Marvel Remembers Forgotten MCU Villain, Throws Him Into ‘Captain America 4’

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Old Steve Rogers (left) looking at Sam Wilson (right) holding the Captain America shield

Credit: Marvel Studios

After 14 years, Marvel will help a forgotten MCU villain return to the Spotlight to fight Anthony Mackie’s Captain America.

Anthony Mackie as Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Captain America: New World Order (2024) received an exciting update at D23 this year. While Kevin Feige was giving fans small updates on future MCU projects, fans learned that Tim Blake Nelson’s Dr. Samuel Sterns would return to the MCU as The Leader, a villain teased in The Incredible Hulk (2008) but never seen again.

Tim Blake was onstage and confirmed his excitement to play the role, but Marvel fans might be confused seeing The Leader as the antagonist for Captain America 4. Falcon and the Winter Soldier teased several villains for Captain America to fight, but Marvel might save those villains for other projects like Thunderbolts (2024).

Howard Stern turning into The Leader
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The Leader was last seen in the MCU injecting himself with Banner’s blood, transforming him into the villain he is today. Due to rights issues with Universal Studios, Marvel might not have had a choice with The Leader, as they reportedly get the rights back for the Hulk in 2023.

This means that Marvel had to wait years and not use the villain purposely, but one source explains that Marvel did explain where the villain has been all these years. Since The Incredible Hulk (2008) was part of Nick Fury’s Bad Week, Marvel confirmed that Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow subdued The Leader and had the villain in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody.

The Leader in prison
Credit: Marvel Comics

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In case you don’t know much about The Leader, here’s a brief description of the villain:

Samuel Sterns aka the Leader was a simple American worker in a chemical plant in a menial capacity until an accident working with radioactive material bombarded him with gamma radiation, turning his skin green and making his head grow. The radiation increased his intelligence to genius-level along with his ego and ambition to match. This led him into conflict with the Hulk becoming his self-proclaimed arch-enemy.

Nick Fury and Captain America talking about S.H.I.E.L.D.
Credit: Marvel Studios

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After HYDRA destroys S.H.I.E.L.D., the villain may have escaped and been hiding in the shadows for a long time. If this is the case, many fans will wonder why The Leader will come out of hiding now instead of later. For Captain America to fight one of Hulk’s villains is a strange idea, but that doesn’t mean the movie will be terrible.

If anything, fans will learn more about the villain soon and perhaps get a better idea of how he will be used in Captain America 4 because it doesn’t make sense for The Leader to be on Cap’s radar.

Captain America Sam Wilson
Credit: Disney

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Captain America: New World Order releases in theaters on May 3, 2024.

Phase Five is just around the corner, with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releasing in theaters on February 17, 2023. Kang the Conqueror will take the spotlight as the MCU delves deep into the Multiverse Saga. Phase Five already has a solid roadmap, including Charlie Cox’s return as Daredevil, Blade, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, with the Phase ending with The Thunderbolts on July 26, 2024.

(Left) Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon (Right) Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/ Captain America in Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier Running Scene On Your Left
Credit: Marvel Studios

Do you think The Leader is a good villain for Captain America? Let us know what you think!

Phase Six is still a mystery for fans with several untitled projects, but it will start with the Fantastic Four movie on November 8, 2024. After that, Kevin Feige announced Phase Six would end with two Avengers movies — Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, which could beat Avengers: Endgame as the biggest MCU movie.

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