One of the most prominent characters during the Golden Age of Comic Books, Captain America made his debut in March 1941. The character's inception was a direct reaction to the start of World War II, and Captain America was meant to represent the ideals of the allied forces. But after the war ended, the character saw a dip in popularity, leading to the comic book being discontinued. Of course, Marvel ended up bringing the character back into the mainstream during the Silver Age, where Steve Rogers was brought up to present day, eventually sending him on a journey to become the leader of the Avengers.
While Captain America has seen his fair share of big and small screen incarnations over the years, Chris Evans' portrayal of Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made the hero more popular than ever before. Evans made his debut as the star-spangled hero in 2011’ Captain America: The First Avenger — a movie which went to great lengths to remain true to the character’s comic book origins. Since then, Evans has popped up in nine Marvel movies while also being at the center of what is largely considered the best trilogy in the franchise to date.
So with the character's inevitable departure right around the corner in this year's Avengers: Endgame, what better time than now to look back at the actor's time playing the iconic hero? Here are 20 Wild Details Behind Chris Evans' Captain America.
Being offered a leading role in the MCU seems like it would be the opportunity of a lifetime for most actors. Yet Chris Evans was extremely apprehensive about taking up the mantle of Captain America when the part first came his way.
Evans reportedly turned down the role of Captain America three times before changing his mind. Clearly, the actor had no qualms about starring in a comic book movie— as he had previously shown up as one of the members of the Fantastic Four– but Evans did have his hang-ups about signing on for a six-film deal.
At the time, the ongoing success of the MCU was far from a sure thing, and there was no way to know what Evans was getting himself into. However, Evans said that it was this fear that made him excited for the challenge.
We’re so used to hearing about actors’ salaries being in the millions that it might be surprising for many to find out that Evans made just $300,000 for his first solo outing. While $300,000 is far from chump change, it pales in comparison to the $15 million that Robert Downey Jr. made in Spider-Man: Homecoming — a part which came to just about eight minutes of screen time.
But this is actually a rather common occurrence for an actor’s first “major” movie role. For instance, Gal Gadot reportedly made the same amount for Wonder Woman, while Chris Hemsworth earned half of that for the first Thor film. Even Downey Jr. — a far better-known actor — was only paid $500,000 for starring in Iron Man.
Of course, once the MCU started taking off, so did the actors’ salaries. For his second appearance as Captain America in The Avengers, Evans’ pay reportedly jumped from $300,000 to $2 million — which is even more impressive considering how much less time he spends on screen.
Evans’ salary has only continued to increase since then, with the actor allegedly earning $3.2 million for The Winter Soldier, $6.9 million for Age of Ultron, and $8 million for Infinity War. Though he may not be the highest-paid Avengers, Evans was named the best value actor by Forbes for 2015 and 2016. At this time, the actor earned the studio an estimated $136 for every dollar he was paid.
Chris Evans originally signed on for six Marvel movies: three Captain American outings and three Avengers installments. However, the actor must have been open to extending his contract to include Avengers: Endgame — as it’s really a continuation of everything we saw in Infinity War.
Even if we didn’t know any of the behind-the-scenes happenings of the MCU, Captain America would top most people’s lists of characters most likely to meet their demise in Endgame. However, since it seems like Evans’ contract is also up after Avengers 4, the character’s fate seems all but sealed.
Whether or not that means Steve Rogers will meet his demise or simply retire the mantel of Captain America has yet to be seen.
As we’ve already mentioned, Evans originally signed a six-picture deal with Marvel Studios. Since cameos don’t count, this deal would have technically concluded with Avengers: Infinity War — though the actor has clearly extended his contract to appear in a seventh and, most likely, final film.
However, if Disney had originally had their way, Evans might still have been on the hook for two more movies following Avengers: Endgame.
Apparently, they wanted Evans to commit to nine pictures right out of the gate. But since this massive commitment was the actor’s number one apprehension about taking the part, they likely dropped down to a six-film deal — which has since become the standard commitment for many MCU actors.
They may not be a couple in real life, (or even on the big screen,) but Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson were actually close friends way before they were cast in the MCU.
They first met on the set of the 2004 comedy The Perfect Score, where Johansson was already a well-known name thanks to her recent turn in the critically-acclaimed Lost in Translation. Meanwhile, Evans was a bit of an up-and-comer whose career wouldn’t really take off until he landed the part of Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four.
In fact, it was because of the lackluster Fantastic Four films that Evans was apprehensive about signing on for another Marvel property. But his friend Johansson — who had already signed on to appear in Iron Man 2 — was one of the people who helped convince Evans to finally take the part.
Easily one of the most recognizable objects in the MCU, Captain America’s shield has had a long and rich history on both the page and the screen.
In the MCU, Cap’s shield owes its impressive durability to vibranium — the element which crash-landed on Earth thousands of years ago in the area that is now known as Wakanda. In the comics, however, the shield is said to be made out of both vibranium and adamantium.
Adamantium is the alloy which makes up Wolverine’s skeleton and claws. Because this metal had already shown up in the X-Men film franchise, it was too closely connected to 20th Century Fox. Therefore, adamantium has yet to get the credit it deserves in the MCU.
In the comics, Captain America only spent a few decades on ice before being thawed out, but in order to bring the character up to the present, the MCU had to greatly prolong Cap’s time spent in the Arctic.
With 70 years lost, Steve decides to make a to-do list of everything worth catching up on. These include a number of important historical events, such as the moon landing, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as a number of pop culture landmarks such as Star Wars and I Love Lucy.
Depending upon where the movie was released, Steve’s to-do list actually changes. For instance, in the UK, The Beatles easily make the cut. Meanwhile, Steve Irwin, AC/DC, and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo all made their way onto the Australian list.
In most instances, the MCU seems to have nerfed the powers of their heroes to make them more realistic. In the case of Captain America, however, the big screen version is actually a lot stronger than the character is typically portrayed on page.
In the comics, Captain America is supposed to be the representation of peak human condition. In other words, he should only be able to lift as much as the strongest person in the world and run only as fast as a human is capable of.
But in the movies, Captain America’s abilities are easily far greater than any human being would ever be capable of. He’s survived plenty of falls that would have otherwise proven fatal. Not to mention that he was able to bicep curl an entire helicopter and prevent it from taking flight.
In one of Captain America’s most impressive feats of strength, the character is able to prevent Bucky from taking flight in a helicopter using nothing but sheer muscle strength.
The moment not only demonstrated just how strong this incarnation of Captain America was, but once again put Chris Evans’ impressive body transformation on full display. If there’s a reason this feat looked exceptional painful, it’s because it actually was.
While Evans may not have literally been able to stop a helicopter from taking flight, the scene was indeed filmed with a real helicopter. While filming, Evans ended up straining so hard that he seriously injured his arm, resulting in the actor having to take months off from working out.
Chris Evans has said that since he’s naturally on the skinny side, putting on the mass to play Captain America was no easy feat. Even still, the actor was nowhere near as scrawny as the 98 pound Steve Rogers who appears at the beginning of The First Avenger.
It’s easy to assume that the filmmakers digitally applied Evans’ face to another actor, but they actually found a way to use Evans for the vast majority of these scenes.
Because Evans’ was so adamant about doing the body work for the character, they found a way to digitally shrink him down for the first third of the film, leaving only a handful of scenes where the performance was shared between two actors.
Some actors spend years petitioning to portray their favorite comic book characters up on the big screen. Ryan Reynolds did it for Deadpool, and one of the main reasons Ben Affleck took the part of Daredevil was because he never thought he would have the chance to play Batman.
As far as Evans was concerned, he had never been a big fan of Captain America. Or comic books in general, for that matter.
Thankfully, this in no way stopped the actor from perfectly embodying the character that many had come to love over the course of decades. Evans not only committed to a serious physical transformation, but he played Captain America with the same courage and solidarity that has long been synonymous with the Marvel hero.
When Steve Rogers finally makes his transformation into Captain America in The First Avengers, Chris Evans knew that the audiences had to truly believe the character had just become the strongest human in existence. Therefore, he worked out two hours a day months before filming began to prepare for this scene. And while the actor may take some much-needed time off from the gym in-between films, that doesn’t mean he stops working out for the shoot. Or even in-between takes for that matter.
For this big reveal in particular, Evans said he worked out in-between shooting so he could look as big as possible on screen. Understandably, this would have made for an extremely exhausting day on set. Thankfully, all the effort certainly paid off when it came to the audience's ability to suspend their disbelief.
With a six-picture deal in place, Chris Evans could have been done playing Captain America with the release of Avengers: Infinity War. After all, the actor has stated numerous times in the past that he was ready to move away from the franchise to focus on more dramatic work and a career in directing.
While Evans still seems more than ready to part ways with the star-spangled hero, the actor also did seem to warm up to the passionate fanbase in the last few years — which might have been one of the reasons he decided to extend his contract to include Avengers: Endgame.
Of course, with the MCU being as tightly constructed as it is, we doubt the filmmakers would have gone ahead with this Avengers two-parter without locking down their actors first.
With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, studios often have an exhaustive audition process for their leading stars. Even if the actor nails a number of solo auditions, chances are that they’re still going to have to make it past a number of screen test with other actors before they're officially offered the part.
However, Evans somehow managed to avoid the audition process altogether for Captain America.
Despite the studio looking at a number of other actors — including Channing Tatum, Ryan Phillippe, and John Krasinski — Evans was clearly their number one pick. The studio not only let Evans avoid the dreaded audition process, but they kept pursuing the actor after he turned them down multiple times.
Iron Man was famous for how much the actors were allowed to improvise on set — which is rarely the case for a big budget action movie. While the humor has continued throughout the franchise, the freedom to improvise has no doubt been reduced.
That said, there have been a number of memorable MCU moments that weren’t in the script or previously rehearsed by the actors. One of which came when Evans made his reveal as Captain America.
Hayley Atwell was reportedly so taken with Evan’s physique that she couldn’t help but reach out and touch his chest. Atwell said she almost broke character during the scene. Thankfully, the actress managed to keep it together long enough for this genuine moment to make it into the final cut.
While many people now think of the MCU as the beginning of the comic book phenomenon, the genre really started to gain momentum years earlier thanks to the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises. As a result, Chris Evans had actually starred in his fair share of comic book movies before he was ever offered the chance to play Captain America.
Of course, many still remember him as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four series — where Evans was easily one of the standouts of the franchise, but his other lesser-known comic book movies include TMNT, Push, The Losers, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. With many of these movies failing to win over critics and audiences alike, it’s no wonder that Evans was hesitant to suit up for another comic book movie.
Aside from a few classic characters — including Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk — the MCU has given many comic book characters their first live-action treatment. While Chris Evans may be the only Captain America that modern-day audiences are familiar with, Evans is actually the fifth actor to portray the character in a live-action adaptation.
The first actor to put on the red, white, and blue was Dick Purcell in the 1944 serial film. Here, Captain American’s origins were dramatically changed. Instead of being a WWII soldier named Steve Rogers, Captain America was a District Attorney named Grant Gardner.
He was more faithfully depicted by Aytekin Akkaya, Reb Brown, and Matt Salinger in later movies — though Evans' turn as the character is the closest to the comic book by far.
For as well-received as Evans has been in the role of Captain America, the actor has been outspoken about wanting to part ways with the franchise for some time. One of his major hang-ups about joining was being tied to the character for so long — which is an apprehension that Evans apparently never got over.
While it’s understandable for any actor to fear being typecast or solely recognized as one character for the remainder of their careers, Evans has enjoyed continued success in other projects while appearing in the MCU. These include such films as Snowpiercer and Gifted, as well as Evans’ 2014 directorial debut Before We Go.
Nevertheless, Evans hasn't been shy about wanting to move on from the superhero franchise in favor of more diverse film work.
Audiences already know that many of the characters who met their demise at the end of Infinity War are going to be back in Endgame and beyond. After all, the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home has already been released, and there’s no way the MCU isn’t giving Black Panther a sequel.
But that still leaves the fate of many characters up in the air. Captain America, however, isn’t one of them
Chris Evans famously took to Twitter to say goodbye to the character once filming wrapped. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Captain America meets his demise in the film, only that Evans is done playing him. Of course, there's always the slim chance that the whole thing is just a massive misdirect.
So what interesting facts do you love about Chris Evans' Captain America? Let us know!