One of the best things about the Captain America from the MCU is that he is not always true to the comics. That may sound like blasphemy to some, but it's crucial that the movies differ from the source material. These variances are still aligned with the spirit of Marvel comics; any reader who's stuck with a series for more than a few years knows that everything can be changed at will, everyone isn't who they seem to be and pretty much everybody's either been a zombie or a Skrull at some point.
Film variations from the comics are important because they keep us guessing. What fun would any series be if it simply rehashed what we already know? While we love to see our favorite stories played out on the big screen, we still need some surprises. The challenge writers face is finding a balance between an accurate, worthy portrayal of beloved characters and new, exciting twists for audiences. Fans love to theorize about these twists.
Marvel fan theories are so much fun to play with not only because they can get pretty wild, but because some actually happen, rewarding fans who guessed what was to come. Some theories are so far out there that they belong strictly in the world of fandom to be played with, enjoyed by the few who subscribe to them and never seen in the MCU, but others remain just crazy enough to be possible.
Here are 20 Crazy Captain America Fan Theories That Could Still Be True.
20 Cap Will Wear The Gauntlet
Wearing the Infinity Gauntlet is never a good idea, no matter how many plastic versions have been sold to kids following the release of Avengers: Infinity War. It's a surefire way to corrupt oneself with power, no matter how pure of heart the bearer may be, but given that Cap, Iron Man and Nebula all don the glove of power in the comics, it's a pretty strong possibility.
If any Avenger were to bear it, Captain America is a decent choice.
Despite his venture into HYDRA territory in the comics realm, Cap's MCU image remains untarnished, giving him the incorruptible nature necessary to wield the gauntlet and save the universe. The theory could also help explain how Cap might leave the franchise.
19 Steve will retire because Bucky sacrifices himself
The guilt that Bucky Barnes harbors for his past crimes as the Winter Soldier make it clear that the man is ready to do whatever it takes to redeem his character, even if that means ending his own life in the cause. A popular fan theory involves Bucky sacrificing himself in order to save everyone in the next Avengers film. Specifically, Barnes will sacrifice himself in order to obtain the Soul Stone, trading a soul for a soul and saving the universe in the process.
Since so many fans believe that Cap will be the one to make the sacrifice, this might let Steve off the hook, but cause the most patriotic Avenger enough regret to make him hang up his shield. Either way, it's a pretty viable theory that remain possible for the next Avengers installment.
18 The Punisher Is The Winter Soldier
It's a theory that seems too ridiculous to be true, which makes it completely possible given Marvel's track record. When Nick Fury was hit by a truck in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, director Joe Russo gave some clues about the individual who struck him, remarking that the driver was a "high-skilled" person with a "very specific skill set." Some fans take this to mean that the individual was none other than The Punisher.
The theoris that, after a lifetime of being used for evil, Bucky Barnes became The Punisher, thus connecting MCU films with Netflix shows.
Although it technically could be true, this crazy theory is one of the most far-fetched. It has very little evidence and the truck driver could just as well have been Liam Neeson.
17 Cap Will Be Recast With The Reality Stone
Although fans are ready to lose some of their beloved heroes in the upcoming Avengers 4, many remain in denial. Some theorize that rather than lose a hero, we'll simply lose the actor who plays the hero. The reality stone will shift the hero's appearance and a new actor will be cast to play the role, giving the old one a break from the franchise.
It's a theory that feels like it's grasping at straws, but it also makes enough sense to remain on the table. If we start noticing random new actors being cast in the MCU, particularly alongside beloved hero names, we might just be able to confirm this fan theory.
16 Ant-Man Is Secretly In The Captain America Movies
Some fans think that Ant-Man has been in the Marvel movies much longer than we've seen on the big screen. There's a cool theory going around that Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man who used the suit to battle evil long before Scott Lang, is in all of the MCU films, fighting on a microscopic level that we can't see. While that might seem far-fetched, between the new possibilities exposed by the Quantum Realm and the revelation of Ant-Man working so long ago, why discount it?
There are plenty of moments in Captain America history where a little help could have gone a long way.
Perhaps Pym is the explanation behind those slim chance moments that make us scratch our heads or scoff at their improbability.
15 Cap Is A Skrull
Hasn't everyone been a Skrull now and again in the comics? It's high time we had some skrulls in the MCU and who better to be one than the golden boy himself, Captain America? The exciting new trailer for Captain Marvel points toward the Kree-Skrull war (that or the fact that Carol Danvers hates smiling old people), so that could tie in with this weird fan theory.
In the Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion story arc, we learn that many heroes have been Skrulls posing as good guys for years, so it would make sense to make a couple of our heroes be wolves in sheep's clothing. Everyone loves a stolen identity story and Cap is the least suspicious of the crew, making him the best choice for a Skrull.
14 Cap Will Meet His End
The fan theory that Captain America will shuffle off this mortal coil soon has some credence given Chris Evans' comments about leaving.
Many fans are certain that we'll see the last of Steve Rogers in Avengers 4.
We all hope for the return of many characters in the next movie, but if this happens most fans think Steve Rogers will truly be a goner for good.
The loss of Captain America would be a tragic one, but it would also make the most sense given the direction of the movies. Plus, it's high time a high-profile character bit the dust. The series has become a bit unrealistic with its heroic survival rate. Theories regarding what could happen to Rogers without him buying the farm, from replacements to time travel, but more about those later.
13 Peggy Carter Rebounded With Tony's Dad After Losing Steve
Peggy Carter is the hero we never could get enough of, particularly after the cancellation of Agent Carter. In the program, we witnessed Carter mourn the loss of Steve Rogers and flirt with a few men, most notably Agent Sousa, who adorably pined for her. Many fans wonder if she secretly harbored a thing for Tony Stark's dad, Howard.
It would make sense given the close relationship between the rich inventor and the clever, cunning agent. But what if Peggy were Tony's real mother? It would make Cap's line about not believing Howard Stark got married all the more meaningful, and it would give Tony a pretty strong mother.
12 Cap Will Go Back In Time To Save The Universe
Ant-Man and the Wasp gave us all kinds of possibilities for time travel and the Quantum Realm being used during the fight against Thanos, and what better Avenger to use it than one who actually hails from the past? A fun theory suggests that Captain America will be the Avenger to travel back in time in order to save the universe in the next Avengers movie.
The possibilities for how this will play out are endless, making it more difficult to speculate about what exactly will go down in the next MCU installment, but that's why it's such a delicious theory.
Will we get a peek at the past and what might have been if Captain America never disappeared in the first place?
The theory comes with other implications as well, but more about those later.
11 Stan Lee Is The Watcher
According to some fans, Stan Lee is much more than just a cameo presence in the Captain America films. In fact, he has the same role in every MCU installment if you believe the theory that he's actually Uatu, the alien known as The Watcher, who typically only watches mortal events as they play out but intervenes every once in a while.
Sine Lee appears in cameos in Fox, Sony and Marvel productions, the theory is even more fun. While it's more likely that Lee is just there to honor his contributions-- and entertain fans who like to play Where's Waldo with him in each MCU production-- it's still a cool theory that gives him a little more importance to the plot.
10 HYDRA Created The Avengers
What if HYDRA were the reason we have Avengers in the first place? We know that they not only tried to take Cap out in his films, but that they kept tabs on heroes like Stephen Strange over the years as well. What if it runs deeper than that?
The double-agent Jasper Sitwell pointed toward HYDRA's involvement in the formation of the Avengers in the one-shot "The Consultant."
HYDRA helped Loki set up the Chitauri invasion to lure the Avengers to what they hoped would be certain doom. Given how many different S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were hiding within plain sight as actual agents of HYDRA all along, it's not a huge leap to say that it was HYDRA, and not S.H.I.E.L.D., who set up the Avengers team.
9 Why Cap Couldn't Lift Mjolnir
Here's a fun theory that doesn't change anything plot-wise but makes fans laugh. Why wasn't Steve Rogers worthy of lifting Mjolnir, Thor's mighty hammer? Although Steve isn't a god by any means, he certainly seems worthy enough as far as humans go. He's got the strongest, most steadfast heart in the MCU and outshines every other hero in terms of his goodness and ethics, so what gives?
Some fans believe it's because Cap ignores small rules, like riding his motorcycle without a helmet when it's a law to do so, that he can't life Mjolnir. If this is truly the case, it's both hilarious and ironic given how Thor frequently defies the will of Odin.
8 Steve's End Will Settle Score Between Him And Tony
If Thanos managed to do anything positive in the last year, it was distract Tony and Steve from their bitter feud. Neither has an easy stance regarding Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier who was forced to take Stark's parents' lives. We can't anticipate an easy resolution after the epic showdown that had them both practically crawling in Civil War.
That's why some fans believe that writers will use the loss of Rogers to settle the score between Iron Man and Captain America for good.
The manner in which we lose Cap could right the wrongs made in Tony's eyes, freeing him to make a clean start with Bucky.
While it's pretty messed up to think that Tony could only be appeased by Steve's demise, we can't see the two being anything other than civil with one another again.
7 Mutants Are Hidden Because Of HYDRA
It's a theory that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme, but it does help explain why there are no mutants in Infinity War. In the comics, the X-Men are very much involved in the battle against Thanos, but Fox having the rights to the X-Men franchise had put an unfortunate damper on us ever seeing it on film, and plenty of fans remain bitter about it.
The theory is that if HYDRA took over Germany before a certain someone could and prevented WWII from happening, Magneto might not have ever met up with Charles Xavier, discovered his own powers, and sought revenge on the evil humans who hurt him. It doesn't make mutants disappear completely, but it provides an explanation as to why they remain hidden from public sight in this world without X-Men.
6 Cap Will Live Out His Days In The Past With Peggy Carter
If Captain America should exit the MCU permanently, fans want him to be happy.
He's been the heart and soul of the team and we need to make sure our hero retires in style.
Many fans think that might mean somehow living out his days with his old flame, Peggy Carter. While Carter and Cap never truly got their relationship off the ground in the MCU, they remain a favorite fan pairing, which explains why so many cling to this theory.
If time travel and the Quantum Realm work in the fourth Avengers film-- and many believe it will after its successful execution in Ant-Man and the Wasp-- it stands to reason that anything is possible, including a return to the time period where Cap and Peggy first fell in love.
5 The Next Cap Will Be A Woman
While we have a new captain in town already and Carol Danvers looks quite amazing according to the new trailers, we've also seen a woman version of Captain America in the comics, so many fans have a theory that the same thing will occur in the MCU.
While it didn't happen until this year, Peggy Carter actually became Captain America, fulfilling the desires of many a fan and prompting many of us to imagine what a Hayley Atwell Captain America movie might look like. As Agent Carter was canceled, this could offer Peggy another chance to take the spotlight. Too old for the job? Not in a Marvel timeline, she's not!
4 Captain Marvel Will Replace Captain America As Leader Of The Avengers
This would be an easy update to solve issues like Chris Evans leaving the series, the need for more women in the franchise, and just what to do once Captain Marvel, the most powerful of the team, enters the scene.
Someone like Carol Danvers should be the leader of whatever team she's on, and she's led the Avengers in the comics.
Fans who theorize that Brie Larson will be Chris Evans' replacement probably know that. They also know that if she's the cavalry being called in by Nick Fury, she's going to be someone more powerful than not only Cap but the entire team-- and then some.
3 Doctor Strange Happened Before Captain America: The Winter Soldier
It might seem strange to picture one of the less popular Avengers becoming a superhero before the developments in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but any Marvel fan knows that timelines bounce around so constantly that nothing we ever know for sure is truly certain. Some fans are speculating that Doctor Strange actually predates Winter Soldier.
The theory is based on time: between the lengthy recovery Strange would have required post-accident, his multiple surgeries and time spent scouring the world for help and the training required to even become a competent Sorcerer, at least two years would have passed before he became New York Sanctum proctor. There's also evidence in Winter Soldier itself, where Strange's name is mentioned as a threat to HYDRA, indicating that he's already in place well before the film.
2 Cap Is Already A Goner
Did Cap already move on to that apple pie in the sky without us even realizing it?
A popular fan theory claims that Rogers won't kick the bucket in the fourth film because he's already done it right in front of our eyes.
Some fans think that Cap's final appearance in Avengers: Infinity War was truly his final scene alive in the MCU given how hard Thanos punched him. Super serum or none, withstanding a punch from Thanos like that seems improbable, especially to the head. There's a chance that it took Steve out for good.
The only thing that really makes this theory hard to believe is that Marvel would allow such a terrible send-off for its golden boy. Cap deserves a better goodbye, but will he receive one?
1 Bucky Will Become Captain America
It's one of the oldest fan theories going around, but it's still possible. Chris Evans has confirmed that he's leaving the Marvel franchise following the next Avengers film, which means one of two things: we'll no longer have a Captain America or someone else will take up the mantle.
Although the Winter Soldier's involvement in the execution of Tony Stark's parents complicates things, in the comic Rogers asked Stark to "look after" Barnes for him, prompting Tony to offer the role to Bucky. Bucky accepts with the condition that none of his commands be issued subliminally, guaranteeing the former Winter Soldier full autonomy. Whether or not this will make the MCU remains to be seen, but there's no evidence to rule it out.
What's your favorite fan theory about Captain America? Let us know in the comments!