Chris Evans had a hard time accepting the role of Captain America

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Chris Evans almost turned down the chance to play Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Chris Evans’ portrayal of Captain America has become an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He, along with the other creatives at Marvel Studios, have redefined the character for a new generation. But believe it or not, Evans wasn’t always so keen on picking up the iconic red, white, and blue shield.

In a recent cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, Evans reflected on being cast as Steve Rogers. Around that same time, he was already suffering from “little panic attacks,” and getting a big offer from Marvel didn’t exactly help with that anxiety. The actor knew it was a big opportunity, but something in his gut told him to say no:

"“Getting the [Captain America] offer felt to me like the epitome of temptation. The ultimate job offer, on the biggest scale. I’m supposed to say no to this thing. It felt like the right thing to do.”"

After turning down Marvel’s initial nine-film deal, the studio returned to Evans with a six-film one, which he once again passed on. He was admittedly impressed by Marvel’s pitch and vision for the character. However, he still felt turning down the role was the right thing to do:

"“You see the pictures, and you see the costumes, and it’s cool. But I’d now woken up the day after saying no and felt good, twice.”"

There was also the matter of making the character interesting and relatable, which Evans had doubts about:

"“There’s no real darkness to him. “How do I make this guy someone you want to watch? I don’t get jokes. I’m not Wolverine. I don’t have dead parents, like Batman. I’m just, like, ‘Hi, I’ll walk your dog. I’ll help you move.'”"

More from Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel’s early relationship with Evans was a complex one. Aside from Evans not wanting to take the role, Marvel was initially unsure if they wanted to cast him. This was mostly due to his role as the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four franchise. After making the decision to pursue him, they had to do a lot to land him. Luckily, Evans spoke with friends and had a deep conversation with Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who convinced him to sign on.

Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to be beneficial for Evans’ career. Not only has it made him one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, but it also afforded him other opportunities. In 2014, he was able to direct his first feature film, Before We Go. And with his Marvel contract at an end, he’s hoping to do even more directing in the future.

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As Captain America, Chris Evans has left a lasting mark on audiences, which will make it even harder when he rides into the sunset after Avengers: Endgame.