Chris Evans might not play Captain America after Avengers 4

If you look at the origin story of Captain America, almost anyone could be injected with an experimental serum and become a patriotic superhero. But it's hard to imagine anyone other than Chris Evans as the iconic Avengers leader.

It's been a well-known fact that Evans' Marvel contract will be fulfilled after the two-part Avengers: Infinity War. But during a recent interview with Esquire, he hinted that he might hang up his shield. Although he doesn't outright say it, the story describes it like this:

"Settling in on the couch, he groans. Evans explains that he's hurting all over because he just started his workout routine the day before to get in shape for the next two Captain America films. The movies will be shot back to back beginning in April. After that, no more red- white-and-blue costume for the 35-year-old. He will have fulfilled his contract."

When Evans first signed on to play the hero in Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel wanted him to commit to nine films. However, Evans negotiated down to six. Although the second installment of Infinity War would technically make seven Marvel movies for Evans, it's not clear if the two movies count as one.

Marvel could try to renegotiate and bring Evans back for more, but the Esquire piece definitely indicates that he's ready to move on. He said the time it takes to make a Marvel movie (five months in production, a month of promotion, and eventual reshoots) keeps him from branching out into other opportunities like directing and starring in different types of films.

So what would Marvel do if Evans doesn't return? In the comics, the mantle of Captain America has shifted to different characters over the years, so Infinity War could set the stage for a transition. The leading contenders at this point are probably Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) or Falcon (Anthony Mackie). But there's also a chance that the devastating events of Infinity War could lead to a soft reboot of the entire MCU.

We'll keep you posted as more details emerge. Meanwhile, we've got a few theories about what could be next for the Marvel cinematic universe after Infinity War.