As much as we all love those first few MCU films, the franchise really didn’t get going until Captain America: The First Avenger. This is because the arrival of Steve Rogers, signaled that the Avengers were finally assembling and since his debut, Cap has become the glue holding the team together. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Steve Rogers is the heart and soul of the MCU. Unfortunately, we know there’s an end looming and we’re not quite ready for it -- Chris Evans has always been very clear that he wouldn’t wield the shield forever. For everyone still holding out hope, the actor posted a very bittersweet goodbye on Twitter after filming his last reshoots for Avengers 4.
Evans has been the perfect Cap on and off screen and we’ve been with him through the hero’s entire tragic journey. We even got to see how his loss affected those he left behind in Agent Carter and just when we think Steve is going to get a win, it turns out he must give up something else for the greater good. Knowing this, it’s only natural to assume he won’t get a happily ever after. Though our fingers are still crossed for him, as no one deserves it more. However, before we begin with the sadness of his exit, we must guess how it’s going to happen. With that in mind, here are 10 fan theories about Cap’s MCU future that might come true and 10 that probably won’t.
20 MIGHT COME TRUE: SACRIFICES HIMSELF TO SAVE THE UNIVERSE
If there's one theory that seems to be the uncontested top choice, it's that Steve will end up sacrificing himself to save the universe, and it wouldn't be his first time. We know that using the Soul Stone requires a soul, which means someone will have to make a hard decision and someone else has to undo the snap.
Most fans seem to think this situation will involve Steve once again putting everyone else ahead of himself, so that Tony can use the Gauntlet. If this happens, the outcome will have a lasting impact on the entire MCU. The other heroes will strive to make themselves worthy of Cap's sacrifice.
19 PROBABLY WON’T: IS SECRETLY A SKRULL
The Skrulls are such a consistent Marvel villain that nearly every hero has been a Skrull at some point. It's become a joke among fans that whenever a character goes off the rails, they're obviously a Skrull. With rumors circulating that Phase Four will center around Secret Invasion, everyone is wondering who will turn out to be a Skrull?
While this seems like a logical plot point, we can't see a world where this Cap is the bad guy. He has been put onto such a pedestal, turning him now would break fans’ hearts. Though Chris Evans’ performance would be masterful.
18 MIGHT COME TRUE: FORCED TO SACRIFICE ONE OF HIS FRIENDS
We can all agree that something huge will have to happen to undo the tragic ending of Infinity War. It's clearly no coincidence that the original Avengers all survived Thanos’ snap and the prevailing opinion is that one or more will have to sacrifice themselves to restore the universe.
Though he may not want the responsibility, Steve may have no choice in the matter. If he is indeed forced to choose who must go, this could be enough to break him, leading to his retirement. The one thing that gives us pause is that there is no way Cap would let anyone else make this sacrifice in his place.
17 PROBABLY WON’T: CHANGES THE TIMELINE, THEN MUST FIX IT
Yes, we know messing with timelines is a DC thing, but perhaps Marvel will steal it just this once. If time travel plays the huge role in Avengers 4 everyone expects, we may see the usual mistakes made.
In trying to change the universe's grim fate, Steve might change the wrong thing. Perhaps he thinks if he saves Bucky that will improve his friend's life? However, it could lead to an even worse future that he is then forced to fix by letting Bucky fall from the train again. As devastating as this would be for Steve, we think the time travelers may have bigger concerns.
16 MIGHT COME TRUE: FIGHTS ALONGSIDE CAPTAIN MARVEL
If we are truly getting the last stand of Steve Rogers, then he will need to pass the torch to a new leader. Most fans expect that person to be Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. This turn of events could lead to a scene everyone is waiting for: Captain America fighting alongside Captain Marvel.
Seeing as how their lives have taken similar trajectories, it makes sense that they would become good friends and allies. Based on what we've seen in the trailer, Carol is set to be an amazing hero. Cap will want someone who has heart and isn't afraid to do the right thing, even when everyone else thinks you're wrong -- that pretty much describes Carol perfectly.
15 PROBABLY WON’T: PERISHED DURING HIS FIGHT WITH THANOS
We all know not to take anything on Reddit seriously. However, one user did come up with a rather curious theory that's been hiding in plain sight. The idea has Cap going down for the count when Thanos punches him in the head and then he is then brought back to life when the Mad Titan reverses time.
While the theory could have happened, as not many would survive a hard punch to the head from Thanos, we don't know what the story would be that comes from this plot. Steve has already come back from a plane crash and a coma, so what’s one punch to the head.
14 MIGHT COME TRUE: SAM WILSON BECOMES CAPTAIN AMERICA
Though Steve Rogers is who everyone thinks of when you say Captain America, he’s not the only hero to hold the mantle. His good friend Sam Wilson notably took over and was a great Captain America.
If we are really going to see the last of Steve in the MCU, it makes sense that the man who has been by his side for a good chunk of his new life would honor him by wielding the shield. We understand that many want to see Bucky become the new Captain, but the movie version may need more time to deal with his guilt before taking on such a huge responsibility. Plus, we would love to see a Falcon/Captain America hybrid suit.
13 PROBABLY WON’T: AFTER SO MUCH LOSS, STEVE RETIRES
No one has suffered more loss than Steve Rogers. Imagine saying your final goodbyes to your true love, nobly sacrificing yourself to save the world, then waking up 70 years later to discover everything and everyone you knew is gone. That alone would make anyone angry and bitter, but not Steve.
Fast forward to his new life and not only does he find out HYDRA thrived in his absence, but they've been using his best friend as an assassin. Finally he loses the fight for the universe and watches his two best friends crumble into dust. That would make anyone hang up their shield, but Cap isn't built that way, so we know he'll keep fighting no matter what.
12 MIGHT COME TRUE: STEVE AND TONY MAKE UP
Comic book fans don't agree on much, but most of us think Tony and Steve will have some sort of reunion in Avengers 4. The way Tony looked at that secret phone in Infinity War told us everything about how much Cap still means to him.
This was one of those fights where they both made mistakes, failing to listen to the other's side. If they just sit down and talk, things can be resolved. By sending that phone, Steve made it clear that he would always come when needed, and that's exactly what he did. Though they are currently on separate planets, we have no doubt that before everything is settled these two will find a way to repair their friendship.
11 PROBABLY WON’T: WARNS HIS FUTURE SELF ABOUT THANOS
Though we all know less than nothing about what will happen in Avengers 4, there’s a consensus that time travel will somehow be involved. Leaked photos seem to indicate that the Avengers will come into contact in some way with their past selves. If true, this could lead to a mind bending conversation of past and present Caps.
If Steve gets a chance to interact with himself, why wouldn’t he take the opportunity to warn him about Thanos’ plan. Well, any sci-fi fan can tell you that time is a delicate thing and is very easy to mess with and we have to assume that in addition to fracturing the timeline, the Russo Brothers wouldn’t make the solution this simple.
10 MIGHT COME TRUE: BUCKY SACRIFICES HIMSELF
From the time he enlisted, life hasn’t been easy for Bucky Barnes. First he was captured and tortured by HYDRA, then he joined the Howling Commandos and fell from a speeding train during a mission. While everyone, including Steve, thought he had perished, he was once again captured by HYDRA.
As the brainwashed assassin the Winter Soldier, Bucky destroyed many lives, and seemingly lost himself forever. Though he’s been cured and is once again one of the good guys, he still carries guilt for his past actions. If it came down to the Soul Stone needing a sacrifice so that Steve could use the Gauntlet, we believe Bucky wouldn’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to save the universe.
9 PROBABLY WON’T: INTERACTS WITH ALTERNATE UNIVERSES
Multiverses are a big part of comic book lore. They introduce fans to new heroes and allow existing ones to display a new personality. As the movies wrap up one major storyline and look to launch the next one, why wouldn’t they make the multiverse a part of MCU canon?
It’s possible the Reality Stone, when used with the others, could open a gateway to other universes. In theory, we could see Steve meet his counterparts from these universes. As intriguing as the idea of multiple Chris Evans’ is, we don’t see the movies getting quite this crazy just yet. Also, parallel Earths are a huge part of DC’s current TV shows and we know how the big two like to avoid overlapping plots.
8 MIGHT COME TRUE: FAKES HIS DEMISE FOR THE GREATER GOOD
The impending departure of Chris Evans has led to a lot of speculation on Steve’s sad exit. However, that doesn’t mean his exit will be permanent. Whatever happens with Thanos, we can all agree that there will likely be a huge final battle.
We can imagine a scenario where Cap is thought to be fatally wounded during said battle, but with the help of Wakandan technology survives. Once the dust settles, Steve may decide to stay presumed dead so that the team and the world can truly heal and recover. This precipitates Evans’ absence, while leaving the door open for future appearances if he’s needed.
7 PROBABLY WON’T: FIGHTS THANOS IN SPACE
After what he did to not just the universe, but all of Steve’s friends, you know he’s itching to punch Thanos in the face. While we doubt the fate of the universe will come down to a fist fight, the Mad Titan does have a big ego and likes simplicity.
Since they’ve already battled on Earth, the next logical step would be to fight in space. Yes, we know it’s a longshot, but if this is our last adventure with Cap, then we want to see him do all the things we’ve been waiting to see since Captain America: The First Avenger.
6 MIGHT COME TRUE: BUCKY IS THE NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA
Within the MCU, it’s hard to imagine anyone else donning the costume and using the shield as Captain America. If we can’t have Steve Rogers, the only other hero fans seem to want is Bucky Barnes. When he took up the mantle following Steve’s presumed death in the comics, Bucky made the role his own and became quite popular.
Considering how great Sebastian Stan’s portrayal of Bucky has been, it’s no surprise that audiences are clamoring to see him become the next Captain America. It’s one of the few theories that a majority of fans agree on. Not to mention, we met him the same time we met Steve, so we’ve been just as invested in his journey.
5 PROBABLY WON’T: SURVIVES AND KEEPS LEADING THE TEAM
Look, just because Chris Evans says he’s leaving and it’s widely thought that his contract is up, that doesn’t mean he’s done playing Captain America. What if he and Marvel have just been throwing us off all this time and everything is fine? Imagine how shocked we will all be if he makes it to the end of the movie, looks at the team and says “Avengers assemble!”
It’s the one twist that no one is really expecting -- Thanos is defeated, the universe is saved and Cap survives. We know it’s just a pipe dream, but Infinity War put us through such an emotional wringer, we really need a win.
4 MIGHT COME TRUE: USES THE INFINITY GAUNTLET
In Guardians of the Galaxy, The Collector filled us in on the origin of the Infinity Stones, while the other films displayed the basic powers they hold. That being said, we don’t really know what the Stones are truly capable of. One thing we’re certain of is that it takes a powerful individual to use the Infinity Gauntlet.
That person must be powerful physically and mentally, as the Gauntlet can overtake one's mind and corrupt them. If the Avengers need someone they trust to use the Gauntlet to reverse Thanos’ destruction, there’s no better choice than Steve. Remember Dr, Erskine chooses him to be a super soldier because he thinks Steve has a pure enough heart to handle the power.
3 PROBABLY WON’T: PEGGY BECOMES THE NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA
Peggy Carter is one of the best heroes in the MCU, but unfortunately we haven’t gotten to spend enough time with her. Agent Carter only lasted two brief seasons, so we never got to see her go from super spy to founder of S.H.I.E.L.D. Since she’s from the '40s we understand that limits her interactions in the modern day stories. However, if Avengers 4 is going to be full of crazy trips through time and possibly alternate universes, there’s one we definitely need to visit.
Seeing the Peggy that becomes Captain America on the big screen would be amazing. Of course, in a movie already jam packed with characters, this one isn’t likely to make it off the page.
2 MIGHT COME TRUE: STAYS IN THE PAST WITH PEGGY
Here's the thing, just because Steve may be leaving, doesn't mean he has to have a sad exit. There's a very thorough theory that features each of the original Avengers taking an Infinity Stone to protect, with Steve using the time stone to travel back to his past and live his life with Peggy.
Fans are really invested in the relationship between Steve and Peggy, wanting them to get the happy ending they deserve. We can't have Chris Evans leave without seeing him and Hayley Atwell on screen together again. It would be a nice full circle way to give both characters closure for them to finally get that dance.
1 PROBABLY WON’T: THE REALITY STONE CREATES A NEW VERSION
As news broke that the contracts of the actors playing the original Avengers were coming to an end, fans began speculating about how Marvel Studios would keep the characters present in the franchise.
One of the crazier ideas was that using the Reality Stone would lead to the roles being recast. Considering how much money this franchise has made for Disney and Marvel, we find it hard to believe that the studio would take such a chance with its most profitable characters. Having Steve take off his mask to reveal Channing Tatum or John Krasinski would be way too jarring for moviegoers.