A couple of years ago, it was widely reported that Chris Evans had signed some sort of deal with Marvel Studios to reprise the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America in the MCU.
Phase 4 just ended and there was no sign of his Star Spangled Avenger, even in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. As we head deeper into the Multiverse Saga, however, there's a very real chance Evans could reprise the role, particularly in movies like Captain America: New World Order and Avengers: Secret Wars.
With that in mind, we've given some thought to how it could happen and the ways the MCU's original Cap could factor into all manner of upcoming stories. From the real deal to Variants, we think you'll find more than a few compelling possibilities here.
To check them out, all you guys need to do is click on the "Next" button below!
7. Sam Wilson's Mentor
We still don't know for sure whether Steve is alive or dead after Avengers: Endgame, but there's really no reason to assume he can't stick around the MCU as an old man. How interested Evans would be in taking on a role like that is another matter, but we've seen in the comics that it's a concept which can actually work.
As a mentor to Sam Wilson, Steve could be a sounding board for the new Captain America who helps point him in the right direction as he wields the shield and tries to live up to his friend's legacy.
It's not just the former Falcon this older Steve could help out either; with Bucky gearing up to lead the Thunderbolts, it could be that he also seeks out Cap's help with taking charge of his own team.
6. Director Of S.W.O.R.D.
While he may be unable to get physical, there's still a lot of good an older Steve can do in the MCU.
When the Super Soldier Serum was removed from his body in the comics, he was aged up, but took charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's entirely possible he'll want to enjoy his retirement, of course, but if he's now widowed, perhaps the former Captain America would be open to leading S.W.O.R.D.?
It makes us sad to think about Cap just hanging up his shield and retiring, but after travelling to the past, it's possible he even set S.W.O.R.D. up with Peggy to make sure there was a S.H.I.E.L.D. replacement waiting in the wings to protect the world.
5. Captain America Reborn
We can't wait to see more of Sam Wilson as Captain America, but it's still hard not to hope Steve Rogers one day returns to wield the shield. The hero somehow being de-aged after Sam is put on the sidelines would be an epic moment, especially if the threat to the MCU is big enough (Kang the Conqueror and his many Variants, for example).
We'll get to what that might be a little later, but it might be the most fan-pleasing way of bringing the hero back.
In the comic books, both Bucky and The Falcon have taken over as Captain America from Steve, but the shield always ends up coming back to him. After Sam gets a decent run, that could happen in the MCU as well.
4. Weapon X
Wolverine and the X-Men are on their way to the MCU, and while we still don't know exactly how that's going to work, exploring Logan's history could lead to Evans suiting up once again.
In the comic books, the Super Soldier Serum and Weapon X programme are closely linked, and Steve actually fought alongside James Howlett during World War II. A flashback showing the two heroes crossing paths would give Wolverine an established history in the MCU, and is another chance to see what it was like for Cap to fight for his country during the war.
Hugh Jackman recently hinted that he'll play more than one Wolverine in Deadpool 3, so a little bit of Multiversal madness in that threequel could make this fantasy meeting a reality.
3. Trip Through Time
When we caught up with the Russo Brothers a couple of years ago, we asked if Captain America's trip back through time - which saw him return each of the Infinity Stones to their rightful place - would be a story they wanted to tell. "It would be a great story to tell, no question," Joe told us.
"I don't know whether it needs to be told, but it would be a great story to tell, and we'd love to tell it, but I think there are other stories to move on to now," the filmmaker concluded. So, it's a "maybe," but regardless of whether the filmmakers return to the MCU to explore this period, it has all the makings of a great Disney+ series.
We certainly hope this becomes a reality, especially as everything from Cap crossing paths with the Red Skull to what happened next after he reunited with Peggy feel like stories worth telling.
2. Secret Empire
One of Marvel's most controversial storylines saw us learn that Captain America was secretly loyal to HYDRA. As the months passed, his villainous status was cemented through a series of violent and shocking actions which saw Steve Rogers do whatever it takes to get the world to "Hail HYDRA!"
Secret Empire would reveal that the Cosmic Cube had created this second, villainous Cap, and the real deal later returned to take down his evil doppelgänger. Some changes would definitely need to be made to the storyline, but it undeniably has some big screen potential if handled the correct way.
For example, it could appear to Earth's Mightiest Heroes that Cap has returned, only for us to learn this evil version is an imposter. Marvel Studios could even head down the Variant route with this concept.
1. Secret War
If Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is going to be about exploring what happens when Kang's many Variants go to war, then Secret Wars has to be where we see the creation of a new world.
Right now, the movie being based on Jonathan Hickman's hit series seems a more likely direction for Marvel Studios, even if the possibility of pitting all these characters against each other would be a blast to see. It's in this world that Cap could return from the dead, albeit not necessarily in the way many of us might expect.
It all depends on how grand in scale this Avengers movie is, but even Steve being the U.S. President would be a fascinating development, particularly if he is actually aligned with HYDRA. Another possibility is that surviving heroes from across the Multiverse assemble to stop The Beyonder, with a Cap Variant among them!