How Doctor Strange 2 Sets Up Chris Evans’ MCU Return
Avengers: Endgame was the end of an era, especially when it came to the original MCU rulers: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. But while audiences have witnessed Tony Stark’s demise of Downey, Cap’s current status is still up for debate. In the years since the 2019 film, rumors have hinted at Chris Evans’ MCU return; and if he were to ever make a comeback, Marvel Studios Doctor Strange 2 does not offer just one possibility, but several.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not only a sequel to Benedict Cumberbatch’s original 2016 film, but also a continuation of the multi-versal events of Spider-Man: No Coming Home.
However, while No coming home brought characters from other universes and franchises into the MCU, Doctor Strange 2 seeks to flip the script, dragging the former Sorcerer Supreme through different universes to face off against variations of himself and other characters.
Since the marketing of the film has already confirmed x-menof Professor X and a live-action version of What if…?‘s Captain Carter, it looks like anyone from the MCU and beyond could return to this movie, including Captain America’s Chris Evans.
Marvel’s Multiversal Prequel
Before diving into how Evans could return to Multiverse of Madnessit’s worth revisiting what Marvel Studios has established so far in terms of the multiverse.
First of all, No coming home didn’t just introduce characters from past franchises into the MCU, a la Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men. In fact, most of the actors in the Multiversal movie were dead in their universes but rather “resurrected” in the current MCU.
So even though Evans’ Cap is dead in the current MCU timeline, that doesn’t mean he’s banned for Multiverse of Madness. It works because, as Loki on established Disney+, time isn’t necessarily a string of later events.
Instead, all the moments in time all happen at the same time. This is why Green Goblin and Doc Ock were alive in No coming home – they were lifted from a time when they were alive and another time within the MCU.
This literal lack of boundaries and Captain America’s MIA status aren’t the only reason fans are hoping for his return in Multiverse of Madness. A report from early 2021 claimed that Evans was in talks to return to the MCU; and while the actor was vague about its accuracy, he also said he would only return if the story was good for Captain America.
Is this a confirmation? Not exactly. But that’s certainly not a denial or a definite no, and it’s honestly the only answer fans need.
Is Captain America on the Moon?
On the other hand, if Evans isn’t returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Marvel has some serious explaining to do.
After Spider-Man: Far From Homeand now with four Disney+ movies and five series in Phase 4, fans STILL don’t know Steve Rogers’ status or the ramifications of his time travel to return the Infinity Stones.
Yes, he was considered an older version of himself at the end of End of Game; but if this was the same Steve who went back in time to live out his life with Peggy, he would have been over a hundred years old when he gave the shield to Sam Wilson.
Now, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier kinda somehow hinted that Rogers died due to his Smithsonian exposure and the government’s need for a new Captain America via John Walker. But that was never confirmed, and Marvel even established that the general public didn’t even know about it. That’s why Joaquin Torres shared the theory that Cap lives on the moon.
If Marvel Studios wanted audiences to believe that Captain America’s story was over, Torres’ theory and this intentional ambiguity wouldn’t have made it into the series, nor would the studio continue to remind audiences of Cap and his legacy via “Rogers: The Musical” and the Statue of Liberty earns a shield.
Basically, all signs point to a gain; and so, without further ado, here are some ways Chris Evans could return to the MCU. Theories, assemble!
Theory #1: The Strange Adventure of Skinny Steve
The first episode of Disney+ What if…? featured an alternate MCU timeline where Peggy Carter took the Super-Soldier Serum and became Captain Carter. What remained the same were the sparks between Peggy and skinny Steve Rogers, who piloted the Hydra Stomper and fought alongside her.
After Carter sacrifices herself while chasing an interdimensional beast through a portal, she finds herself 70 years in the future, much like Evans’ Captain America did in his solo movie. After becoming a key member of the Guardians of the Multiverse, Peggy Carter discovers Steve’s Hydra Stomper in her current timeline, and there’s always someone inside.
Basically, the two are set up for a meeting; and if Captain Carter is set to appear in live-action via Hayley Atwell, his reunion with Steve Rogers requires Chris Evans.
Theory #2: Starred variants
It’s already arrived.
In Avengers: EndgameEvans’ Captain America fought against himself in 2012 The Avengers; and due to his Infinity Stone time jump, there may be more variants of this Avenger than any other Avenger, giving the Man Out of Time moniker a whole new meaning.
In addition to a cameo from Evans for Hayley Atwell’s live-action Captain Carter, could the actor also appear as the Star-Spangled Man from one – or more – of the universes hosting Variant Doctor Stranges? ? A completely different take on Captain America would certainly be interesting to see.
There was also a scene in Loki which appeared to show Atwell’s Peggy Carter being arrested by the TVA. Just maybe Evans returns as the MCU’s cap, whose happily ever after turned into a multiversal issue due to Strange. No coming home spells.
Theory #3: Johnny Storm on your left
In the spirit of What if…? and Multiverse of MadnessWhat if Evans doesn’t come back as any version of Steve Rogers but rather the Human Torch – Johnny Storm?
Captain America wasn’t Chris Evans’ first Marvel role. In 2005, he played Human Torch in Fox-Verse The Fantastic Fourthen again in 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
Now, that’s not to say Evans will be the MCU’s Human Torch as part of its next The Fantastic Four to restart. Undoubtedly, Marvel Studios has a new cast in mind for such an anticipated set, especially one that will stick around for a long time.
However, since Marvel is already bringing a Fox-Verse hero with Patrick Stewart as Professor X, why not one more, especially since Evans already had a foothold in both studios’ comic book franchises? In fact, the cameo might just be the best way to show that the two universes now fall under the same umbrella.
And besides, who wouldn’t want to see Strange and Wanda’s reaction to seeing Johnny Storm with their friend Steve’s face? It would certainly give more credence to the title of Multiverse of Madness.
Will Chris Evans return to Doctor Strange 2?
Whether or not audiences will see Chris Evans return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Only time will tell. Still, even if the upcoming sequel doesn’t feature Evans, that doesn’t mean he won’t appear in some form or fashion in the MCU’s future.
Marvel Studios left these Cap-related questions unanswered for a reason; much like Star-Spangled Man, Marvel always has a plan.