The writing on the wall happens to spell doom for one certain Marvel character, and his death will have huge implications on the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. That character? Captain America, Steve Rogers. Here’s what we know so far…
Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier, has a nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios. In the credits of The Winter Soldier, we’re treated to an interesting vignette that suggests Barnes will factor into the next film somehow, but it’s the number of films Stan is contracted to that’s more interesting. Chris Evans, who currently plays Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, only has two more films left on his contract which means that someone will have to assume the Captain role after Steve Rogers exits.
Sebastian Stan’s contract far outlasts Chris Evans’ — Evans’ final films will be Captain America 3 (May 2016) and Avengers 3 (May 2018) — and in the comics, Bucky Barnes assumes the mantle of Captain America for a while. Stan spoke to Newsarama about the possibility of becoming Captain America.
Newsarama: Sebastian, you started off playing Bucky Barnes in the first movie, who became the Winter Solider in the second. In the comics, Bucky became Captain America for a while. Is this going to happen with you?
Sebastian Stan: I don’t know! [laughs] They don’t tell me anything. That’s just the truth.
Okay, so Stan didn’t say much there, which obviously means he’s hiding something. Captain America 3 will be the first film to feature an Avenger following the second chapter in the lynchpin’s saga, and will begin the Civil War narrative that was a big event for Marvel Comics in 2006.
Here’s how it goes down in the books: Captain and Iron Man (Tony Stark) form opposing parties when the Registration Act forces super-powered beings to reveal their identities and register with the government. Cap’n opposes the act, and forms an anti-registration group that clashes with Stark’s. The two sides battle, until Captain surrenders and calls for his group to stand down as well. Steve Rogers is indicted in a criminal case following the Civil War, but he’s shot outside a federal courthouse during the proceedings and pronounced dead. Stark receives a letter following Rogers’ death from Rogers himself calling for Bucky Barnes to assume the Captain America identity if he were to perish. Bucky agrees and become Captain America.
Not only will Robert Downey Jr. play Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War, but Marvel is also maneuvering to bring Spider-Man into their universe — he factored heavily into Civil War’s narrative. All making sense how Rogers’ demise seems imminent? If Avengers: Infinity War pt. I — Evans’ final contracted Marvel film — features the end of the Civil War saga, then it’s possible that Steve Rogers could perish at the end of the story like in the comics — or maybe even during a climatic battle with Thanos over the final Infinity Stone — and that will spur the Avengers to fight like madmen in Infinity War 2.
Reddit user Samus1225 posited an interesting theory that further evidence of his death may be in the sheer poetic nature of the timing of it. In the MCU, Rogers was born on July 4th, 1918. Avengers 3 will be released one month before Steve Rogers turns 100 years old, and Marvel films generally follow the time period they’re released in (i.e. Iron Man in 2008, The Avengers 2012). So, how perfect would it be for Rogers to die on his centennial celebration, the nation’s anniversary of independence, and the exact same time the film will be in theaters?
If Rogers were to die, it may not be the last time we’ll see Evans, though. In the comic books, he eventually comes back as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., then the Captain again, and in an interview with Collider in 2014, Evans left the door open to possible appearances outside of his current contract.
I have a six-movie contract with Marvel and I absolutely plan on fulfilling them. This is without a doubt the biggest blessing in my life. Marvel has literally changed the game for me, and they make great movies. I did direct last year and it was a really fantastic experience, I really enjoyed it. So I’m certainly looking to do that a bit more, so when it comes to exploring other acting jobs I may not be as proactive in trying to find those, I may kind of stick with my Marvel universe in terms of getting in front of the camera, and then getting behind the camera outside of it.”
Does your brain hurt, yet?