‘Avengers: Endgame’: Chris Evans Wasn’t Supposed to Play Old Cap

Avengers: Endgame brought Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face to face with their most formidable foe yet. Since Thanos (Josh Brolin) was responsible for the Chitauri invasion in The Avengers, his two-part showdown with the heroes paid off years of storytelling. And indeed, Avengers: Endgame brought many character stories to a close, including Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans). But Evans nearly didn’t even appear in Cap’s final scene.

Chris Evans at the 'Avengers: Endgame' premiere
Chris Evans at the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ premiere | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

‘Avengers: Endgame’ ends Captain America’s story in a surprising way

For years, MCU fans had been predicting that Captain America would sacrifice his life to save the world. After all, Steve Rogers does meet his end in the comics. Even before he took the Super Soldier Serum in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve was willing to jump on what he believed was a live grenade. But Cap doesn’t make the sacrifice play; Iron Man does.

Instead, Avengers: Endgame concludes Steve Rogers’ story in a very unexpected way. After returning each of the Infinity Stones to their respective timelines, Steve chooses to stay back in the 1940s with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). So when he reappears to Sam (Anthony Mackie) in 2023, he’s now an old man who spent decades with the love of his life.

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But Chris Evans wasn’t supposed to play ‘Old Cap’ in that iconic scene

The emotion of the scene plays in large part because, thanks to movie magic, Evans transforms into a much older version of himself. But as Mackie recently revealed on Sirius XM’s The Jess Cagle Show, Evans wasn’t supposed to play “Old Cap” in that sequence at all.

“They actually wanted to cast an old dude to play Chris Evans. So they brought in like three actors. They’re like…this isn’t how Chris will look when he’s old. He’s like George Clooney — he’s going to be 95 and still like handsome, you know? So they brought in a makeup team and made him into an old man. And how good of an actor Chris is, it actually worked. He pulled it off with his voice and everything. He did a great job.”

Likely, the scene wouldn’t have had the same impact if directors Joe and Anthony Russo had gone a different way. Thankfully, Evans and Mackie both masterfully tackle the moment, which also includes Steve passing the mantle of Captain America off to Sam.

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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ will tackle Cap’s heroic legacy

But just because Steve Rogers handed his friend a shield doesn’t make Sam official just yet. After all, the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier centers on Cap’s legacy. And Mackie hinted on The Jess Cagle Show there’s a much more complicated story to tell.

“At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Cap decided he was going into retirement, and he asked me if I would take up the shield. But at no point in time did I agree to or say that I would be Captain America. So the show walks the line of who is going to take up the shield and who’s going to be Captain America if Steve isn’t coming back.”

MCU fans — particularly those who loved the Captain America trilogy — are excited to see how the show plays out. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is, in large part, the equivalent to a fourth Cap movie. And its events will certainly shape the future of the MCU in Phase 4 and beyond.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on Disney+ on March 19, 2021.