Chris Evans’ casting as Captain America in the MCU was influenced by Robert Downey Jr. Since their debut appearance together in 2012’s The Avengers, the two actors have been fantastic co-stars. In Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame, which also marked the end of Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Downey Jr. and Evans both finished their respective franchise arcs at the same moment.

Downey’s casting as Iron Man in the MCU has gotten a lot of attention. Studio bosses were understandably hesitant to hire him to launch Marvel Studios and its projected franchise. Thankfully, Iron Man director Jon Favreau lobbied tirelessly for him to be cast as Tony Stark. When the movie was released, it was evident that he was destined to play the superhero. Downey became a prominent figure in the MCU with the great success of the first Iron Man film, and his contribution extended beyond his on-screen appearances. He was also said to have played a role in bringing in the guy who is perhaps his best on-screen companion in the Marvel universe.

Producers Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard were keen to cast Sebastian Stan as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, according to The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via CBR). Producer Joel Silver, on the other hand, was sure that Evans was the proper man for the position and was fairly loud about it. Silver had apparently already called the actor at that point. Evans had also contacted Downey about the part, and the subterfuge worked in the end. Evans was finally persuaded to audition for Captain America thanks to Downey. According to Evans, the multi-film agreement terrified him at first, but after some persuasion, he eventually got over it.

Marvel Studios had to woo Evans numerous times before he agreed to join Captain America: The First Avenger. While they were deciding on Stan, they also looked at several actors for the part, including John Krasinski, Wilson Bethel from Daredevil Season 3, and Wyatt Russell from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Apart from the personal contacts from Silver and Downey, Evans’ mother also encouraged her son to take on the role of Captain America, noting Marvel Studios’ relentless recruiting efforts. Finally, given his less-than-ideal experience as Johnny Storm in Fox’s Fantastic Four movie in the mid-2000s, it’s difficult to blame the actor for declining the role of Steve Rogers.

Fortunately, everything turned out OK. Despite his initial reluctance, Evans has been clear about how much he cherished his time in the MCU. Captain America was a crucial aspect of the franchise’s popularity, thanks in large part to Evans’ portrayal of the iconic character. Furthermore, his chemistry and friendship with Downey made their work as Avengers co-leaders on screen a lot simpler.