Is Marvel Axing This Israeli Superhero From ‘Captain America: Brave New World?’

in Entertainment, Marvel

Anthony Mackie as MCU's Captain America marvel

Credit: Marvel Studios

Anyone who’s followed Marvel Studios over the years knows that the entertainment giant is certainly no stranger to controversy. However, given the current state of the world, the MCU could be preparing to face their most intense backlash yet, thanks to a character who’s set to make her franchise debut in Captain America: Brave New World (2025).

Anthony Mackie as Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Since its inception, it’s been a rocky road for the Anthony Mackie-fronted Captain America reboot, which will see Sam Wilson taking the reins from Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) “Star Spangled Man” with a plan for a new political action-adventure flick, helmed by Julius Onah.

For one, Sam’s (AKA The Falcon) journey in the Disney+ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier show was met with lackluster reviews, despite him and the series’ other lead, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes, being unquestionable fan-favorite MCU characters. Although Sam picking up the Cap shield and adopting his new superhero moniker wasn’t an entirely unpopular — or unexpected — direction, its forgettable villain and contained, low-stakes story weren’t enough to garner much post-Infinity Saga excitement.

A couple of people that are standing together in uniform
Credit: Marvel Studios

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There’s also the matter of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which put all Hollywood productions on pause for over four months. While Captain America: Brave New World was able to complete principal photography before the strike kicked off in July, the studio is now rushing to begin reshoots, with actors returning to work after reaching a deal with the AMPTP.

Additionally, the film, originally titled Captain America: New World Order, abruptly changed its name to Captain America: Brave New World earlier this year after an unexpected controversy. You see, New World Order received backlash for sounding eerily similar to a real-world antisemitic conspiracy theory, which was certainly enough to justify a change on Disney and Marvel’s end.

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

Now, Captain America: Brave New World has been delayed by over a year due to the strikes, with Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 3 (2024) taking its May release window. Despite being nearly complete, the action-adventure flick is being moved to February 14, 2025, meaning fans eager to see Sam Wilson’s first outing as Cap will have to wait an unusually long time to see his big-screen debut.

And with the current state of the MCU seeming particularly grim following the abysmal opening weekend performance of The Marvels (2023), on top of a string of box office bombs and less-than-impressive Disney+ entries like Secret Invasionit sounds like Captain America: Brave New World isn’t faring much better behind the scenes.

Anthony Mackie as MCU's Falcon
Credit: Marvel Studios

On top of confirming Disney’s post-strike schedule reshuffling, a new report from reliable Marvel scooper @CanWeGetToast on X claimed that the latest Captain America adventure did not go over particularly well in test screenings. Apparently, three key sequences have been cut, and reshoots are set to begin after the new year. This could explain why the film was delayed for so long, with the studio appearing confident in the Deadpool threequel enough to push it forward:

‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD’ has been pushed to Feb 14, 2025.

Marvel is allegedly planning up to 6 months of reshoots with multiple sequences being cut or reworked.

Reshoots are, in most cases, the norm for major studio tentpoles. However, after Disney confirmed that Captain America: Brave New World would be pushed back until 2025, online rumblings led some to speculate that Marvel might be making some significant changes to the story, or more specifically, a specific character’s role instead.

During last year’s D23 presentation, Marvel raised eyebrows when they announced that actress Shira Haas had been cast as Israeli superhero Sabra in the upcoming movie. Haas rose to critical acclaim thanks to her roles in projects such as Netflix’s Unorthodox and Shtisel, mainly staying in the TV realm aside from films like Broken Mirrors (2018) and The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017).

But it wasn’t the actress that had some fans scratching their heads, but rather, the character of Sabra. The character, who was introduced in Marvel comics in the 1980s, first appeared in Incredible Hulk #250 in a cameo before making a full appearance in Incredible Hulk #256.

Sabra fighting an enemy in Marvel comics
Credit: Marvel

Sabra has flown under the radar over the years, but the character isn’t without her controversies. For one, her name has stirred up a lot of ill feelings among readers, as it calls to mind the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982, which left hundreds of Muslim men, women, and children dead. However, it’s important to note that Marvel introduced Sabra before these events and that the name is a slang term for a native-born Israeli Jew. Even so, it understandably serves as a grim reminder for many, speaking to a decades-long conflict that has rocked the region, made only worse by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Sabra was originally envisioned as an Israeli counterpart of Captain America, and in early editions, the openly Jewish superhero wore a white bodysuit embellished with a blue star of David. Throughout her comic book runs, Sabra is depicted as holding negative views toward Arabic characters. Although her motivations are somewhat less nationalistic in more recent storylines, with Sabra supposedly disliking Palestinians because her son was killed in a terrorist attack, her commitment to the Israeli government doesn’t waver.

Sabra flying in Marvel comics
Credit: Marvel

Captain America: Brave New World could see filmmakers fleshing her out into a more complex character that doesn’t rely on stereotypes and could be an opportunity to add a nuanced hero to the expanding universe. Still, with current events weighing heavily on public conscience, some have wondered if these Captain America reshoots will see Marvel altering Sabra’s origin for the story, potentially even erasing her from the plot altogether to avoid any backlash. So, is there any legitimacy to these rumors?

Well, according to @CanWeGetToast and other reliable MCU insiders, no. Shortly after sharing news of Marvel’s plans to tweak parts of Captain America: Brave New World, the scooper made sure to clarify that “neither Palestine nor Israel is mentioned” in the film and that the reshoots have “nothing to do” with Sabra:

To be clear, neither Palestine nor Israel is mentioned in ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD’.

Sabra works for the CIA and the reshoots have nothing to do with her.

So, there we have it. Speculation about Sabra being cut from the movie seems to be based on nothing but baseless rumors. If internet chatter is anything to go by, the fourth Captain America movie will have much of the same political-thriller aesthetics of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and will see Sam grappling with what it means to fully step into his role as the new Sentinel of Liberty.

We’ve seen quite a few set photos do the rounds online throughout its time shooting in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., teasing the introduction of the villainous group known as the Serpent Society and the return of Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez) as the MCU’s new Falcon.

Danny Ramirez as Joaquin Torres AKA Falcon in Marvel's Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

For now, specific plot details are still under wraps, but hopefully, we’ll begin to learn a little bit more about Sabra’s importance to the story in the coming months. With tensions at an all-time high due to the Israel-Hamas War, it seems like Disney and Marvel are bound to face some level of backlash when the introduce Sabra to the MCU, and hopefully, filmmakers can showcase a more three-dimensional, less-controversial version of the character to separate her from her comic book counterpart.

As for Captain America: Brave New World, we can only hope that test screenings weren’t as disastrous as early viewers claimed, considering the movie will be monumental in setting up the remainder of the MCU’s Phase Five and into Phase Six. Plus, the studio is in dire need of a win following their, frankly, depressing streak of box office flops, and Sam Wilson certainly deserves his time to shine as the new Cap.

All will be revealed when Captain America: Brave New World arrives in theaters on February 14, 2025.

What do you think of the fourth Captain America installment undergoing extensive reshoots? Will the film fall flat, or could it succeed in saving the MCU from impending doom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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