Amid rumors of his MCU return, Chris Evans insists Anthony Mackie is Captain America

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Two men speaking into microphones and raising a hand into the air
Anthony Mackie, left, and Chris Evans attend a 2016 screening of "Captain America: Civil War" in Singapore. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)

No, Chris Evans will not make his return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in "Captain America 4" — at least not as the titular superhero.

After the Hollywood Reporter recently speculated as to whether Evans' Steve Rogers or Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson would wield Captain America's patriotic shield in the next installment, Evans set the record straight on social media.

"Sam Wilson is Captain America," he confirmed Saturday in a tweet that has amassed more than 174,000 likes.

While reporting earlier this week that Nigerian American filmmaker Julius Onah (of "Luce" and "The Cloverfield Paradox") has been tapped to direct the fourth film in the "Captain America" franchise, THR suggested that Evans might come back for Part 4 and that "all bets are off" when it comes to "who is entitled to carry the shield."

Evidently not, according to Evans, who originated the character in the MCU before Mackie took up the mantle for the Disney+ series "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." Mackie previously starred opposite Evans' Captain America as Falcon in other MCU films.

In March 2018, Evans told the New York Times he did not intend to reprise his role in the MCU after portraying Steve Rogers in "Avengers: Endgame." Upon wrapping production on the fourth "Avengers" movie, an emotional Evans tweeted, "Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor.”

While speaking with the Los Angeles Times last year for an Envelope roundtable interview, Mackie reflected on the significance of and public response to Sam Wilson becoming Captain America.

"The reactions have been amazing," Mackie said. "It's been the same reactions when little girls watch 'Wonder Woman' or when you're watching 'Black Panther,' and there's an army of Black women. ... The idea of representation, the idea of recontextualizing what you think the norm is, is always important. ...

"The reactions have been from kids of all races, from male and female and in between ... We think it's an awful world that we live in and people are s—, but don't let the 1% mess it up for the 99% of good people out there. ... That's what I've come to realize. I haven't had any negative feedback or response — just a lot of people picking up my tab at restaurants."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.