Josh Keaton Takes Over Captain America Role Just Nine Months Before New Movie

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A split image featuring Anthony Mackie's Captain America in a blue and silver costume on the left, likely from a new movie, and a portrait of Josh Keaton smiling on the right.

Credit: Marvel Studios (L) / Josh Keaton Instagram (R)

Veteran actor Josh Keaton has stepped into the role of Captain America once again, portraying the patriotic Avenger just nine months before the release of Captain America: Brave New World (2025)–the fourth movie in the Captain America series within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Anthony Mackie looks at the Captain America shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Captain America and the MCU

While Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man may have been the first Avenger audiences saw, it was Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, that is officially dubbed as the first.

Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) saw Evans return to the world of Marvel Comics-inspired media (the actor played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in Fox’s 2005 version of Fantastic Four), setting in motion an eight-year journey to becoming one of the most beloved comic book movie characters of all time.

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Due to his relevance in Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, the end to Steve Rogers’ story was emotional, with the character handing over his shield and mantle to his friend and fellow Avenger, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).

Two years later, in 2021, Anthony Mackie would step into his role as the universe’s new Captain America, rescinding his Falcon persona in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

Anthony Mackie looking down at the Captain America Shield as an old Chris Evans looks on
Credit: Marvel Studios

Starring fellow MCU veteran Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier) and introducing Wyatt Russell as another iteration of Captain America called John Walker, Malcolm Spellman and Kari Skogland’s miniseries was the second canon television show from Marvel Studios.

Audiences have a longstanding history with Chris Evans’ Captain America, which is why the response to rumors about his imminent return to the MCU has been celebrated with gusto. Recently, reports surfaced that Evans would appear in this summer’s Deadpool & Wolverine (2024), just not as Steve Rogers.

Chris Evans as the Human Torch
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Shawn Levy’s Deadpool & Wolverine is expected to feature immense numbers of cameos as Ryan Reynolds steps into the MCU as Wade Wilson–the titular Deadpool, or Marvel Jesus, depending on who you ask–to change the cinematic universe forever. Evans is rumored to appear as his former Marvel character, Johnny Storm, from Fantastic Four.

Another report, from scooper My Time to Shine on X (formerly Twitter), claims that Evans will don the red-white-and-blue garb once again in Avengers: Secret Wars (2027), the movie that will end Phase Six and the Multiverse Saga as a whole.

Chris Evans as Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

There’s no real weight to this yet, but as Marvel Studios aims to course-correct its unsteady franchise, bringing back old favorites may be a way to secure butts on seats at the movie theaters. Even Robert Downey Jr. has addressed a potential return to the MCU.

But Captain America’s latest appearance was neither Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, or Wyatt Russell. No, the most recent portrayal of Cap was another returning MCU actor, Josh Keaton.

A split image featuring Anthony Mackie's Captain America in a blue and silver costume on the left, likely from a new movie, and a portrait of Josh Keaton smiling on the right.
Credit: Marvel Studios (L) / Josh Keaton Instagram (R)

Josh Keaton’s Captain America Take Over

Josh Keaton is a veteran voice actor, starring in projects like Tales of the Jedi, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Pokémon Concierge, and Invincible. Keaton has been part of many Marvel animated projects, voicing characters across the Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy universes.

In 2021, Keaton played Captain America in the canon MCU TV show What If…? Here, the voice actor replaced Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, appearing in a timeline that asked what would happen if Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) took the super soldier serum instead of Rogers.

Steve Rogers in the HYDRA Stomper in 'What If...?'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Reportedly Resurrecting Dead Hero, Fans React

It wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise that Evans did not reprise his beloved role, considering his exit two years previous in Avengers: Endgame (2019). However, the inclusion of so much live-action talent still made his absence notable.

Now, Keaton’s Captain America has once again stepped into the action, except this time in Beau DeMayo’s X-Men ’97. The latest show from Marvel Studios follows the X-Men after the events of the original X-Men: The Animated Series that ran from 1992 to 1997.

The X-Men ready for basketball in X-Men '97
Credit: Marvel Studios

DeMayo has since parted ways with Marvel under relatively unknown circumstances, but nevertheless, his show has been critically acclaimed and popular with audiences. Another two seasons are on the way.

Keaton appeared as Steve Rogers in the recent episode, “Bright Eyes,” marking his continued presence as Captain America in this current Marvel era. Keaton took over from Lawrence Bayne, who voiced Captain America in the original animated series in the 90s. He returned as Cap in last year’s What If…? Season 2.

Steve Rogers in What If...?
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Actress Walks Away From ‘Captain Marvel’ Leaving MCU Future Shattered, Addresses Exit

As the Multiverse continues to become even more interweaved thanks to the orchestrations of Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief in Loki Season 2, it will be interesting to see if Marvel ever introduces Josh Keaton as Captain America into the live-action universe.

Anthony Mackie, though, will make his big-screen debut as Captain America in just nine months. Julius Onah’s Captain America: Brave New World is slated to be released on February 14, 2025, and will be the penultimate entry in the current Phase Five.

Anthony Mackie as MCU's Captain America marvel
Credit: Marvel Studios

While Mackie is back, Sebastian Stan is not and will not star as the beloved Bucky Barnes in this fourth Captain America movie. He will, however, appear in Thunderbolts* (2025) as a member of the titular group alongside the likes of David Harbour (Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian) and Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova).

Captain America: Brave New World will also be where Star Wars and Indiana Jones legend Harrison Ford makes his MCU debut as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, replacing the late William Hurt in the role. Liv Tyler, Carl Lumbly, Tim Blake Nelson, and Danny Ramirez all co-star in the upcoming Marvel film as Betty Ross, Isaiah Bradley, Samuel Sterns/Leader, and Joaquin Torres/Falcon, respectively.

Did you notice the MCU’s fourth Captain America actor in X-Men ’97? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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