether or not he would return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the upcoming brawl with Thanos. Here is what he had to say.

"It's really not up to me. My contract is up. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'No more.' I think Hugh Jackman has made 47 Wolverine movies, and they somehow keep getting better. It's a character I love, and it's a factory that really knows what they're doing. The system is sound, over there. They make great movies. If they weren't kicking out quality, I'd have a different opinion. But, everything Marvel does seems to be cinema gold. And like I said, I love the character. The only reason it would end is 'cause my contract is up. After Avengers 4, my contract is done. Talk to Marvel. If we engage further, I'd be open to it. I love the character. It's almost like high school. You certainly always look to senior year, and then, all of a sudden, senior year happens and you're like, 'I don't know if I'm ready to go.' It's tough thinking about not playing the guy."

That is a pretty encouraging answer and one would think off the bat that Marvel would be foolish to let him go, but there might be some need to read between the lines here. Chris Evans isn't sounding as though he is over the moon and will return as Cap no matter what. He is saying publically that he would like to, but that the company in charge has to make the decision. As with many things, this could wind up being about money. And this could be some form of negotiating tactic to get more of it. Sort of sit on the fence a bit and see what happens. He does have time on his side since Avengers 4 doesn't come out until 2019. We also know that these movies take up a tremendous amount of his time and that they are very physically demanding. It stands to reason that, even though he would like to stick around, as he gets older he may need some more incentive. Financial incentive. Here is what Esquire had to say recently, which is where the speculation of him retiring came from in the first place.

"Settling in on the couch, he groans. Evans explains that he's hurting all over because he just started his workout routine the day before to get in shape for the next two Captain America films. The movies will be shot back to back beginning in April. After that, no more red- white-and-blue costume for the thirty-five-year-old. He will have fulfilled his contract."

Chris Evans has been playing Captain America in the MCU since 2011 when Captain America: The First Avenger came out. Since then, his star power has risen an awful lot and he is probably second only to Robert Downey Jr., in terms of popularity and importance, to the MCU. That said, Robert Downey Jr. is a bigger star outside of Marvel and Chris Evans is more or less a star because of Marvel. Also, Marvel does have options when it comes to the future of Captain America. In the comics, both Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) have taken up the mantle of Captain America. So there's always that.

There are a lot of angles to this but it ultimately looks like Chris Evans is, at the very least, open to returning as Captain America. That should come as welcome news for MCU fans. There is also the interesting notion that him wanting to return implies that Captain America is going to make it out of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 alive. We'll have to see how that all shakes out when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018, with Avengers 4 set to come out a year later on May 3, 2019.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott