Captain America's future in the MCU is very different after Avengers: Endgame. Between what happens to Steve Rogers and where his circular shield ends up, the persona of Captain America undergoes a dramatic shift in Chris Evans' final MCU film. After almost a decade of being the leader of the Avengers, Rogers moves on from his role as the true blue American hero, passing the baton to his worthy successor, Sam Wilson aka Falcon. It's a big change, and one that comes with great emotional heft after all this time.
Though it was widely accepted Avengers: Endgame would be Chris Evans' last film as Captain America, that still doesn't make it any easier to accept that he's actually finished with the role. Over the course of the franchise, Evans' Steve Rogers became as much a blockbuster presence as Robery Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, the pair being the leading faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But all good things must come to an end, and in the wake of Evans leaving the shield behind comes a new Captain America; one that's familiar but hasn't had as much time to shine, and who'll no doubt do the enormous legacy proud with his upcoming series on Disney+. Here's everything we know about the new Captain America.
Falcon Is The New Captain America In The MCU
In the final scenes of Avengers: Endgame, an elderly Steve Rogers hands Sam his vibranium shield, effectively inaugurating him as the new Captain America. Wilson had become one of Steve's strongest team-mates since their meeting at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, having served as one of Steve's New Avengers post-Avengers: Age of Ultron and working with him on the run after Captain America: Civil War. He's also the first person Steve Rogers hears after the snap victims are returned.
Both Sam and Bucky Barnes are present in this last moment with Steve, but it's Sam that approaches at Bucky's encouragement. The popular belief among fans was that Bucky would be the one to carry on in Steve's footsteps, being the longtime best friend and having taken the shield after Steve's death in the comics, this isn't without precedent. In 2014, Sam Wilson became Captain America in the comics following Steve rapidly aging to a state similar to how he looks at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The title returned to Rogers in 2018, but Falcon certainly left an impact as Captain America - which we can expect to see in the MCU's future.
Steve Rogers Lived His Life With Peggy Carter
Just previously to giving Falcon the Captain America shield, Steve Rogers had traveled through time to put back the Infinity Stones the Avengers had taken to reverse the snap. While making his way across time and space, he decided to visit Peggy Carter and build the life with her they never could previously. Sam spots the conspicuous wedding ring on Steve's finger and asks about who the woman is, but Steve declines to comment as we cut to a regular suburban street several decades prior, where he and Peggy are finally sharing that dance.
It's a poetic, ideal ending for the Captain America that we've grown to know and love, and one that fans were hoping for. The noble soldier who sacrificed everything for his country – and his reality – who finally got to live a normal life. Until now. it didn't seem possible or plausible the couple could end up together, impossibly separated by time. Steve was never quite able to move on, for one reason or another, even though Peggy did, and it was a tragic situation for both. Avengers: Endgame's time travel opened the option, reiterated in Steve and Tony's excursion to 1970 New Jersey when Steve spotted Carter through an office window. It was now possible, if he wanted it, and once Thanos was defeated, he took his chance, having well and truly earned it.
Bucky Isn't Captain America (Unlike The Comics)
Bucky wasn't just believed to be next in line to become Captain America because of the camaraderie shared between he and Steve. In the Death of Captain America epilogue to the comics version of Civil War, Tony Stark receives a letter from Steve requesting that the Captain America title be passed on in his demise. Stark nominates that Bucky should be the new Cap – in part to dissuade Bucky from killing him in anger at Steve's assassination - and a secret arrangement is made that allows Barnes act with autonomy, against the rules of the Superhero Registration Act (the comics version of the Sokovia Accords).
What's happened in the MCU is considerably different. Nobody dies at the end of Captain America: Civil War aside from the cryogenically frozen winter soldiers, instead Bucky is moved to Wakanda for safe-keeping, away from anyone who might be aware of how to trigger his brainwashing, and Steve becomes Nomad. Since then, their stories have diverged – Steve, Black Widow and Falcon became a renegade Secret Avengers and Barnes paid his keep in Wakanda through agricultural labour, being dubbed White Wolf by the Wakandan people.
Although there'd be no complaints if Bucky was the one given the shield instead of Wilson, who as mentioned more recently became Captain America in a comics run, his character in the MCU doesn't necessitate it as much. He has a home and a safe support structure in Wakanda, and doesn't seem all that keen to jump back into action, especially not when people who know what he really is could be waiting in the shadows. Falcon, on the other hand, never stopped serving at Steve's side, and seems more than ready to keep fighting the forces of evil as an Avenger.
Captain America's Story Continues In The Falcon & Winter Soldier Disney+ Series
Sam taking over from Steve gives a new level of importance to the upcoming Disney+ series, Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are reprising their roles, but other than that details are limited. Sam literally carrying the iconic circular shield into the show makes it a much more intriguing prospect as not only is there the fun buddy cop aspect of Bucky and Sam battling villains together, there's the reverberation of a new Captain America in town.
How will everyone else react to Falcon as the new Captain America? Will they respect him? What will the prominent position reveal about Wilson's personality? There's so much to consider on a character and narrative level that this Disney+ show just went from a neat novelty to integral to whatever's next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although it's not going to be the same without Steve Rogers' particular stoicism, different doesn't mean bad, and with Sam Wilson, we can be sure Captain America is in good hands.
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