Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans' retirement from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) had been discussed among fans for the past several years. Even though everyone knew it was coming at the end of Avengers: Endgame, some are still having a hard time wrapping their heads around it. For now, the two actors are the only members of the MCU to officially hang up their capes (despite their heroes not wearing any), but a few more are expected to follow shortly.
When speaking with Disney Twenty-Three magazine (via ComicBook), Downey explained he always knew he was going to have to leave the MCU and the character he portrayed for 11 years and nine movies. He spoke for himself and Evans' who had also made it clear in the past he was ready to move on to other projects and possibly get behind the camera.
"We had to get off. We opted to and knew it was part of the job to get off the bus while it rolled on to other destinations. There's something very sobering about it. I'm glad he and I will be there to welcome others as they retire their jerseys."The next original Avenger set to retire is Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. The superheroine will have her own solo flick in May of next year and she is not set to return afterward. It was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) that Jeremy Renner would be reprising his role as Clint Barton in Disney+'s Hawkeye which will debut in the fall of 2021. Whether Renner will retire the character after that remains to be seen.
Chris Hemsworth doesn't appear to be hanging up his hammer (or ax these days) after Thor: Love and Thunder was announced at SDCC as well. It's rumored Thor will also be in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 but that has yet to be confirmed.
There have only been rumors and unverified sources that claim Mark Ruffalo is done as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, but an official confirmation from the actor hasn't come just yet. Hulk's arm was damaged after donning the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame but it didn't appear to be an injury big enough to prevent the green guy from cracking a few skulls in the future.
Downey Jr. and Evans are some of the only actors not lending their voices to the upcoming Disney+ animated series, What If…? Scarlett Johanson is out on the project as well, but Hemsworth, Renner, and Ruffalo are set to reprise their roles (or voices) for the new show.