We’ve got a new Cap in a position of power.
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The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has had a massive shakeup with regards to its roster of superheroes of late — with the end of the Infinity Saga and the seeming eradication of Thanos (Josh Brolin) as a threat to the universe, Phase Three’s epic ending in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) established that the old crop of Avengers, established in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012) was finally on their way out.
In fact, Endgame made it very clear that two Marvel heavyweights were no longer returning to the MCU — Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man/Tony Stark with his ultimate sacrifice, and Chris Evans’ Captain America/Steve Rogers passing on the Cap shield and entering a well-earned retirement. In the process of Steve Rogers finding his retirement, there was also the matter of finding a new Captain America to take on the mantle. He found his successor in good friend Sam Wilson/Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, who received the iconic Vibranium shield from the now elderly hero.
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Subsequently, Mackie’s Sam Wilson went on his own hero’s journey in Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) — alongside Steve Rogers’ 1940s World War II Army pal, Bucky Barnes AKA the Winter Soldier, himself a Super Soldier experimented on by the nefarious folks at HYDRA and mentally conditioned to become their ultimate assassin. It was made very clear early on that Sam Wilson is one of the few Marvel Studios heroes, bar perhaps Iron Man himself, who is “merely man” — as in, he was never bitten by a radioactive spider, was never born part-god, nor did he come from another dimension. All Sam Wilson has are some snazzy mechanical wings he acquired from the United States military — and now, that Vibranium star-spangled shield — which will surely come in handy come Captain America: New World Order (2024).
The fourth Captain America movie will deal with Sam Wilson, the first official Black Captain America in the MCU dealing with presumably, a “New World Order”, that Marvel fans believe to be tied to the Vibranium-centric international disputes introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), and even the Eternals’ (2021) “Tiamut Island”. Don Cheadle (War Machine/James Rhodes AKA Rhodey), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), Emily VanCamp (Power Broker/Sharon Carter), and Wyatt Russell (US Agent/John Walker) will return. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford is also set to star as Thaddeus Ross/Thunderbolt Ross, likely as the villain Red Hulk, replacing the late William Hurt in the role.
It’s natural therefore, that the man behind the new Cap, Anthony Mackie, might have some doubts about going up against such evildoers as Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet — except now it’s ramping up to be an Avengers-level threat in the Multiverse, with Jonathan Majors’ (terrifying) Kang the Conqueror and his multitude of variant selves. Now that Robert Downey Jr. is allegedly “off the table” according to Marvel themselves, a new Avengers leader will need to step up to the plate.
Speaking to Empire Magazine, The Direct shares Mackie’s hesitation to lead the Avengers into the Multiverse Saga — and potentially beyond, into the Phase Seven that’s already being planned by Kevin Feige. When asked about the Avengers’ return in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, and whether he was ready to lead that new Avengers team, Mackie made very clear that “Sam is the only character without superpowers”, and that he’s “just a regular dude hanging out with a bunch of weirdos”.
Mackie continues, explaining his perspective for doubting Sam Wilson’s abilities as a superpower-less hero, and possible Avengers leader:
Being from New Orleans, I’ve been in a few fights. And heart and charisma never helped me in a fight. That usually just got me beat up. So that might cause an issue when you go fight somebody like Thanos.
Previously, Feige himself has already stated his plans — that the “street-level” team of heroes will be led by Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil. If Mackie’s Sam Wilson as Captain America is to have a leadership position, however, it would stand to reason that his role would remain with the street-level team of Marvel heroes, which has been rumored to solidify in the fourth Captain America film. If Marvel Studios truly intends for Sam Wilson to have a similarly vital leadership position as Steve Rogers’ Cap, it’s not out of the question for Sam Wilson to take over as the main commander of the Avengers come the Multiversal War against the Council of Kangs. Looks like we’ll have to see come 2024’s Captain America: New World Order, starring the main man himself.
However if there’s one thing that many (and maybe even Mackie himself) might be forgetting — is that arguably the most beloved Avenger was never a superpowered individual. Perhaps like Tony Stark, heart and charisma is really all you need.
What do you think about Sam Wilson, the new Captain America, leading the Avengers? Share your thoughts in the comments below!