Marvel's movie machine is moving right along and, with films reportedly planned through 2021, shows NO signs of slowing down. Part of the plan for Marvel's Phase 3 is to start introducing new characters to the mix in one of their two yearly releases with Ant-Man taking the lead in that direction when it is released July 31, 2015. According to Kevin Feige, Marvel would like to use the second yearly release to continue the studio's existing franchises such as Thor, Captain America and, eventually, Iron Man.
If things go according to Marvel's previous plans, that would leave room for 2 films in Phase 3 that add to existing franchises. It was this Twitter exchange about that topic with Screen Rant's Rob Keyes today got me started on this editorial.
@CBBrainSplatter Thor 3, Cap 3, Strange, GotG 2 (Inhumans)While it is in no way confirmation of any of the films we will be seeing, it's possible that Keyes and Screen Rant, who have done several set visits for Marvel in the past, have a little more information than the rest of us. After the success of Thor: The Dark World, a third Thor solo film seems a certainty. If early reports hold true, a third Cap solo outing will also be in the cards as well. While the focus of the third Thor film may have already been hinted at in Thor: The Dark World, we can only speculate about the myriad possibilities for a third Cap film and my favorite option would be to follow the comics and show us "The Death of Captain America" on screen.
— Rob Keyes (@rob_keyes) January 6, 2014
While it would certainly be a shocker to the general fanbase, it would be a bold and brilliant step for Marvel. While we may not see the full out Civil War story line that precedes the death of Steve Rogers in the comics, some early rumors about Avengers: Age of Ultron have the core group of Avengers very much on the fence about their continued partnership after the events of Captain America: The Winter Solider. That film introduction of two of the main players in Cap's murder: Sharon Carter and Crossbones, both of whom have teased that they have futures in the MCU. The film will also see the return of Cap's partner Bucky who, in the comics, picks up the shield and mantle of Captain America after his friend's death. Finally, there's the reality that Chris Evans, who has suited up as Rogers signed a contract that locked him in to appear in 6 films, with 5 of those already being completed or lined up, and the fact that the actor has publicly discussed his unwillingness to continue to work his tail off to maintain the physical size required to play the role.
And then there's this new rumor that came up while I was working on this story that suggests Chris Evans will part ways with Marvel at the end of his 6-picture deal. The article goes on to speculate, as I have here, that Marvel may choose to kill off the Sentinel of Liberty and replace him with Bucky since Sebastian Stan, who also signed a 6-picture deal with Marvel. This is something that Marvel has been teasing since the first Cap solo film and has teased again in the trailer and still photos for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While Comic Book Therapy's rumor makes it sound like Marvel may be speeding along the exit of Chris Evans, I'm inclined to believe that the studio has been preparing for it the entire time. While it's possible Rogers dies in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (I've speculated about it here), it's equally as possible that the studio will send Cap off in a third solo film, finishing Evans' contract and shocking audiences.
I'll finish my thoughts with this: I don't know when we are going to see it, but we are going to see Chris Evans' Captain America die on screen. It's just a matter of when Marvel Studios decides it best serves the greater narrative.