Steve Rogers (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

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Steve Rogers
Marvel Cinematic Universe character
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers Captain America.jpg
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
First appearanceCaptain America:
The First Avenger
(2011)
Based on
Adapted byChristopher Markus
Stephen McFeely
Portrayed byChris Evans
In-universe information
Full nameSteven G. Rogers[1]
AliasCaptain America
TitleCaptain (U.S. Army) (later honorary)
Occupation
Affiliation
Weapon
FamilySarah Rogers (mother)
SpousePeggy Carter[a]
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
NationalityAmerican

Steven G. Rogers is a fictional character portrayed by Chris Evans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise—based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name—commonly known by his alter ego, Captain America. In the franchise, Rogers is a World War II-era supersoldier who was given a serum that provided him with superhuman abilities including enhanced durability, strength, and athleticism.[9][10] During his fight against Hydra, he became frozen in the Arctic for nearly seventy years until being revived in the 21st century. Rogers becomes a key member and leader of the Avengers. Upon his eventual retirement, Rogers chooses Sam Wilson to be his successor and passes his shield and the title of Captain America onto him.[11]

Rogers is a central figure in the MCU, appearing in seven films and having a brief cameo in four. When first introduced the character was received to mixed reception,[12][13] but gradually became a fan favorite.[14][15] The character of Steve Rogers is often cited, along with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, as cementing the success of the MCU.[16] His story arc is considered to be one of the best in the MCU,[17][18] and the Captain America films within the "Infinity Saga" are commonly referred to as the franchise's best trilogy.[19][20][21]

Concept and creation[edit]

Captain America was first conceived as a comic book character in 1940,[22] as a direct response to the military actions of Nazi Germany, prior to the United States entering World War II.[23] The initial introduction of the character included the concepts of a soldier named Steve Rogers being given a serum bestowing enhanced strength and agility, wearing a patriotic red, white and blue uniform, carrying a shield, and having as a sidekick a teenaged Bucky Barnes. In the 1960s, Marvel decided to test bringing the character back as part of the Avengers, with the premise that the character had been frozen for the two decades since the war, and was "haunted by past memories, and trying to adapt to 1960s society".[23] Live-action performances of the character in television and film serials began within a few years after its creation, with a 1990 feature film resulting in critical and financial failure.[24]

In the mid-2000s, Kevin Feige realized that Marvel still owned the rights to the core members of the Avengers, which included Captain America. Feige, a self-professed "fanboy", envisioned creating a shared universe just as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had done with their comic books in the early 1960s.[25] In 2005, Marvel received a $525 million investment from Merrill Lynch, allowing them to independently produce ten films, including Captain America. Paramount Pictures agreed to distribute the film.[26][27][28]

"Casting Captain America was super hard. I started to think, 'Are we not going to be able to find Captain America, and if we can't, what are we going to do with Avengers? Is the whole thing going to fall apart?' And, then, finally opening ourselves up to Chris Evans, who we had initially sort of just looked past because he was Johnny Storm in a Fantastic Four franchise. Then, bringing him in and showing him the artwork, showing him what was happening in this movie, and he took a weekend to decide."

Kevin Feige, President of Production for Marvel Studios, on casting Chris Evans as Captain America.[29]

Originally, the film would stand alone; Feige said "about half" the movie would be set during World War II before moving into the modern day.[30] Producer Avi Arad said, "The biggest opportunity with Captain America is as a man 'out of time', coming back today, looking at our world through the eyes of someone who thought the perfect world was small-town United States. Sixty years go by, and who are we today? Are we better?" He cited the Back to the Future trilogy as an influence, and claimed he had "someone in mind to be the star, and definitely someone in mind to be the director".[31] In February 2006, Arad hoped to have a summer 2008 theatrical release date.[32] In April 2006, David Self was hired to write the script.[33] Joe Johnston met with Marvel to discuss directing the film and signed on in November 2008,[34] hiring Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely to rewrite.[35]

Variety reported in March 2010 that Chris Evans was cast as Captain America;[36] Ryan Phillippe and John Krasinski were also considered for the role.[37] Evans, who previously worked with Marvel as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four film series, initially declined the part three times before signing a six-picture deal with Marvel,[38] saying, "I think Marvel is doing a lot of good things right now, and it's a fun character. ... I think the story of Steve Rogers is great. He's a great guy. Even if it [were] just a script about anybody, I would probably want to do it. So it wasn't necessarily about the comic itself."[39] In April, it was reported that Joss Whedon would rewrite the script as part of his negotiation to write and direct The Avengers. Whedon said in August, "I just got to make some character connections. The structure of the thing was really tight and I loved it, but there were a couple of opportunities to find his voice a little bit —and some of the other characters'— and make the connections so that you understood exactly why he wanted to be who he wanted to be. And progressing through the script to flesh it out a little bit".[40]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Origin[edit]

Steve Rogers was born on July 4, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York, to Sarah Rogers. His father, a member of the 107th Infantry Regiment, was killed by mustard gas during the First World War. He was raised by his mother, a nurse, who died of tuberculosis, leaving Rogers alone at the age of eighteen.[b] At just 5-foot-4-inch (1.63 m) tall and weighing only 90 pounds (41 kg), Rogers was also afflicted with a number of medical issues including asthma, scoliosis, heart arrhythmia, partial deafness, stomach ulcers, and pernicious anemia.[c]

Becoming Captain America[edit]

At the outset of World War II, Rogers attempts to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces but is repeatedly rejected due to his numerous health problems. In 1943, while attending an exhibition with his best friend, Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, Rogers again attempts to enlist. Dr. Abraham Erskine overhears Rogers speaking with Barnes, and approves his enlistment due to his continued efforts to serve his country despite his physical handicaps. He is recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) as part of a "super-soldier" experiment under Erskine, U.S. Army Colonel Chester Phillips, and British MI6 agent Peggy Carter. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Nazi officer Johann Schmidt, head of the science division called Hydra, underwent an imperfect version of the procedure and suffered permanent side-effects. Rogers agrees to the treatment nonetheless and is injected with Erskine's serum and doused with "vita-rays". After Rogers emerges significantly taller and more muscular, an undercover assassin kills Erskine and flees. Rogers, using his remarkable speed and strength increase, pursues and captures the assassin, who reveals he is a Hydra agent and commits suicide with a cyanide capsule. With Erskine dead and the formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt takes advantage of the media hype around Rogers' actions, and has him tour the nation in a colorful costume with the title of Captain America to promote the sale of war bonds.

Battling Hydra[edit]

In 1943, while on tour in Italy, Rogers learns that the 107th unit – Barnes' unit – was MIA in a battle against Schmidt's forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the Hydra facility, freeing Barnes and 400 other prisoners. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who reveals himself to be the "Red Skull" and escapes. Following this, Rogers is formally promoted to the rank of Captain. He recruits Barnes and several other elite soldiers to form a team called the Howling Commandos to attack other Hydra bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, most notably a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nearly indestructible metal. The team later captures Hydra scientist Dr. Arnim Zola on a train, but Barnes falls to his presumed death during the battle. Using information extracted from Zola, Rogers leads an attack on the final Hydra stronghold to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on the world's major cities. Rogers infiltrates the final Hydra base with the help of the SSR, including Carter who reveals her mutual romantic feelings toward Rogers and the two share a kiss before Schmidt escapes in an aircraft carrying the weapons and is pursued by Rogers. During the confrontation, the source of Hydra's advanced weapons, the Tesseract, is physically handled by Schmidt causing him to vanish within a bright light. The Tesseract is lost in the ocean and with no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating the bombs, Rogers reluctantly bids farewell to Carter via the plane's communications system and crashes it and himself in the Arctic.

Adjusting to the modern era and the Battle of New York[edit]

In 2011, Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic baseball radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside and finds himself in present-day Times Square, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury informs him that he has been frozen in suspended animation for nearly 70 years.

In 2012, Rogers learns that most of his World War II-era comrades are deceased and he struggles to adjust to the modern world. He is approached by Fury who activated the "Avengers Initiative" with an assignment to retrieve the stolen Tesseract from Loki. Rogers agrees and is introduced to Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner by Agent Phil Coulson. In Stuttgart, Rogers and Loki have a brief confrontation until Tony Stark appears in his Iron Man armor, resulting in Loki's surrender. While Loki is being escorted to S.H.I.E.L.D. on the Quinjet, his brother Thor arrives and frees him, hoping to convince him to abandon his plan. After a confrontation between Thor, Stark, and Rogers, Thor agrees to take Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying aircraft carrier, the Helicarrier. The Avengers become divided, both over how to approach Loki and the revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans to harness the Tesseract to develop weapons much like Hydra had in the 1940s. Agents possessed by Loki, including Clint Barton, attack the Helicarrier, disabling one of its engines in flight, which Stark and Rogers must work together to restart. Loki escapes, and Stark and Rogers realize that for Loki, simply defeating them will not be enough; he needs to overpower them publicly to validate himself as ruler of Earth. Rogers invites Barton to join the Avengers after he is freed by Romanoff from his mind control. Loki uses the Tesseract to open a wormhole in New York City above Stark Tower to allow the alien species of the Chitauri to invade. However, Rogers successfully leads the Avengers in defending the city and they defeat and capture Loki. Following the battle, Rogers coordinates the search and rescue of injured civilians. Thor returns Loki to Asgard to face justice for his invasion and the Avengers go their separate ways. Rogers, with newfound purpose in the modern world, rides off on his motorcycle.

In the time period after these events, Rogers records a number of public service announcements for high school students, encouraging them to do things like maintaining healthy lifestyles and obeying rules.[41]

Dismantling Hydra and fighting the Winter Soldier[edit]

In 2014, Rogers works for S.H.I.E.L.D. in Washington, D.C., under Fury, while continuing to adjust to contemporary society. Rogers and Romanoff are sent with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team, led by Agent Rumlow, to free hostages aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. satellite launch vessel, the Lemurian Star, that has been hijacked by a terrorist group led by Georges Batroc. Rogers and S.T.R.I.K.E successfully rescue the hostages, but Batroc escapes when Rogers discovers Romanoff has her own agenda: to extract data from the ship's computers for Fury. Rogers returns to the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters, to confront Fury and is briefed about Project Insight: three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites launched from the Lemurian Star, designed to preemptively eliminate threats against America. Rogers, citing his moral issues with such a program, expresses concern that the project will likely result in the deaths of innocent people. He visits an elderly Peggy Carter who expresses regret that Rogers never got to live the life he deserved.

Unable to decrypt the data recovered by Romanoff, Fury becomes suspicious about Insight and asks senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce to delay the project. Fury, ambushed by assailants led by the Winter Soldier, escapes and warns Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised. Fury is gunned down by the Winter Soldier, but hands Rogers a flash drive containing Romanoff's data. Pierce summons Rogers to the Triskelion, revealing evidence that Fury hired Batroc to hijack the ship as cover to retrieve the data, but when Rogers withholds Fury's information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by S.T.R.I.K.E., Rogers escapes capture and meets with Romanoff. Using the data, they discover a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. bunker below Camp Leigh, Rogers' old military training base in New Jersey, where they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola. Zola reveals that after S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded following World War II, Hydra has secretly operated within its ranks and creating world crisis that will eventually cause humanity to sacrifice freedom for security. A S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker, and the pair realize that Pierce is Hydra's leader.

Rogers and Romanoff enlist the help of former USAF pararescueman Sam Wilson, whom Rogers befriended earlier, and acquire his powered "Falcon" wingpack. Deducing that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is a Hydra mole, they force him to divulge Hydra's plan to use satellite-guided guns to eliminate individuals identified by an algorithm as a threat to Hydra. They are ambushed by the Winter Soldier, whom Rogers recognizes as Bucky Barnes, his friend who he thought had died during World War II. S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Maria Hill manages to extract the trio to a safehouse where Fury, who had faked his death, is waiting with plans to sabotage the Helicarriers by replacing their controller chips. After the World Security Council members arrive for the Helicarriers' launch, Rogers exposes Hydra's plot causing an internal conflict within S.H.I.E.L.D. Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controller chips, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson's suit and fights Rogers on the third. Rogers fends him off and replaces the final chip, allowing Hill have the vessels destroy each other. Rogers refuses to fight the Winter Soldier in an attempt to reach his friend, but as the ship collides with the Triskelion, Rogers is thrown into the Potomac River. Barnes rescues the unconscious Rogers and disappears into the woods. S.H.I.E.L.D. officially disbands and after Rogers recovers from his injuries, he and Wilson partner together to find Barnes.

Fighting Ultron[edit]

In 2015, in the Eastern European country of Sokovia, Rogers leads the Avengers against a Hydra facility to recover Loki's scepter. They are attacked by the twins Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff, two superpowered experimental volunteers but succeed in obtaining the scepter and Rogers captures Hydra leader Baron Strucker. Returning to the Avengers Tower, Stark and Banner use the scepter to complete Stark's "Ultron" global defense program. Afterwards, the Avengers host a celebratory party and Ultron reveals himself and attacks the team at the Avengers Tower, before escaping. In Johannesburg, the Avengers confront and battle Ultron, Wanda, and Pietro. Rogers is subdued by Wanda Maximoff after she produces hallucinatory visions to him of World War II and Peggy Carter. After Maximoff also causes the Hulk to ravage the city before being subdue by Stark, Rogers and the other defeated Avengers take refuge at Barton's secret residence so they can recover. While there, they are encouraged by Fury to assemble and stop Ultron.

In Seoul, Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton attempt to stop Ultron from uploading his network into a synthetic vibranium body powered by the Mind Stone. Rogers fights Ultron in an attempt to keep him from completing the upload. He is assisted by the Maximoff twins who side with the Avengers after learning Ultron plans to exterminate humanity. They retrieve the synthetic body, but Romanoff is captured. At the Avengers Tower, the Avengers have a dispute over the synthetic body which is activated and becomes Vision. Rogers and the Avengers then return to Sokovia, where they engage in a battle against Ultron and are able to defeat him, but at the cost of Pietro Maximoff's life and the complete destruction of the city. At the new Avengers Compound, Rogers and Romanoff begin training new team members Wanda Maximoff, James Rhodes, Vision, and Wilson.

Sokovia Accords[edit]

In 2016, Rogers, Maximoff, Romanoff, and Wilson stop the mercenary Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow, who was previously a Hydra agent, attempts to kill Rogers with a suicide bomb but Maximoff saves him. However, she mistakenly kills several Wakandan humanitarian workers in the process. This leads to U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informing the Avengers that the United Nations (U.N.) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a U.N. panel to oversee and control the team. The Avengers are divided: Stark supports oversight because of his role in Ultron's creation and Sokovia's devastation, while Rogers is hesitant to give the government that kind of control over the team.

Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes' old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes' Winter Soldier brainwashing. Barnes is framed for the Vienna bombing that kills King T'Chaka of Wakanda, and T'Chaka's son T'Challa, the Black Panther, vows vengeance. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from T'Challa and the authorities, but are apprehended. Impersonating a psychiatrist sent to interview Barnes, Zemo sends Barnes on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and hides him. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed "Winter Soldiers" are kept in cryogenic stasis. Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Barton, Scott Lang, and Maximoff to their cause. Stark assembles a team to capture the renegades, and they fight at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany, until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. Stark strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes after finding out about Zemo, but Zemo reveals footage of an automobile Barnes had intercepted in 1991 that contained Stark's parents, whom Barnes subsequently killed. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them. After an intense fight, Rogers disables Stark's Iron Man armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Rogers breaks his team out of the Raft, and heads to Wakanda with Barnes, where Barnes chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found. Wanted by the U.N. for breaking the Sokovia Accords, Rogers, Maximoff, Romanoff, and Wilson go into hiding.

Infinity War[edit]

In 2018, Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson rescue Maximoff and Vision in Scotland from Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, two of Thanos' children. They return to the Avengers Compound, reuniting with Banner and Rhodes. Rhodes refuses Secretary Ross's order to arrest Rogers, Romanoff, Wilson, and Maximoff; and Rogers informs Ross they intend to defend the Earth against the incoming threat, with or without permission from the Sokovia Accords. The Avengers travel to Wakanda to have the Mind Stone removed from Vision without destroying him in the process. Rogers orders Maximoff to destroy the stone as soon as it is removed from his head. As Thanos' children and the Outriders invade, Rogers, Barnes, Romanoff, Wilson, Rhodes, Banner, T'Challa, and the Wakandan armies mount a defense and get support when Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive. Rogers attempts to rally the Avengers against Thanos who successfully destroys Vision, obtains the Mind Stone, and completes the Infinity Gauntlet. Rogers survives The Blip, but is left defeated.

Returning to the Avengers Compound, Rogers and Romanoff assess the worldwide casualties and discover that Thanos destroyed half of all living things. They are met by Carol Danvers who arrives answering Nick Fury's pager. After Danvers brings Stark and Nebula to the Compound, Rogers leads a team consisting of Rocket, Danvers, Thor, Romanoff, Rhodes, Banner, and Nebula into space to hunt Thanos. They confront and subdue Thanos and are horrified to learn that he destroyed the stones to prevent his mission from ever being undone. Rogers watches an enraged Thor decapitate Thanos.

Avenging the fallen[edit]

In 2023, Rogers leads a support group for grieving survivors in New York City. Rogers and Romanoff are shocked when Lang arrives at the Avengers Compound and explains that he has been trapped in the Quantum Realm and suggests using it as a form of time travel. Rogers, Romanoff, and Lang visit Stark but he refuses to help. They meet Banner at a diner who agrees, however, their initial attempts at time travel are unsuccessful. Stark returns to the Compound, revealing he has unlocked the key to successful time travel, and he and Rogers conclude their nearly decade-long feud, reestablishing their trust in one another with Stark returning Rogers' shield. After Barton and Thor return to the Compound, the team formulates a plan and Rogers teams up with Stark, Banner, and Lang to travel to 2012 to retrieve the three Stones present in New York City during Loki's invasion. They succeed in securing the Time Stone and the Mind Stone, with Rogers having to fight the 2012 version of himself to facilitate this. However, after the Space Stone plan goes awry, it necessitates a trip to 1970 so that Stark can recover it from a S.H.I.E.L.D. base in New Jersey, while Rogers finds Pym Particles at the same base for their trip back. While in the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Rogers sees the 1970 version of Peggy Carter through a window. The Avengers return, save for Romanoff who sacrificed herself for the mission, and the original Avengers hold a silent mourning for her. After Rocket, Stark, and Banner create a gauntlet, Banner reverses the Blip. However, the 2014 version of Thanos emerges from the quantum realm and attacks the Avengers Compound.

During a fight against Thanos, Rogers proves worthy to wield Thor's hammer Mjolnir. Thanos proves too powerful and Rogers, bruised and battered with his shield in tatters, stands up alone to face Thanos and his entire army. However, the restored Avengers, the restored Guardians, the Wakandan army, Masters of the Mystic Arts, Ravagers, and Asgardians arrive and Rogers rallies them all in a final battle against Thanos. With no other options for victory, Stark uses the Infinity Gauntlet and snaps his fingers to defeat Thanos and his army while Rogers looks on in grief. After attending Stark's funeral, Rogers reunites with Barnes, Wilson and Banner before returning the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their appropriate times and places. However, Rogers also decides to return to 1949 to reunite with Carter,[42] where he marries and lives a full life with her. Returning to Barnes, Wilson and Banner, he appears as an elderly man finally at peace, and passes his shield and mantle to Wilson.

Legacy[edit]

Six months following The Blip, Sam Wilson struggles with the idea of taking up Rogers' title as Captain America and instead gives the shield to the U.S. government so it can be displayed in a Smithsonian museum exhibit dedicated to Rogers. Joaquin Torres mentions to Wilson that discussions about Rogers' whereabouts have become an internet conspiracy theory, and a common one is that he is hidden in a secret moonbase. The government names John Walker as the new Captain America and gives him the shield.

Bucky Barnes confronts Wilson who reveals that he did not feel comfortable being Rogers' successor. Walker indicates his desire to fill Rogers' shoes but comes into conflict with Wilson and Barnes who refuse to work with him and the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) in tracking down the Flag Smashers, a group of terrorist super soldiers. Barnes introduces Wilson to Isaiah Bradley, an African-American successor to Rogers that he came into conflict with during the Korean War. Bradley was kept a secret, imprisoned for thirty years, and experimented on by the government and Hydra. Wilson and Barnes learn that Bradley's blood was used to create a new variation of the Super Soldier Serum for the Power Broker but was stolen and used by the Flag Smashers. Helmut Zemo destroys all but one of the remaining vials of the serum which is secretly retrieved by Walker, who uses it and gains super soldier abilities. Walker murders a Flag Smasher with the shield while a horrified crowd watches and records him. Wilson and Barnes forcibly take the shield from Walker, who has the Captain America title stripped from him by the government. Wilson eventually takes up the mantle as Rogers intended. Wilson, with assistance from Barnes, Walker, and Sharon Carter, defeats the Flag Smashers, and Wilson convinces the GRC to end its forced resettlement practices. Wilson later has a memorial dedicated to Isaiah Bradley added to the Captain America museum exhibit.

Film appearances[edit]

Chris Evans promoting the film Captain America: The First Avenger at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International

Chris Evans portrays Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: The First Avenger (2011),[36] The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014),[43] Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015),[44] Captain America: Civil War (2016),[45] Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017),[46] Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019),[47] and Avengers: Endgame (2019).[48] In addition, Evans makes an uncredited cameo appearance in Ant-Man (2015).[49] Evans confirmed that he intended to retire from the role after the fourth Avengers film, leading to speculation that the character would die over the course of the final film;[50] in the finale of Endgame, Rogers uses a time machine to go back and live out a full life with Peggy Carter, with his elder self later appearing in the present to pass on his shield to Sam Wilson.[51] Theater actor Leander Deeny was the body double in some shots in the first film for Steve Rogers' pre-transformation physique,[52][53] while Patrick Gorman served as the body double for elderly Steve Rogers.[54]

In January 2021, Evans was reportedly close to signing a deal with to reprise the role of Captain America in at least one future MCU project. Evans' involvement was said to be similar to how Robert Downey, Jr. appeared in large supporting roles in other film franchises, such as Civil War and Homecoming, after concluding the Iron Man film series with Iron Man 3 (2013).[55] Evans tweeted shortly after the report of his return that it was "news to [him]".[56]

References in other films[edit]

  • In Iron Man (2008), a replica of Captain America's shield can be seen in Tony Stark's workshop when J.A.R.V.I.S. is removing his armor and Pepper Potts spots him.[57]
  • In The Incredible Hulk (2008), General Ross mentions to Emil Blonsky that there was a World War II program that created a Super Soldier Serum. The Super Soldier Serum is shown, as well as Dr. Reinstein —a pseudonym for Dr. Erskine in the comics— referenced as its inventor.[58] In the film's deleted opening, Bruce Banner goes to the Arctic to commit suicide but transforms into the Hulk, smashing a glacier. A buried human figure and shield are visible, who are meant to be Rogers and his shield.[59]
  • In Iron Man 2 (2010), S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson discovers an incomplete replica of Captain America's shield inside a box. When he asks Tony Stark if he knows what it is, Tony tells him that it's "just what [he] need[s]" and places the shield underneath his particle collider to level it.[60]
  • In Thor: The Dark World (2013), Loki masquerades as Captain America.[61]
  • In Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Happy Hogan mentions "a prototype for Cap's new shield" made by Stark Industries.[62] Captain America wearing his Avengers-style uniform in a series of educational PSAs is shown at various points to the students of Midtown School of Science and Technology, on topics such as fitness, detention and puberty, culminating in a post-credits stinger gag showing him talking about how patience isn't always rewarded.
  • In Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Rogers is shown in a memorial slideshow alongside Stark, Romanoff, and Vision as heroes who lost their life due to the Infinity War.[63]

Other media[edit]

  • The 2013 Marvel One-Shot short film Agent Carter features the exploits of Peggy Carter one year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and features a flashback of Carter's final communication with Steve Rogers.[64] The scene was also shown in the first episode of Agent Carter.
  • Archival footage of the character appears in the first episode of the Disney+ TV series Loki.
  • A version of Steve Rogers will appear in the Disney+ animated series What If...?, with Evans reprising his role.[65] In the first episode, he will become an early version of Iron Man, while Peggy Carter is subjected to the Super Soldier Serum and becomes a superhero named Captain Britain.
  • In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Rogers' speech to Wilson at the finale of Avengers: Endgame can be heard in the first episode, "New World Order". Also in this episode, Wilson struggles with taking on Rogers' title as Captain America, believing that he is not worthy of the mantle. At the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., a museum dedication to Rogers is shown and Wilson provides them with the iconic shield for display. However, the U.S. government names John Walker their new Captain America and he is given the shield.

Characterization[edit]

Outward appearance and equipment[edit]

Costume designer Anna B. Sheppard stated that Captain America's uniform in Captain America: The First Avenger was partly based on that of paratroopers of the era, explaining, "I think that the challenge of this costume was that it had to look 40s, that's why certain elements like using leather for the straps and belt, metal buckles and not having too tight a fit were important. Forget spandex!"[66] Visual Development Supervisor Ryan Meinerding elaborated, "The straps that come off his chest are very similar to the ALICE webbing that was used in Vietnam. Using the straps as the stripes across his torso then seemed like an elegant design solution. In the end, the main design aspects of this suit are meant to be about making it appear soldier-like, functional and tough."[67] In The Avengers, his suit was made to look "a bit more 'superhero'" in comparison to The First Avenger, at Whedon's request. Costume designer Alexandra Byrne stated the difference between both suits were "the fabrics that are available. Today we have a lot of stretch fabrics and there weren't any 'technofabrics' then", and called his design "the most technically difficult" of the Avengers' costumes.[68]

For The Winter Soldier, Evans trained in parkour, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, boxing, kickboxing, and gymnastics, as the Russo brothers believed that bringing Rogers into the modern day also meant that he had studied and mastered modern fighting styles and techniques. The filmmakers also looked to make the character's shield, which has traditionally been used for defense, a more offensive weapon.[69] For Age of Ultron, Evans said that he was able to maintain the strength he built up for The Winter Soldier by working out up to an hour a day.[70] Evans didn't want to take a step back from the skills shown in The Winter Soldier, and made sure Rogers' fighting style advanced, showing "a consistent display of strength" and having Rogers utilizing his environment.[71] Evans' training regimen to get in shape for the role included weight lifting, which consisted of "the classic bodyweight and bodybuilding stuff", gymnastics and plyometrics, while staying away from cardio-based exercises, along with a high-protein diet.[72] For Civil War, his costume in the film received "subtle changes to all the details and cut" as well as its color, becoming a combination of the stealth suit from Winter Soldier and the Avengers: Age of Ultron suit.[73] In Infinity War, Rogers receives new vibranium gauntlets from Shuri to replace his traditional shield.[74]

In his civilian attire throughout the series, it has been noted that Rogers "tends to go for a very low key look ... based around very simple pieces that work together".[75] In his earliest appearance, designed by Sheppard, "post-serum Steve was All-American in a devastatingly tight white tee and khaki pants",[76] while in The Avengers Byrne made him "sophisticated enough to beautifully blend plaids and stripes."[76] Costume designer Judianna Makovsky described his fashion evolution between Winter Soldier and Civil War as becoming increasingly comfortable in his clothes.[77] A New York magazine article, however, criticized his clothing across the series as being "bereft of patterns, graphics, imagery or anything you couldn't color in with one singular crayon".[78]

In Captain America: The First Avenger, Rogers uses a weaponized 1942 WLA motorcycle in World War II in his fights against Hydra.[79] In Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this model is shown to be displayed in the Captain America exhibit in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.[80] In The Avengers, Rogers is shown to have switched to a Softail Slim model for commuting around New York City, before using the Street 750 model when fleeing from pursuing Hydra agents in The Winter Soldier.[81] Rogers later uses other models such as the Breakout,[82] V-Rod and the Softail Slim S.[83]

Personality[edit]

Steve Rogers begins as a frail, sickly young man who is enhanced to the peak of human ability by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States in World War II.[36] Regarding the extent of the character's abilities Evans remarked, "He would crush the Olympics. Any Olympic sport he's gonna dominate. He can jump higher, run faster, lift stronger weight, but he can be injured. He could roll an ankle and be out for the season. He's not perfect, he's not untouchable. So a lot of the effects, if I'm going to punch someone they're not going to put them on a cable and fly them back 50 feet, but he's going to go down, probably not getting back up, which I think humanizes it. It makes it something that, again, I think everyone can relate to a little bit more, which I really like."[84]

Evans said that Rogers is much darker in The Avengers: "It's just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. You've got to imagine, it's enough of a shock to accept the fact that you're in a completely different time, but everybody you know is dead. Everybody you cared about ... He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they're all dead. He's just lonely. I think in the beginning it's a fish-out-of-water scene, and it's tough. It's a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world."[85] Regarding the dynamic between Rogers and Tony Stark, Evans said, "I think there's certainly a dichotomy—this kind of friction between myself and Tony Stark, they're polar opposites. One guy is flash and spotlight and smooth, and the other guy is selfless and in the shadows and kind of quiet and they have to get along. They explore that, and it's pretty fun."[86] A key moment in The Avengers occurs when Stark, who had been dismissive of Rogers at earlier points in the film, defers to Rogers as leader of the newly formed team to defend New York against a large-scale attack.[87] Describing his character's continuing adjustment to the modern world in The Winter Soldier, Evans said, "It's not so much about his shock with [technology]... It's more about the societal differences. He's gone from the '40s to today; he comes from a world where people were a little more trusting, the threats not as deep. Now, it's harder to tell who's right and wrong. Actions you take to protect people from threats could compromise liberties and privacy. That's tough for Steve to swallow."[88]

In his next appearance, in Age of Ultron, Rogers is the leader of the Avengers.[89][90] Evans stated that since the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rogers has been left to depend on his Avenger teammates without the structure of military life and is now "looking to understand where he belongs, not just as a soldier, as Captain America, but as Steve Rogers, as a person."[91] In Civil War, Rogers becomes the leader of a faction of Avengers against regulation.[92][93] Director Anthony Russo described Captain America's character arc in the film as taking him "from the most ra-ra company man" and "a somewhat willing propagandist" to "an insurgent" at the end of the film.[94] Unlike the comics' Civil War, the film was never going to kill Rogers, as the directors thought that was "an easy ending ... The more difficult and more interesting place to leave a family fight is: can these important relationships ever be repaired? Is this family broken permanently?"[95]

Director Joe Russo said that after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016), Rogers struggles with the conflict between his responsibility to himself and his responsibility to others.[96] In Infinity War, the character embodies the "spirit" of his comic alternate identity Nomad in the film.[97] An early draft of the film experimented with Rogers first appearing in the film saving Vision from Corvus Glaive's attack in Wakanda during the third act. Markus and McFeely said they were called "insane" for waiting that long to introduce Rogers into the film and ultimately conceded it was "not [a] satisfying" approach.[98]

In Avengers: Endgame, Christopher Markus described Rogers as someone who is "moving toward some sort of enlightened self-interest." Both he and McFeely knew he was going to get "the dance" he promised Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), with McFeely saying, "He's postponed a life in order to fulfill his duty. That's why I didn't think we were ever going to kill him. Because that's not the arc. The arc is, I finally get to put my shield down because I've earned that."[99]

Differences from the comic books[edit]

The origin story of Captain America follows that of the comic books, particularly Ultimate Marvel for certain elements like growing up in Brooklyn and Bucky being a childhood best friend rather than being met later, but diverges from there. Rogers is also a founding Avenger, unlike in the comics where he is a later addition to the roster and the formed Avengers are the ones who thaw him out of the ice.[100] In the comic books, Steve Rogers is murdered at the event of the Civil War storyline, leading to Bucky Barnes becoming the next Captain America. In the MCU Rogers survives Civil War,[101] eventually passing the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson in Avengers: Endgame.[51] In the comics, Wilson became Captain America in 2014.[102]

Reception[edit]

Evans' portrayal of the character has been positively received by fans and critics. Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel positively reviewed Evans' performance as Steve Rogers, writing that Evans "brings a proper earnestness to the character".[103] Roger Ebert described the character as "a hero we care about and who has some dimension".[104] Likewise, in his review of Avengers: Endgame, Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal lauded both actor and character, calling "Chris Evans's effortlessly likable Steve Rogers/Captain America, the team's natural leader."[105]

Peter DeBruge, writing for Variety, had a more critical take, finding that "as Marvel heroes go, Captain America must be the most vanilla of the lot", and that because of his quick healing and fighting abilities, "there's never the slightest concern that the Nazis might get the better of him".[106]

In 2015, Empire named Captain America the 46th greatest film character of all time.[107]

In a December 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige called Evans "a great actor" and "a reluctant star". He compared his portrayal of Captain America with Christopher Reeve's Superman for the strong association between the actors and their respective characters.[29]

Accolades[edit]

Year Film Award Category Result Ref(s)
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Star: Male Nominated [108]
Scream Awards Best Science Fiction Actor Nominated [109]
Best Superhero Won
Fight Scene of the Year (with Hugo Weaving) Nominated
2012 People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Superhero Nominated [110]
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated [111]
Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated [112]
The Avengers Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Male Scene Stealer: Male Nominated [113]
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite Action Movie Star Nominated [114]
Favorite Movie Superhero Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (with cast) Won [115]
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Nominated [116]
Choice Movie: Chemistry (with Anthony Mackie) Nominated
Choice Movie: Liplock (with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Super Superhero Nominated [117]
2015 Critics' Choice Awards Best Actor in an Action Movie Nominated [118]
People's Choice Awards Favorite Movie Duo (with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated [119]
Favorite Action Movie Actor Won
Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated [120]
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (with Sebastian Stan) Nominated [121]
Best Kiss (with Scarlett Johansson) Nominated
Avengers: Age of Ultron Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Scene Stealer Won [122]
2016 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [123]
MTV Movie Awards Best Hero Nominated [124]
Captain America: Civil War Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Won [125]
Choice Movie: Chemistry (with cast) Nominated [126]
Choice Movie: Liplock (with Emily VanCamp) Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Actor in an Action Movie Nominated [127]
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Action Movie Actor Nominated [128]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [129]
Favorite Butt-Kicker Won
Favorite Frenemies (with Robert Downey Jr.) Nominated
#Squad (with cast) Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated [130]
2018 Avengers: Infinity War Teen Choice Awards Choice Action Movie Actor Nominated [131]
2019 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [132]
Favorite Superhero Nominated
Avengers: Endgame MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Fight (with Josh Brolin) Nominated [133]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Action Movie Actor Nominated [134]
Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated [135]
People's Choice Awards Action Movie Star of 2019 Nominated [136]
2020 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actor Nominated [137]

See also[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In an alternate reality through time travel,[6][7] or in the past in the main timeline.[8]
  2. ^ As stated in the letter he wrote to Tony Stark at the end of Captain America: Civil War.
  3. ^ As seen in a museum exhibit shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

External links[edit]