In a shocking bit of news, it looks like Marvel Studios is trying to talk Chris Evans into coming back as Steve Rogers once again. It was reported that the rumored return wouldn't be for a mere cameo or a starring role in another movie, but something more akin to “what Robert Downey Jr. did after Iron Man 3.” which saw Iron Man appear in supporting roles for movies like Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The report also stipulated that Marvel Studios wants Evans' Cap to return “in at least one Marvel property with the door open for a second film,” which leaves the door open for just about anything. With that being said, let's get to theorizing.
The most blatantly obvious choice would be Evans returning as Steve Rogers as he was last seen at the end of Avengers: Endgame, after spending a lifetime with Peggy Carter in another timeline. Old, but still sharp, Rogers could help guide the next generation of heroes, including the very man he passed the star-spangled shield to, Sam Wilson. Making Steve Rogers old was actually something that originated from the comics when Rogers' super-soldier serum was stripped from his body, leading his age to quickly catch up to him.
During this time in the comics, Rogers actually became the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., as he was still a master strategist and leader. Rogers also appeared in various other comics alongside other heroes, such as She-Hulk, who helped Rogers in a civil suit for wrongful death filed against him. After all, in that same comic, Matthew Murdock was the prosecutor in that case, who could also appear in She-Hulk.
However, it is incredibly unlikely that Chris Evans will make an appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as that series finished filming way back in October, and especially improbable with it launching in March shortly after WandaVision wraps up its weekly run. Regardless, Chris Evans returning to the MCU as Old Man Steve as a mentor figure could be cool to see.
PREQUELS AND FLASHBACKS
One negative reaction to this news is the prospect of Rogers' character arc at the end of Avengers: Endgame being ruined by making him younger and a hero again, which some believe this news means. Fans should be assured that Marvel Studios won't go back on this as they're definitely setting up Sam Wilson to become the next Captain America.
Regardless, fans were still heartbroken over losing the possibility of Steve Rogers and Wolverine interacting after Chris Evans supposedly left the role for good after Avengers: Endgame. This recent news of Evans being in talks to return has sparked renewed interest in these heroes fighting alongside one another with fans most frequently imagining them having met and fought together during World War II.
Chris Evans returning for various flashback sequences would be welcomed by fans, as they could see him interact with other heroes in his prime while still maintaining his conclusion as Captain America in Endgame.
Prequels are another possibility, as there was a recent rumor of a Nomad project in development at Marvel Studios, which could explore Steve's time on the run from the government while working with Natasha and Sam as the Secret Avengers. Something some fans saw as a missed opportunity in the MCU that could be explored now, while even strengthening his complex character arc with audiences seeing him at his lowest, and also still having the opportunity to return as Old Man Steve for other projects.
No, fans probably aren't going to see Evans playing Johnny Storm, as the initial report was pretty adamant about Evans returning as Steve Rogers, but that doesn't exactly mean it has to be the same Steve Rogers fans have been following since 2011. After all, audiences are about to be plunged headfirst into alternate realities with WandaVision and the multiverse in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel.
It could be entirely possible that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could introduce another version of Captain America from another universe, maybe one where Rogers never went into the ice and helped form The Invaders, a team of heroes comprised of Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the Jim Hammond version of the Human Torch with his sidekick Toro. It would be cool to see them set up in that film and return later for a potential adaptation of Secret Wars, which further involves the multiverse.
Another multiversal possibility, albeit far less likely, would be an evil version of Captain America made popular in the comics during the comic event Secret Empire, which revolved around an alternate version of Rogers who was indoctrinated into HYDRA at an early age. What makes this so unlikely is that Marvel Studios already poked fun at this in Avengers: Endgame and that it's unlikely audiences will be huge fans of watching an evil Captain America.
By far the least likely, but still a possibility, is a Skrull unknowingly disguising themselves as a much younger Steve Rogers based on outdated information. Something which actually happened in the comics during the Secret Invasion event when the heroes stumbled across a sector of Skrulls all disguised as older iterations of themselves with some Skrulls even taking the appearance of dead heroes.
Audiences could see this Skrull infiltrator introduced in the Disney+ adaptation of Secret Invasion and later appear in Captain Marvel 2, potentially alongside other Skrulls disguised as other heroes and politicians. Although, again, this could possibly cheapen Evans' exit as the character by having him simply playing an imposter that wouldn't really contribute anything meaningful for the character except maybe Skrull Cap's interaction with other heroes like Sam and Bucky.
Fans can debate all day when, where, and how Chris Evans might return as Steve Rogers next in the MCU, but you can bet on Marvel Studios maximizing a potential Cap comeback.