Chris Evans Reveals the Bittersweet Side of Leaving Captain America Behind

For nearly a decade, Chris Evans was synonymous with Captain America. Along with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Evans’ Cap carried the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as one of its signature heroes and co-lead of the Avengers. So MCU fans were reeling when both actors left the franchise in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Now Evans opens up about life without Captain America.

Captain America actor Chris Evans wearing a suit and posing at a film premiere.
Chris Evans (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Chris Evans played Captain America from 2011 to 2019

Evans made his debut as “the star-spangled man” in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. The final solo film leading up to The Avengers, the movie presented the final new addition to the team. And it also showed a very different side of Evans, who Marvel fans knew best as the cocky Johnny Storm, aka Human Torch, from the 2000s Fantastic Four movies.

Before he played Captain America, Evans starred in movies such as Not Another Teen Movie, Cellular, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. And even during his MCU run, the actor snuck in standout performances in The Iceman, Snowpiercer, and Gifted. But without a doubt, his 10 appearances – including cameos – in the MCU made him a household name. 

RELATED: Chris Evans Explains Why He Turned to Television After ‘Avengers: Endgame’

The ‘Lightyear’ star opened up about how his life has changed

Since hanging up the shield, Evans’ biggest movie was 2019’s Knives Out. But 2022’s Lightyear puts him front and center again, as he takes on the role of Toy Story spaceman Buzz Lightyear. In an interview with Kevin Polowy of Yahoo! Entertainment, Evans reflects on how his life has changed without the MCU.

“[It’s been] a literal weight off. I’ve shed like 15 pounds. Every time people see me, they’re like ‘You OK? You’ve lost a little bit of weight.’ I haven’t had to hit the gym as hard. It’s different. For 10 years, you always have a movie around the corner. For 10 years, you finish one, and your life is scheduled by ‘OK, in six months, we have press. In six more months, we start the next movie.’ To kind of have open waters, there’s parts of it that are nice and parts of it that I really, really miss. Because it was a role that meant a lot to me, and I love those people. And it’ll be the best 10 years of my professional life without any question forever.” 

Indeed, from 2011 to 2019, Evans’ career was wildly dominated by his MCU commitments. So it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of projects he takes on next. Next, he reunites with Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo as the villain in 2022’s The Gray Man.

Chris Evans weighs in on Anthony Mackie as Captain America

Meanwhile, the MCU is moving forward with a new generation of heroes. Some are brand-new heroes, such as Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), and Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani). Others see characters rising up to take the mantle of previous heroes, such as Sam Wilson’s (Anthony Mackie) adoption of the Captain America moniker. Chris Evans certainly approves.

“No one better to do it,” the actor told Yahoo!. “Honestly, he does it justice. I’m so proud of him, and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future with it.” According to reports, Mackie is signed on to star in a Captain America movie of his own. So it seems like fans will know sooner rather than later what the future has in store for the brand-new Captain America.

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