• Chris Evans’ return as Captain America in the MCU takes a dark turn in this brilliant crossover fan art, imagining the controversial Secret Empire storyline.
  • Secret Empire, where Captain America is revealed as a HYDRA sleeper agent, could still be explored in the MCU without Chris Evans.
  • With Sam Wilson as the new Captain America, and a potential MCU reboot on the cards, a different version of Secret Empire could take place in the MCU’s future.



Chris Evans’ return to the MCU as Steve Rogers’ Captain America takes a dark turn in this brilliant crossover fan art. Chris Evans debuted as Steve Rogers in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, and went on to appear in ten further MCU projects, both as part of the main cast and in cameos, before retiring from the role in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers went from a nobody from Brooklyn to the world’s first super soldier, then to founding member of the Avengers, and was even branded a fugitive following Civil War. However, one of Marvel Comics’ most controversial Captain America storylines wasn’t included in this journey.

Marvel Comics’ 2017 Secret Empire was a storyline that Marvel Studios actively avoided adapting for the MCU, but the dark and gritty story has been imagined in MCU fan art shared by Spideyvegas. This art imagines Secret Empire as a crossover project in the MCU, including other established heroes such as Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, the Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man, though a twisted version of Chris Evans’ Captain America takes center stage.

Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire revealed Captain America as a HYDRA sleeper agent, which would have been a hugely controversial twist in the MCU. However, this storyline could still be explored in the MCU’s future, even without Chris Evans.

Related: Marvel Just Proved Chris Evans Returning As Captain America Wouldn’t Undermine His Replacement

Secret Empire Could Happen In The MCU Without Chris Evans

Chris Evans has been consistent in his comments regarding his potential return to the MCU, noting that his time as Steve Rogers was precious, and he wouldn’t want to return just to ruin it. This means that he likely wouldn’t return for a storyline as world-changing as Secret Empire, though this doesn’t mean that it can’t be adapted for the MCU. Following his retirement in Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers gifted the Captain America shield and mantle to Sam Wilson, who embraced his new role in Phase 4’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. With a new Captain America in the MCU, a different version of Secret Empire could take place.

Captain America fought most of Earth’s heroes as a HYDRA agent in Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire.

Even though it’s unlikely that Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson will be outed as a sleeper agent for HYDRA, it’s possible that this could occur in 2024’s Captain America: Brave New World or beyond, especially following on from Rhodey’s Skrull reveal in Secret Invasion. Recent speculation suggests that Avengers: Secret Wars may reboot the MCU, which means that a new actor could be introduced as Steve Rogers’ Captain America. This means that Marvel Studios could adapt Secret Empire more accurately than Chris Evans’ “hail HYDRA” tease in Avengers: Endgame, with the new version of Captain America as the project’s lead.

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