Falcon and Bucky can both be the MCU's next Captain America. Chris Evans has become the perfect embodiment of Steve Rogers aka Captain America over the last eight years, but after a long run, the actor ready to hang up the shield after Avengers 4. This will leave the MCU with - potentially - a major decision to make: who should be the next Captain America?
The two most obvious candidates are Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and James 'Bucky' Barnes aka Winter Soldier/White Wolf (Sebastian Stan). This is not only thanks to the comic precedence for both taking on the mantle, but also because of how both are positioned in the current MCU. Each has been teased on more than one occasion as potential replacements (although more evidence may point to Falcon being the choice). However, that was before a recent announcement may have paved the way for Marvel to properly explore both options.
It was recently reported that a Falcon-Winter Soldier team-up series is in development for Disney's streaming service. Written by Empire's Malcolm Spellman series will feature the return of Mackie and Stan as Steve's best-friends-turned-superheroes. And, although it isn't confirmed, a team-up between these two characters really only makes sense in a post-Avengers 4 world; it would fit speculation that Steve has either died or retired, while Falcon and Bucky both are rescued/brought back to life. Excitingly, teaming up Falcon and Bucky for an extended amount of time not only gives Marvel the chance to grow the fun dynamic they've already proven to be on the big screen, but also can be each character's audition to become the next Captain America.
It's currently unclear what the Falcon/Winter Soldier series' actual plot will be, but given all the evidence it will surely address the vibranium rhino in the room. Sending Falcon and Bucky off on missions would seem to be a logical premise, with each taking point - and thus the Captain America mantle - on different ones. This would give both candidates a chance to shine and Marvel Studios the opportunity to establish whoever is going to be the next Star-Spangled Avenger long-term.
This has a lot of advantages. Casual movie audiences will likely accept either hero wearing the red, white, and blue in their next big screen appearance after Avengers 4, although MCU canon junkies would probably want to know more about the decision. And while a Captain America 4 with either Falcon or Bucky starring is likely, a two-hour film isn't necessarily the way to detail how the new hero came to be. It'd be much better for the next solo film to start with the new Cap already established and a TV series to do the heavy lifting. The streaming show can use the character-driven medium to establish the new hero while stopping the next film from being weighed down by large amounts of set up, exposition, or flashbacks.
If the Bucky/Falcon series does deal with the naming of the next Captain America, then it will be the start of a bigger and brighter future for one of these characters, while also giving whoever misses out hours of development that they otherwise wouldn't have received in the movies. Only one person can be the new Captain America after all, but exploring the changing of the guard in a limited series would be the best move for the characters and the MCU as a whole.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019