Chris Evans has finished filming Avengers 4, and with it officially completed his time as Captain America - something we've known since 2014. The last year or so has seen a flurry of rumors that he just might stick around, but those rumors have proved to be ill-founded; just as he announced four years ago, Chris Evans has hung up his shield for the last time.
In March this year, Chris Evans dashed hopes that he'd choose to remain in the MCU after the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4. "You want to get off the train before they push you off," he told journalists, and it seems that the last few months haven't changed his mind. Today, he confirmed on social media that he'd finished his reshoots for the fourth Avengers film, and that his time as an Avenger had come to an end. "Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor," he told his fans. "To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful."
This may be a sad day for Marvel lovers, but it's worth looking back and realizing we've always known it was coming. In fact, Evans first announced his departure as far back as 2014. In an interview with BuzzFeed on the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron, he revealed that his time with the Avengers would finish with Avengers 4. Evans confirmed to the site that, at the time, he only had three more films left on his contract; Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers 4.
"So halfway through! I mean, I'm going to miss these when they're done. I really will. This has been a lot of fun, and they're only getting more fun. Especially because there's a trust in Marvel that you're going to make something good. It would really be lousy to be stuck in a contract knowing that you're making s***. And I just don't feel that way. It's really a blessing that this kind of fell in my lap. Sometimes you don't really feel deserving of it. But I'll take it."
It seems that Avengers 4 was always intended to be the final act of Steve Rogers' story, and nothing has changed over the last half-decade. Evans has long talked of wanting to diversify his career a little after he left Marvel Studios, by stepping behind the camera and serving as a director and producer. He recognized that the Marvel contract gave him "opportunities that might be a little harder to get on their feet without the notoriety that Marvel brings," and aimed to strike while the iron's hot.
Evans already has some experience in this role; in 2014 he served as producer and director for Before We Go and executive producer for Playing It Cool. But you'll notice that the hectic and demanding production schedule of the MCU has essentially put that side of his career on hold for the last four years. Now that his time with Marvel is over, Evans has a whole host of projects in the works; he's signed up to Rian Johnson's Knives Out, as well as Neil Blomkamp's Greenland. But the most exciting opportunity for Evans is probably on the small screen, where he'll be both starring and executive producer Apple's upcoming legal thriller Defending Jacob. Quite how Evans' schedule will work out right now is anybody's guess, but it's exciting to see he is indeed getting the chance to broaden out his career and get more experience as an executive producer. Those hopes he talked about back in 2014 really are coming to pass.
The MCU's loss is, it seems, Hollywood's gain. As Chris Evans' interview in 2014, he's always planned to step up to some new challenges when his time with the MCU came to an end in Avengers 4, and now he's doing just that. Captain America would be proud.