CAPTAIN AMERICA: 10 Storylines Marvel Could Have Adapted If Chris Evans Hadn't Hung Up His Shield
Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson will become the new Captain America in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but had Chris Evans stuck around as Steve Rogers, these are the storylines we would have liked to see.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers decided to remain the past and get his happy ending with Peggy Carter. By the time he returned to the present day, he was an old man, and the former Captain America decided to pass his shied on to best friend, Sam Wilson.
His transformation into the new Cap is expected to be tackled in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, though John Walker (a.k.a. U.S. Agent) will be wielding the shield before Sam does.
However, had Chris Evans decided to stick around, what storylines could the next Captain America movie had adapted and, if possible could they be shifted around to make use of the new Cap? That's what we're exploring here as we delve into the hero's big (or small) screen future.
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10. Red Zone
As you’ll no doubt already know, the Red Skull has managed to claw his way back to life many times over the years. However, when he infiltrated the United States government as "Dell Rusk," the villain authorised a biological weapon to be released from the peaks of Mount Rushmore, and it was up the Avengers to contain it.
This isn't really grand enough for an Avengers movie, so could easily be turned into a solo adventure for Captain America given the Red Skull's role in proceedings.
Black Panther's role here was particularly memorable, as upon discovering that the purpose of the weapon is to wipe out all racial minorities, the King of Wakanda – an African nation – removes his gloves and proceeds to literally break off Red Skull's jaw! Seeing as the new Cap is a Black man, this might actually be better suited to a movie revolving around Sam Wilson.
9. Dimension Z
After years of stories which placed Captain America in espionage-like scenarios, writer Rick Remender decided to shake things up a little by putting Steve Rogers in unfamiliar surroundings.
Transported to the mysterious Dimension Z, Cap would find himself trapped in the villainous Arnim Zola’s artificially created world for TWELVE years. During that time, the Avenger raised the villain’s infant son as his own, creating a steadfast bond between the two in the process.
With no way of contacting home, Steve was forced to forge a new life in the harsh environment, facing off on a frequent basis against Zola’s mutate army and even being possessed by him at one point! He eventually found his way home, but not before facing some terrible tragedies and losses. Steve's history with Zola would have been fun to explore, but Sam could just as easily find himself targeted by that villain and forced to deal with the challenges of Dimension Z.
8. Operation: Rebirth
In the mid '90s, Captain America was not in a good state, but writer Mark Waid thankfully revitalised the franchise with this superb arc which saw the Red Skull of all people forced to ask for Cap’s help in stopping a resurrected Adolf Hitler. It may sound in bad taste, but it allowed Steve to achieve something he never got to do in World War II: stop one of the world’s most evil tyrants.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would perhaps be better for Hitler to be replaced by the Skull, especially as his return would be an even bigger deal for this shared world in many ways.
Unfortunately, when he does come looking for revenge on Captain America, he'll find a different man carrying the mantle, and it's a shame Marvel Studios failed to have these two cross paths again.
7. Captain America, No More
After refusing to become a government sponsored agent for a regime he didn’t believe in, Steve Rogers spoke out against them, and began to work outside the law, adopting a new identity as The Captain. Many heroes have abandoned their superhero personas over the years, but this arc was groundbreaking at the time for having the patriot stand up to preserve his own beliefs.
A similar story arc for Cap was explored in Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, but there are other elements in this tale that we would have loved to see brought to the big screen.
This story also featured The Serpent Society, Nomad, Diamondback, D-Man, and perhaps most interestingly, U.S. Agent. Seeing their opposing viewpoints come to the fore both in their arguments and physically could help make one of the most thought-provoking and interesting Marvel movies yet. However, that's likely to be touched on in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier!
6. The Secret Empire
That’s right, yet another Captain America story which sees Steve Rogers abandon the mantle! Upon discovering that the leader of a secret cabal out to undermine the American way of life was in fact a "high-ranking government official" who operated out of the Oval Office, the disillusioned hero would walk away from that role for a time.
The story was clearly designed to run echo the very real life scandal surrounding President Nixon, and a combination of this story arc and "Captain America: No More" would make a great movie.
Had this arc been faithfully adapted for screen (rather than bits and pieces being plucked out for a number of adventures), it would have been a great fourth film for Steve Rogers, and deepened his relationship with The Falcon who was framed for a murder he didn't commit at one point. Still, this arguably had potential even in a post-Endgame MCU.
5. Crossbones & Sin
While not a story as such, there’s no doubt that Sin and Crossbones could have (and still might) carry a movie by themselves as the lead villains for Captain America to face off against.
In the comics, Crossbones tracks down Sin – the biological daughter of the Red Skull – and the murderous duo then go on to a rampage which brings them to blows with Steve Rogers. They also make it their goal to do all they can to help Sin’s evil father achieve his goals, so these are undoubtedly two villains deserving of the big screen treatment, especially if the Skull returns.
The fact Crossbones is dead certainly complicates matters, but Sin alone would have made for a great opponent for Steve as he dealt with the Red Skull's twisted legacy. It would have been extra personal for him, and we're not sure you could say the same with Sam wielding the shield.
4. A Trip Through Time
If Chris Evans can be convinced to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then there's really no reason why this couldn't happen somewhere down the line while The Falcon continues serving as the new Captain America. After all, things can't have been easy for Cap as he put the Infinity Stones back to their rightful place in time, and this is definitely a story worth telling.
The Russo Brothers have expressed an interest in that, but seem keener to adapt Secret Wars.
You can't blame them for that, of course, but while we may be aware of Steve's happy ending, his trip through time is a mystery, and a story like this in Captain America 4 could even bring him face to face (skull?) with his old enemy from World War II who we've mentioned a fair few times here.
3. The Death of Captain America
Heading into both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, it's fair to say that the vast majority of fans expected Steve Rogers to be killed off by Marvel Studios. That obviously didn't happen, but had things ended differently for him last year, the hero could have met his maker in his next solo outing.
In the comics, he was indicted on criminal charges for opposing their version of the Sokovia Accords, and was shot outside a federal courthouse before being taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. It’s revealed that his murder was orchestrated by the Red Skull, with Crossbones shooting him with a sniper rifle before a brainwashed Sharon Carter moved in for the kill shot.
In the world of comic books, Cap’s death was as final as they come. His body reverted to its pre-super solider serum state, and he was laid to rest in the same icy depths that The Avengers discovered him in. However, someone would need to take over the mantle of Captain America...
2. Bucky/The Winter Soldier Becomes Captain America
Shortly after Steve Rogers’ death, Tony Stark receives a letter containing the request that Bucky become the next Captain America. As it happens, Tony – who had already tried to get Hawkeye to take over the mantle – is in The Winter’s Soldier’s sights as he blames Iron Man for his best friend’s death.
With Iron Man gone, we weren't going to see that here, but General "Thunderbolt" Ross might have made a solid substitute. Steve could have been killed - or left comatose - during the first act, with Bucky then forced to take his place to root out the people who tried to take his friend out.
Donning a new suit and armed with a gun and knife (bear in mind that Bucky has none of the enhanced strength or speed of his predecessor), he would go on to be extremely successful in the role, and this could have led to Steve transitioning into a new role in the MCU. It's definitely cool that Sam is getting this chance, of course, but Marvel Studios missed a trick overlooking Bucky.
1. Captain America: Reborn
As you can see, we're beginning to veer into Captain America 5 territory with a story arc like this, but had Steve actually died, this sure would have been a cool way to ultimately bring him back.
While the hero did technically die, it’s revealed in this story that the gun used by Sharon Carter actually caused Rogers to phase in and out of space and time, appearing at events in his lifetime and fighting battles. The Red Skull (who was without a body at the time) returns Rogers to the present, revealing his ultimate plan; to take control of Rogers’ mind and body.
However, the former Captain America eventually regains control, and with help from his allies, defeats the Skull for good. Bucky would continue to serve in the role for a time, but Steve eventually regained the mantle (perhaps this could have been when Sam took over?). If the prospect of the Red Skull taking over Steve's body doesn't sound cool we don't know what to say.