CATEGORIES Hot Topic
Chris Evans, meet America. America, meet your captain.

With the announcement of Chris Evans accepting the role of Steve Rogers -- or, if you prefer calling him by his alter ego, Captain America -- the casting of the most important Avenger is now complete. Why is this decision more important than that of, say, 'Thor'? Let's take a deeper look.

Quite a bit is riding on Captain America -- the New York City-born, World War II-fighting Marvel Comics superhero -- who is finally set to come to the big screen with in 2011's 'Captain America: The First Avenger' with Evans in the title role. You could argue that no single casting choice has meant this much to a single studio in recent history. And his long, strange road to the silver screen, creating casting news the public seems to be very much a part of deciding, just took a giant leap forward. Chris Evans, meet America. America, meet your captain.

With the announcement of Chris Evans accepting the role of Steve Rogers -- or, if you prefer calling him by his alter ego, Captain America -- the casting of the most important Avenger is now complete. Why is this decision more important than that of, say, 'Thor'? Let's take a deeper look.

Quite a bit is riding on Captain America -- the New York City-born, World War II-fighting Marvel Comics superhero -- who is finally set to come to the big screen with in 2011's 'Captain America: The First Avenger' with Evans in the title role. You could argue that no single casting choice has meant this much to a single studio in recent history. And his long, strange road to the silver screen, creating casting news the public seems to be very much a part of deciding, just took a giant leap forward.

Captain America started out as an answer from Joe Simon and partner Jack Kirby to Nazi Germany. Created over a year before the United States' official involvement in World War II, the first issue of his comic book featured a cover illustration of Captain America punching Adolph Hitler in the face.

In 1990, a low budget 'Captain America' film starring Matt Salinger (best known for being the son of author J.D. Salinger) was released to scathing reviews. After many delays, the film would be relegated to direct-to-video.

Now, 70 years after his creation, the chemically-enhanced super-soldier is considered the anchor of Marvel's film studio. 'Captain America: The First Avenger' will set forth a story that will tie in all the other Marvel produced films -- the two 'Iron Man' films, 'The Incredible Hulk,' 'Thor' -- finally culminating with all of them in one film, 'The Avengers.'

It's true, some of the financial pressure was alleviated with Disney's purchase of Marvel Studios. Though, now that Evans has taken over the role as Captain America, he'll be expected to appear in a reported nine films. Nine! Sure, some of these include smaller roles in the other heroes' featured films plus the ensemble 'Avengers' film, but a nine-film contract to one actor to play one character is unheard of and still a risk (especially a character named 'Captain America,' curious how that will play in the overseas market) -- even for a studio as large as Disney. In other words: You better pick the right guy.

This could explain the massive amount of leaks from Marvel on the identities of who was being considered for the role of Captain America, creating one of the most public auditions in recent memory, before officially pulling the trigger on Chris Evans. Case in point: 'G.I. Joe's' Channing Tatum and 'The Office's' John Krasinski were both front runners at certain times. That was until Internet message boards lit on fire from the vitriol spewed at these choices. It may have been completely unrelated, but it was soon announced both actors were no longer in the running.

Now we have a confirmation of Chris Evans. Evans played the Human Torch in both 'Fantastic Four' films -- a role most fans consider the best thing about the two films -- so he is certainly no stranger to the Marvel universe. And he was downright fantastic in Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller 'Sunshine.' Though, could this be problematic having two Marvel heroes played by the same actor? Though 'Fantastic Four' is in the same comic book universe, their rights are owned by Fox; there is no chance of crossover. (The same goes for 'Spider-Man,' whose rights are owned by Sony. Rights they are very much keeping with a reboot of that franchise in 2012.)

What is important for Evans is that he seems to have, for the most part, the Internet community behind him. He's a likable guy. Marvel cannot afford to have a lukewarm response to Cap's first film like they did with 2008's 'The Incredible Hulk' -- a film with a $150 million budget that grossed $134 million domestically. The wildly successful first 'Iron Man' film (the second will be released this May) had a well-liked actor in the lead role, Robert Downey Jr. 'Incredible Hulk' starred Edward Norton, but his screen time had to be shared with a CGI Hulk character -- which moviegoers apparently did not find as appealing.

'Captain America' is a much bigger risk than another of Marvel's highly anticipated superhero flicks, 'Thor.' If 'Thor' fails, the franchise is still in good shape. Marvel would make 'Thor' a one-and-out film and regulate star Chris Hemsworth to the team-up films. That's not as easy of a proposition with Captain America. Again: a reported nine films. Nine!

Now, for Evans -- whether the film succeeds or fails -- the ghost of Steve Rogers will likely be following him for a long, long time. America -- and the super group, The Avengers -- have finally found their Captain. More importantly, Marvel Studios is hoping they've found their flagship star.