Sam Wilson is finally getting a solo movie as the MCU’s new Captain America, providing Marvel with a real test for the future of their characters.
Marvel’s upcoming Captain America: New World Order is one of the most important projects for the future of the MCU. Steve Rogers retired as the star-spangled man with a plan at the end of Avengers: Endgame, passing the shield onto Sam Wilson, who then spent Falcon and the Winter Soldier struggling to come to terms with what carrying Rogers’ shield would mean. By the end of his Disney+ series, Sam has fully embraced his role as the new MCU Captain America, donning a sparkly new vibranium suit, his trademark Falcon wings, and the famous shield. Sam Wilson inheriting the mantle of Captain America quickly triggered rumors of a solo movie and, sure enough, Captain America: New World Order was officially announced at 2022’s SDCC.
Captain America: New World Order will mark the first occasion an MCU solo movie franchise passes to a different character, with the likely exception of Black Panther due to tragic real life circumstances. Whereas Sam Wilson taking over from Steve Rogers is common knowledge, Marvel is not using Black Panther’s new identity to promote Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While characters are often replaced in Marvel Comics, a solo movie franchise hasn’t yet switched hands in the MCU. Sam Wilson taking over as Captain America will be the first real test of whether casual movie audiences can accept superhero handovers, and the outcome could inform Marvel Studios’ future MCU projects.
Captain America 4 Is A Risk The MCU Needed To Take
It can be difficult to imagine other characters taking over major superhero identities from those who originated them. Nevertheless, a decade has passed since the first MCU team-up in The Avengers, and those original heroes are now either getting older or drifting away from superhero life. This will inevitably happen more and more over the coming years, and if Marvel hopes to keep its biggest IPs alive, new faces must step up. That Marvel Studios has started this process with someone as iconic as Captain America is certainly a risk, and more casual audiences might find the change jarring, especially since the Chris Evans portrayal of Steve Rogers has become synonymous with America’s patriotic hero.
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An established character such as Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson receiving the Captain America gig is preferable to a new character audiences aren’t familiar with. Not only is the transition smoother, but this storyline is taken straight from Marvel Comics, in which Sam becomes Captain America and leader of the Avengers during 2015’s All-New Captain America #1, being gifted the title and shield by an aged-up Steve Rogers. The MCU has not always delivered a completely faithful adaptation of the comics, but this storyline marked a momentous change that needs to be told on the big screen, especially after Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed Sam hesitant to become Captain America due to what the title represents.
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Captain America 4’s Success Could Determine The MCU’s Future
Sam Wilson’s debut as Captain America might be the first time a cinematic MCU solo series has continued with a different character in the title role, but it almost certainly will not be the last, and Captain America: New World Order‘s success could pave the way for other heroes. Some of these future replacements have already been introduced or received small mentions in the MCU, such as Donald Glover’s Aaron Davis teasing the debut of Miles Morales, who could take over the Spider-Man mantle from Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. The same applies for Yelena Belova replacing Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow 2, Kate Bishop using the Hawkeye persona, or Monica Rambeau taking over from Carol Danvers as the star of Captain Marvel 3.
If the reception to Sam Wilson’s first solo outing as Captain America is positive and Captain America: New World Order becomes successful, Marvel Studios will undoubtedly feel more comfortable passing mantles down, allowing the MCU to continue indefinitely without its core characters getting stale. Replacing the original Infinity saga heroes with new faces for Phase 5 and beyond allows the MCU to grow and develop, bringing in new stories and characters while still paying tribute to the heroes who came before. This will most likely be evident in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will see another figure such as Shuri become the Black Panther after T’Challa’s MCU death – not replacing the character completely, but carrying on their legacy.
Sam Wilson’s Captain America Is Already Exciting
Falcon and the Winter Soldier allowed MCU audiences insight into Sam Wilson’s mindset when taking on the huge responsibility of being Captain America. This means the new Cap can get straight down to business when Captain America: New World Order releases in May 2024, having already proven himself capable of carrying such a heavy legacy. Sam Wilson boasts a rich backstory as both the Falcon and Captain America in Marvel Comics, so the MCU has a wealth of material to draw from when adapting Cap 2.0. Despite the setup, audiences might still feel strange watching someone other than Chris Evans perform as Captain America in the MCU, especially the more casual viewer not keeping up with Disney+ releases.
Even so, Sam Wilson’s future as Captain America in the MCU is hugely exciting, as it proves Marvel Studios is willing to make big changes to its character roster in order to expand the universe. Sam Wilson as Captain America is also an important and positive move for representation in the MCU, with a person of color taking on one of the most iconic superhero roles, but not ignoring the dark history behind the “Captain America” name or the weight it carries. Anthony Mackie will next appear as Captain America during Captain America: New World Order, and his next fight could define the MCU’s very future.
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