The upcoming Disney Plus series from Marvel Studios, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, was the talk of D23 last night, and while the crowds were certainly excited for the upcoming show, there was one question that kept popping up: who will be the next Captain America?
It’s one of the bigger mysteries surrounding the series, as Avengers: Endgame ended with an elderly Steve Rogers showing up after his younger self seemingly got lost in the past to hand off the shield to his partner and friend, Sam Wilson.
The seeds were clearly planted and this ending was meant as a signal to audiences that the Falcon was going to transition into everyone’s favorite super soldier. There’s a precedent for this change as well, as Sam Wilson picks up the mantle in the comic books. The run on the publishing side was a little hit or miss as far as the stories went, but the choice to move around the character was universally praised.
And while things in the MCU seem very cut and dry, that isn’t necessarily the case. During a recent interview with Variety, Anthony Mackie, the man underneath the wings of Sam Wilson, was asked point blank if he was going to portray Captain America in the upcoming series. And much like his MCU character, Mackie’s response got right to the point, saying that he’ll remain as the Falcon.
“I am The Falcon, I will always be The Falcon. The moniker will stay the same.”
There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in that statement. The team behind these films often go to extreme lengths to protect the secrets of their projects, but rarely do they boldly lie. As such, the chances are that the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will reflect a period where Sam Wilson is still operating under his original codename.
But this doesn’t mean that the character won’t eventually take up the shield as the MCU’s Captain America in the future. Just like everything in the sprawling universe, there is a journey. After all, it took Thanos how many years to finally get around to collecting the Infinity Stones after being teased at the end of 2012’s The Avengers?
This is going to be a slow burn, then. Steve Rogers passing on the mantle of Cap to Sam Wilson is likely just the start of the journey for the character. The events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will, in all likelihood, play an important role in this transformation, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be bouncing the shield off the walls by the series’ end and calling himself Captain America.