Chris Evans as Captain America
Courtesy: Marvel Studios

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Why It Hurts to Say Goodbye to Chris Evans' Captain America

It’s quite difficult for me to stop seeing certain actors as the superhero roles they once played. I can’t look at Christian Bale the same again. Don’t even get me started on Hugh Jackman. Now, with Chris Evans himself appearing to have wrapped up his work as the iconic Captain America, this is a theme that will go on for a long, long time. But this one was different for me. Hearing that Evans is (probably) no longer going to be Cap felt way, way worse, in terms of, for lack of a better word: heartache.

I found myself puzzled with … myself. Why am I feeling this bad? Why do I feel like I just got a text from a dear friend, telling me that they’re moving somewhere, and I might not get to see them again? Sure, we’d FaceTime, but it’s just not the same as—you get what I mean. This one felt personal. It was more than just an actor bowing after a great performance. It took me a while, but I figured out exactly what it was: The cinematic universe is still going to exist without him.
Earlier, I mentioned two very specific actors—Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman—and that wasn’t random. Bale was only Batman in three films—that’s nuts, right? He was “only” in a trilogy, but the impact is still felt today. Jackman, on the other hand, was Wolverine in eight films, spanning 17 years. There’s a reason I can’t look at him without thinking of the beautiful/tormented man he played for so long. Both of these roles have left their mark. But the difference with their cases is that the worlds they lived in don’t exist past their last films.

We didn’t see Nolan’s Gotham again after his Batman movies. We didn’t see Logan director James Mangold’s "future X-Men" timeline post-Wolverine. But we will see the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Captain America leaves it. Now, I don’t know the fate of the character. Whether he dies or not is up in the air. Whether it’s a proper sendoff with Steve Rogers having a bittersweet goodbye, or a meaningful death that’ll absolutely wreck us, is still unknown. But folks who had talked to and built relationships with Steve will still be around. Tom Holland as Peter Parker? Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther? Yup. They’re not going anywhere (despite what the latest installment may have you think).
We still have plenty of other characters to consider, of course. It’s not like the world they set up is going to feel vacant without the presence of one person. It will still function perfectly fine … and I think that’s what kills me. We will get reminded over and over that he’s not around. You’ll think of what Cap would say during an argument, and whose side he’d be on. There’s not a character in this franchise whose moral compass is as dead-on as Steve’s. You’re able to guess exactly what he would do in a situation—in the best way.

With a character as pivotal as Cap, you’re going to continually face the question of where he is (that is, if he survives the next film). Whenever a new solo Marvel movie comes out, we usually get the “Well, where were the other Avengers to help out?” question. We always wonder about what the other heroes are doing. So, how exactly does this work, with a character who has been with us since the beginning? We’ll find out soon, not only with Evans, but with the other main-tier characters as well.
There’s not a character in this franchise whose moral compass is as dead-on as Steve’s.
I currently can’t recall, aside from Star Wars, a major character's “exit” from a film series that continues to be incredibly successful without their presence. I’m slightly nervous for the future of these films. Not because the talents behind the “newer” characters are lacking (I don’t think that at all), but because these are such large voids to fill, previously filled by roles who were responsible for putting this franchise on the map. What would it look like without them? Is there going to be a different approach? Do we just never talk about them?

It really sucks that it took this recent update on Evans wrapping to make me realize that Captain America is my favorite Avenger. He always knew what was right from wrong, from the very beginning. Nothing that had been said to him, or even done to him, over the span of these films had made him change his ideals. His character doesn’t have an arc whatsoever. Usually, this would be a criticism, but not here, as the film series still manages to give him layers. I say this because folks describe certain characters as “boring” when their moral compass can’t be changed. When they have an affinity for truth and justice. This is not one of those cases. This is the example of a Boy Scout role done right—particularly at a moment in time when we've needed a character like this to look up to.

When this is all said and done, I can’t wait to see what Evans is going to work on next. He’s a talented guy, and he’s going to have zero problem landing in projects as high-profile as this series. I’ll just … you know. Miss him, is all. Don’t tell him that, please. Don’t tell @ChrisEvans I said all of these incredibly positive things. Unrelated, but the guy looks really good with a beard. Oh, and a mustache. You guys see him with a mustache? My girlfriend broke up with me shortly after pictures of him having one came out. I don’t think that was a coincidence. Thanks a lot, Chris.

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