Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins next year and Marvel Studios has already unveiled its entire release schedule, the entire plan, for what will make up their next 10 movies. Among them might be the last "solo" movies for Captain America and Thor, each getting their third installment and rounding out their trilogies just as Iron Man 3 did in Phase 2.
And while the contracts for the leads of these three sub-franchises (Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Robert Downey Jr.) all expire with Avengers: Infinity War, the Captain America franchise is a bit of a unique case and may be the most likely to see a fourth installment in Phase 4.
That's simply because Captain America isn't one person. Technically, neither is Thor and in the last year of Marvel Comics Jane Foster became the female Thor and member of The Avengers. But before that happened, Steve Rogers - the original Captain America - was "killed off" at the end of the Civil War crossover event and his old WWII best pal Bucky Barnes took up the mantle, sporting his own unique star-spangled Avengers uniform.
More recently in the comics, as Steve Rogers shows his true age, his other best pal Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon has become the new Captain America where he continues to serve as a leader for The Avengers. Given Chris Evans' contract with Marvel Studios ending after six pictures and his words in the past saying he was ready to leave Marvel and focus on directing, it seemed obvious that Anthony Mackie or Sebastian Stan would put on the costume to carry the franchise forward. It was a no-brainer given that Marvel had already planned ahead from the beginning and signed Stan to a 9-picture deal. Clearly, Stan must become Cap at some point, right?
We Got This Covered asked Stan while he was promoting The Martian if he would like to see Bucky takeover the role of Captain America from Steve Rogers to which he sarcastically responded "no" before saying he actually "thinks about it every day."
"To be honest, I really enjoy my job over there. I'm very happy going to work and doing what I do. I love the character that I have. It's up to a lot of different things and whatever Marvel decides, I'm game."
With the success of Marvel Studios movies and now the shake-up of its leadership, putting actors' favorite Kevin Feige at top and fully in charge, Evans has changed his tune and he now claims publicly he'd love to stick around with Marvel, that he's "terrified" to leave the role. The sheer excitement for Captain America: Civil War can't hurt either, especially given that it will be its creative team (writers, producers and directors) also developing both Avengers: Infinity War movies in 2018-19.
Evans is essentially at the center of that and it can't be easy walking away. If it does come down to that in the story however, Sebastian Stan is "game" to step up. And he already has a great supporting crew of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie).
Given the desire to keep things fresh and to explore different types of movies, it's inevitable that someone else will become Captain America but the beauty of the comics is that Chris Evans can still return as Steve Rogers, just as he does in the comics. The same goes for Chris Hemsworth should someone else become Thor. He can still pop up here and there (much easier on his real-life schedule) as Odinson and still have a part in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe without needing the actor to be on set or on lengthy press tours annually.
Here's what Sebastian Stan told us on the set of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in early 2014:
"I hope I’m not 45 by the time that happens [Laughs]. I hope I’m still strong enough. I really don’t know, man. It’s hard to, like you said, it’s very easy to start daydreaming about, but it’s like I don’t remember personally feeling more present in an experience than I have felt in this. Day to day, moment to moment, just present. I mean, there have been times we were shooting when I honestly, I couldn’t even think about what was coming next week. It’s a great question that I’m sure will hopefully keep coming up. And there will be an answer one day, but who knows."
And let's not forget Lainey Gossip's scoop about Captain America: Civil War from back in May where they claimed Winter Soldier's role in the MCU is about to get much, much bigger.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man– July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.
Source: We Got This Covered
Art by ChaoyuanXu