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Even if Captain America dies in Avengers 4, he'll be back (right?)

Commentary: Chris Evans may or may not be retiring, but the First Avenger will never stay away for long.

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Cap 4Evah.

Jay Maidment/Marvel

Chris Evans, who plays Captain America on screen, tweeted a message Thursday that had many fans assuming Captain America dies in 2019's Avengers 4 -- or at least will never be played by Evans again.

Yep, this sounds like a sign-off to me.

Disney and representatives for Evans did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but come on, like they're going to admit to this possible massive spoiler? It shouldn't come as a real surprise to anyone who's followed any of the Avengers 4 hype. Not just Evans, but Robert Downey Jr. (who plays Iron Man) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) have made noise about this being their last film.

But Cap taking his leave of us, if true, would be special. Captain America was always my favorite Avenger, even back in the days when he got fairly lousy plots in the comics. I knew then, and I know now, that many thought of him as an uncool nerd. 

And I get it. Many fans prefer Iron Man. Tony Stark, especially as played by Downey Jr., is witty, debonair, a wealthy bad-boy genius who, like Joan Jett, doesn't give a damn about his reputation. He's Han Solo; Cap is more Luke Skywalker (pre-beard, pre-bad attitude).

Cap is as square as a Scrabble tile, and about as easy to read.

It's not tough for me to figure out why I'm a Cap girl. My own dad had Captain America qualities. A high school quarterback turned Marine who fought at the Battle of Okinawa, he lived more than 90 years. He took in every stray animal he ever met and I don't think I ever heard a swear word pass his lips. 

Cap being frozen sounds like the dumbest comic-book plotline you could imagine, but when he thawed out, he brought with him all the decency of the WWII era, and few of its negative stereotypes. He wasn't racist. He wasn't sexist. He'd seen where that kind of prejudice had gotten the world -- he fought Nazis, after all. In the annals of battle experience, there are few higher cards to play.

Evans may be retiring, and the Captain America character could be shelved for a while, at least in the movies. This isn't a disaster. Marvel has plenty of rich characters to bring to the forefront. Black Panther, especially, shares Cap's courtly politeness backed up with never-back-down willpower and super-strength. 

In fact, I'm convinced Cap's absence will only make his inevitable return more powerful, even if played by another actor. Whatever he goes through off screen will build a deck of experience he can draw on once he's back in charge again, and he will be. 

There's a scene in Avengers: Infinity War, where Thor (Chris Hemsworth) introduces Cap (Evans) to Groot, mid-battle. Groot yells his standard, "I AM GROOT!" and Cap gently taps his own chest and says politely, "I am Steve Rogers." 

That scene got at the heart of why I loved Evans' Cap. Of course he'd formally introduce himself in the heat of battle. Of course he'd calmly accept a shouted remark coming from a crazy stick-guy. You don't stop being who you are.

And even if we don't see Captain America on screen for a while, I've got to believe that star-spangled moral leader, who forever represents the best that America has to offer, will be back, and better than ever.

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