Are Captain America’s Powers Linked To Black Panther And Wakanda?

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Across the decades-spanning saga of the MCU, mankind has tried time and time again to create home-grown superheroes, and with generally mixed results. While super soldier Captain America and the similarly juiced up Black Panther serve as two examples of attempts that ended in unqualified success, not every aspiring fighter has proven so lucky.

Enter this new fan theory, which attempts to explain why Steve Rogers and T’Challa’s respective enhancements didn’t yield such unfortunate side effects as the deformation of Red Skull and the insanity of Abomination. According to Reddit user 4DimensionalToilet, the secret lies in the heart-shaped herb of Wakanda.

The case for this theory begins prior to the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, when Dr. Abraham Erskine is forced to try out his Super Soldier Serum on Johann Schmidt, with the latter suffering permanent side-effects as a result. After a relatively short span of time, the same sort of procedure goes off without a hitch with Steve Rogers. So what’s changed?

According to the theory, a valuable player in this success was Howard Stark, who was also responsible for providing Cap with his Vibranium shield. It’s speculated that on the same trip to Africa that Stark acquired this precious metal, he also managed to get his hands on some of the heart-shaped herb that gives the Black Panther his superhuman abilities. The Redditor concludes that the herb was the missing ingredient for messier attempts at super soldiers, such as Red Skull, Abomination, and even the Hulk.

Overall, this seems like a well-reasoned, if highly speculative theory that suggests one way in which the largely isolated Wakanda and the corresponding Black Panther saga may be a little more connected to the rest of the MCU than we first thought. And with Wakanda potentially playing a prominent part in next year’s Avengers 4, you could argue that things are about to go full circle for Captain America and his superhuman abilities before he seemingly bows out of the franchise.

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