Chris Evans hints Robert Downey Jr. may leave Marvel sooner than expected

The actor also spoke with a sense of finality about his own eventual departure from the franchise

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The Independent Culture

With Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon, there's been a lot of talk of whether the original Avengers will be staying with the franchise before or beyond Avengers 4

Captain America: Civil War ended with the fracture of the original Avengers and the hint a new generation of the team is on the rise, with the likes of Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, and eventually Captain Marvel at the helm.

The franchise's actors certainly seem to talk about the future with a certain sense of finality, particularly when it comes to Captain America himself, Chris Evans. His contract wraps up after Avengers: Infinity War (4 May, 2018) and Avengers 4 (3 May, 2019) have hit screens, and it seems unlikely it'll be renewed. 

He's spoken in the past about his role in the MCU eventually wrapping up in some form, but it seems as if co-star Robert Downey Jr. may also be gearing up for a departure.

"Downey is far closer to reaching that point where he may walk away. And I don’t know how you replace Downey as Tony Stark," Evans told USA Today. "I don’t know who else can touch that."

"I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be hard for me," Evans said of his own departure. "But the passing of time and the passing of torches is part of the experience. Nothing lasts forever. There’s a beauty in that departure, even if it can be sad at times. It’s also joyful."

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"I’ve had a great run. Superheroes are re-inventable entities, like Batman or even James Bond. These movies find new incarnations and new ways to tell the story. I am all for it," he continued. "However they want to proceed after Avengers 4, it’s really up to them. I walk away with no regrets and endlessly thankful."

It seems as if the next few films will be a crucial turning point for Marvel, who has so far been enjoying huge success with its current slate of MCU characters; can the studio smoothly phase in a new generation of heroes without putting its box office at risk?