Since debuting in 2011, Steve Rogers has had an awe-inspiring journey to become one of the more engrossing characters of the MCU. From being frozen in the arctic circle to waking up in a future where aliens attack cities through a wormhole in the sky, the Man Out of Time has learned quickly that to be a hero of the people, you have to act like one. But for all his unapologetic patriotism in times where civil unrest feels like an everyday topic, Captain America still feels like an antiquated figure that time will soon pass over.
Stepping into the role as the persevering young Rogers in the first film, Chris Evans’ transition from a puny Brooklynite to a top class super soldier has been a sight to behold. The blue-eyed charmer brought an endearing sense of pride and earnestness to the role while revamping the character by adding a touch of sincerity to the character that never shied away from the Avenger’s good-natured roots. Evans has left an indelible mark on the MCU, but as Avengers: Infinity War quickly approaches, the actor’s future with the franchise remains in question.
As much as we’d enjoy seeing Evans develop his version of Rogers in future adaptations, we know that the betterment of the Marvel universe may come at the expense of others. With a major death inevitably heading our way, we take a look at the 15 Reasons the MCU Should Kill Off Captain America.
15. Chris Evans Wants To Leave
Much like his fellow MCU alum Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans is a veteran of on-screen superheroics. Prior to signing on to play Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, the actor had already starred as the Flaming Torch in two disastrous Fantastic Four flicks and has since starred in multiple other comic book adaptations, including The Losers, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and Snowpiercer.
Initially, Evans showed signs of concern regarding the Star-Spangled Avenger, having experienced criticisms for his portrayal of the egotistical Johnny Storm. He has since settled into the role and even extended his contract with Marvel Studios for one extra film in order to complete the two-part Infinity War storyline in the upcoming third and fourth Avengers movies, but don’t count on seeing the actor in the MCU much longer. Evans has expressed interest in leaving the acting world to explore a career in directing and has already dabbled with the idea, premiering his directorial debut Before We Go in 2015. He’s reiterated several times how much he’s enjoying his time with Marvel, but it seems that he’s ready to move on from Steve Rogers.
14. Most Of Steve Rogers’ Friends Are Dead Already
In a franchise which consistently questions the boundaries of human endeavor and the governmental oversight over those boundaries, one individual sticks out like a sore thumb. While Tony Stark reflects the billionaire industrialist who hopes to better the future through aspiring new technologies, Captain America is living in an antiquated past where morality is black and white and the problems that have arisen from technological innovation are something altogether new.
While the rest of the Avengers continue to look to the future, Rogers continues to hark back to the past where ideologies were clearer and times were simpler. It’s in the past where many of Rogers’ philosophies died, along with his friends of the World War II era. Along with Agent Peggy Carter’s death in Civil War, Rogers lost his most compelling romantic interest. With Bucky Barnes now safe and firmly established as part of the MCU, Captain America can retire with the many of his deceased compatriots, giving a fitting end to his story.
13. No More Questionable Politics That Leave the Avengers Vulnerable
As a hero for the people, the Steve Rogers of the comics became an outspoken symbol of patriotism, spreading justice and pushing his nationalist message with a firm hand. The Rogers of the MCU, however, has taken a drastic turn as a Libertarian in an attempt to value the transparency of government and restore value to civil liberties. Although his actions have been largely admirable, he’s decisions along the way have blindsided him, bringing his character into question.
In Captain America: Civil War, Cap rejects the Sokovia Accords after believing the regulation of enhanced individuals such as the Avengers would only put more civilians in harm’s way. Although others may have sided with Rogers’ views, he divided the superhero group, leading to an all-out fight which could have caused irreversible damage to the public and opened up wounds for future enemies to use against them. With the Star-Spangled Avenger gone, these kinds of mistakes would be much less likely to repeat themselves down the line.
12. It Could Change Earth’s Perception of The Avengers for the Better…
Alien invasions in downtown Manhattan; innocent civilians floating miles above the ground in Sokovia, and several humanitarian workers killed after an inadvertent explosion in Lagos – these are the events which led the United Nations to convene in Civil War to pass the Sokovia Accords in order to gain control over the Avengers and restore their public perception.
Although the idea of the Avengers is called into question in the MCU after the devastation left behind by each of their battles, the truth is many of the individual heroes still hold up as powerful icons among civilians. Captain America was once so admired by the public for nobly sacrificing himself during World War II that people collected trading cards with his image and read about him in history books. With another public sacrifice where he puts his own life before the public’s, Cap would once again become a symbol for justice while also leaving his fellow Avengers with a better reputation as Earth learns to restore their faith in superheroes once again.
11. Or Potentially Destroy Their Image for Good
When Disney bought Marvel Studios in 2009, the fledgling MCU had just taken off with its first box office hits, but even in its early development, the stage had been set. Unlike other big name studios, Disney has a brand recognition to uphold. The family-oriented company wasn’t about to risk their biggest cash-winning franchise by darkening its tone, but with the universe now facing narrative constraints, it’s finally time for the Avengers to face consequences for their actions.
Following the death of a veteran hero like Captain America, a cloud will loom large over the rest of the MCU, potentially giving way to more imposing threats and having a lasting effects on the psyches of many of the Avengers. Suddenly, the vulnerability of the group will come to light and the team will inevitably lose credibility as their efficiency is brought into question. Not only will their mortality become a reality, but they could equally be persecuted by the public as they risk becoming more villainous under the watchful eyes of the people.
10. He Could Always Return
If the MCU has taught us anything, it’s that Marvel hates goodbyes. Whether it’s from fear of viewer backlash or just sentimental attachment, Marvel has yet to pull the plug on any of its recurring heroes. With Infinity War now being hyped up as the ending to many of the MCU’s biggest names, expectations are at an all time high for someone notable to bite the dust, but we wouldn’t be so quick to discharge someone simply because they take an early exit.
As was the case with Agent Phil Coulson in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel has shown they’re not afraid to resurrect a dead character even if the explanation defies logic. In a world where one character’s actions can have significant influence, it’s easy to see how Captain America may be resurrected further down the line. Now with the reveal of the Time Stone in Doctor Strange, Rogers’ revival wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility if Chris Evans decided to come back.
9. It Could Give Sam Wilson or Bucky Barnes a Chance to Take Over
Before the premiere of Civil War, many viewers believed the MCU’s Steve Rogers would meet a similar fate to the one in the comics, leading to speculation that another Avenger could step up to take his place. Much like the source material, the prime candidates to fill the position would be Rogers’ closest allies, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Although both characters are just now coming into their own as standalone heroes, they have shown enough similarities to Cap to warrant a comparison.
As the witty, high-flying pilot with an aerial assault capable of outmaneuvering even the most aerobatic fighters, Falcon has proven he has a niche for handling a gravity-defying weapon like Cap’s shield. Meanwhile, The Winter Soldier has become competent enough in one-on-one combat that he managed to nearly take down Rogers by himself. Although either character would deservedly earn the right to take over the mantle of Captain America, it would only happen if Rogers were unable to continue his job.
8. It Could Set Up Solo Movies For Recurring Characters
When it comes to origin stories, a few members of the Avengers have sadly gotten the short end of the stick. While rumors of a solo Black Widow movie have circulated online since her debut in Iron Man 2, the KGB operative turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has yet to receive the hard-hitting espionage thriller she rightly deserves. Meanwhile, other MCU additions including Hawkeye, Falcon, and The Winter Soldier have proven to be capable of carrying a movie on their own if given the right platform.
As it stands, the MCU isn’t likely to promote any of these characters to full-time stars withou making some room on the solo movie docket. Giving the right context, a major death could be the motivational spark to launch one of them to the next level. In the cases of Black Widow, Falcon, and The Winter Soldier, all three have close ties to Steve Rogers, whose demise could give them reason to carry out their own journey of self-discovery.
7. It Could Fix Marvel’s Villain Problem…
Although the deaths of Marvel movie protagonists are few and far between, there has been no shortage of villains who have gotten the ax early on. From Obadiah Stane to Ego the Living Planet, the MCU has had no problem undermining its antagonists by delivering a typical “good conquers evil” storyline in most of its movies, but what would happen if the actions of one villain were enough to leave a lasting effect on the outcome of the universe?
So far, Marvel has promised to address the issues concerning their lack of dastardly on-screen foes with Thanos in Infinity War, but we still foresee a not so happy end for the Mad Titan before the end credits of the fourth Avengers flick. Still, even in his defeat, the Infinity Gauntlet-wielding ruler will ultimately leave the superhero group disheartened. As one of the de facto leaders of the Avengers, Captain America is a prime candidate to feel the supervillain’s wrath, paving the way for bigger enemies to come.
6. …And Make the MCU More Unpredictable
Take a look at the box office receipts for every entry of the MCU so far and it’s easy to see why Marvel has stuck to its formula. When fans continue to buy tickets, they provide overwhelmingly positive feedback, but they also curtail the narrative progression of the characters. Since the beginning, the MCU has slowly worked its way toward Infinity War, but in that time, few characters’ lives have ever felt truly threatened.
As with any world-building film series, when an audience is introduced to a character, they know it won’t last forever. Although we might wish for a happy resolution, the peaceful outcome may not always be the most honest depiction. If you’re a superhero who risks life and limb on a daily basis, the likelihood of continuing unscathed is virtually nonexistent. At some point, the risks have to catch up with the Avengers, and with Rogers’ death, the group will learn that no one stays invincible for long.
5. His Death Could Bring The Avengers Back Together…
At the end of Civil War, the Avengers are rocked by Helmut Zemo’s revelation that the Winter Soldier was responsible for the death of Tony Stark’s parents. Until that moment, the separation between the Avengers felt largely like a temporary disagreement among friends. Although some may have walked away worse than others, it looked like a conflict that would be settled by the film’s end, but now, the divide has become so large that only a truly devastating moment could piece everything together again.
With Thanos in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, the Avengers will soon face an enemy with near omnipotent power. Although the villain will be enough to force Captain America and Iron Man to work together, it won’t mend the scars leftover from their feud. Only an emotional exit could heal those wounds. If Rogers dies, their differences could easily be dismissed as the Avengers rally behind their lost companion to pay respects to his memory and defeat their biggest threat. Oh, and avenge him, obviously.
4. …Or Potentially Worsen the Effects of Civil War
On the flip side of the Civil War dispute, an intervening omnipresence with the meticulous mind of Thanos could also be another step in the wrong direction for the Avengers. If the Mad Titan does manage to kill someone as significant to the group as Captain America, the rift between Team Stark and Team Rogers could become even stronger as folks continue to play the blame game.
In a scenario in which Thanos manages to cunningly manipulate his adversaries, we could see a set-up in which the Avengers become so opposed to one another that any divergence could potentially spawn another Civil War arc, or even another group such as the New Avengers. Given the various personalities on-screen and Marvel’s trepidation towards killing off its characters so far, we could see the MCU establishing yet another team with one heroic sacrifice setting it all off.
3. It Leaves Room For Tony Stark to Take a More Limited Role
If you’ve read the speculation surrounding who will be the first to say goodbye to the MCU, you likely know Robert Downey Jr.’s time with Marvel may soon come to an end. But whereas Chris Evans hasn’t given us much reason to doubt his departure, RDJ has continually re-upped his contract in a limited capacity. Although we’re not holding our breath for a fourth Iron Man film, it’s easy to still envision a future for Stark in the MCU.
In his last appearance, Tony took a backseat to Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming as he watched over his web-slinging protege save the day. With the billionaire playboy now warming up to the idea of passing the torch to the next generation of superheroes, all it will take is the right move for him to finally hang up his armor. With the weight of Captain America’s death on his conscience, we could see Iron Man becoming the wise teacher moving into the MCU’s next phase.
2. It Brings the MCU Back Into the Modern Age…
When a beloved protagonist is killed off in a big way, his or her death shouldn’t merely be praised for its shock value, but should symbolize a change in narrative for everyone involved. Captain America is not only the oldest living member of the Avengers, he’s a living reminder of the antiquated Golden Age of comics, with his history reaching as far back as the days of World War II. Although he’s grown more accustomed to the modern era, killing him off would mean making the complete transition to the future of the MCU.
With the ever-evolving paranoia surrounding the privacy of citizens into today’s tech-driven society and the political ramifications that come with it, the world is opening up to a new type of threat which can target everyone in their homes. Although Rogers is the prototypical, justice-seeking hero we can all get behind, he’s playing on a different field than he’s used to, which is why his death is necessary to usher in a new age.
1. …Which Will Help Launch Phase Four
Beginning with the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel will usher in a new era of the MCU. According to Kevin Feige, with the end of the now untitled fourth Avengers film, the universe will complete a 22-movie arc which began with the introduction of many of the heroes, arrived at the creation of the Avengers, and will ultimately culminate with many of the members bowing out to make room for the newest selection of heroes.
As the studio presses forward with the latest developments of the franchise, a bigger threat still looms large. The immediate impact of Infinity War will likely change the game as a new host of enemies step up to the plate and the Avengers look to a world where many of their teammates have said goodbye. The shift to phase four will happen with a bang and likely with an eye-opening death at the hands of the franchise’s greatest adversary. With Captain America gone, the MCU will shed its past and look to the future as it hopes to expand further into the unexplored corners of the universe.
Should Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers be allowed to ride off into the sunset, or should the MCU send Captain America out in a blaze of glory? Let us know in the comments.
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