When Chris Evans said his emotional goodbye to the MCU after wrapping up work on Avengers: Endgame, many people assumed Captain America would die in the film. Evans then had to clarify his comments, just as Marvel execs made it clear that the farewell had nothing to do with Steve Rogers’ fate in the film. Then Endgame hit theaters, and we all learned what really happens to Cap in the end.

We explained at the time that Endgame gives Cap’s arc a beautiful finale, although some fans had trouble reconciling what happened with Steve when he went back to Peggy. Marvel confirmed time and again that Cap lived his life with the love of his life in a different timeline, before returning to his original version of Earth with a new shield to pass on to the new Captain America. But would Evans ever want to reprise his iconic MCU role? The actor appeared to be open to the idea, but if it would ever happen, it’d have to respect what happened to his character in Endgame.

Talking to fellow Avenger Scarlett Johansson for Variety Studio: Actors on Actors, Evans addressed her question about his potential return to the MCU.

“[Come back] to Marvel?” Evans said. “Wow. Everything clicks when I get up. Recovery is not the same. You never say never. I love the character. I don’t know.”

Johansson pointed out that Evans’ isn’t a “hard no,” but the actor said it’s not “an eager yes either.”

“There are other things that I’m working on right now,” he said. “I think Cap had such a tricky act to stick the landing, and I think they did a really nice job letting him complete his journey. If you’re going to revisit it, it can’t be a cash grab. It can’t be just because the audience wants to be excited. What are we revealing? What are we adding to the story? A lot of things would have to come together.

“I wasn’t there for the last third of the film or whatever,” said Johansson (Black Widow is the first to die). “I actually had no idea what was going to happen. I don’t know how it worked, exactly, if it was scripted. It was such a beautiful cathartic ending, and I loved that for Steve. I think he deserved that. It was all his happiness.”

That’s when Evans pointed out that “it’d be a shame to sour that” ending for Cap.

“I’m very protective of it,” he said. “It was such a precious time, and jumping onto the movie was a terrifying prospect to me. I said no a bunch of times, and there’s a million and one ways it could have gone wrong. It almost feels like maybe we should let this one sit.”

Some fans of the MCU have theorized that Marvel could always make a film showing how Steve lived his life in that alternate timeline, the one where he got to marry Peggy, have kids, and witness everything that happened in the world since World War II up to the point where that timeline’s Cap is found in the ice. That’s the kind of movie that could be made while preserving Steve’s arc as it concluded in Endgame.

Others theorized that Stark’s time-traveling tech that can be used to push people through time and time through people could be used to rejuvenate Cap. The early experiments with Ant-Man in the movie proved it’s possible. However, actually doing this in a future MCU film would definitely ruin part of Endgame’s finale. What makes Endgame so special is the fact that the stakes are more real than ever. It’s not a movie where all the good guys survive after defeating a cosmic threat. Heroes actually die, and the audience has to cope with that.

Johansson, meanwhile, has one more MCU film in the works — Black Widow, which will be the origin story the actress deserves. The full Johansson-Evans chat is available, with video, over on Variety.com.