The times, they are a changin’. Comic books have never been shy to introduce new or varied versions of our favorite characters, and with Marvel’s ever expanding Cinematic Universe considered to have a comic book run-esque continuity, we may very well see some high profile changes to our biggest characters. While fans have just recently been introduced to a new edition of Iron Man in the form of 15 year old genius RiRi Williams, and Thor has been Jane Foster since Secret Wars (spoilers? I guess?), no fan favorite character has seen more people take up the mantle than that of Captain America. Marvel just might flip what we know on its head and give us a new version soon on film, as well. Who, you ask? Well let’s run through the options, along with the odds, shall we?
Currently in the MCU, there are 4 characters who have carried the SHIELD at one point or another. Let’s start with Steve Rogers’ right hand man, and the sole reason he listens to Marvin Gaye now (Captain America: Winter Soldier reference. Stay with me, now):
Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon (odds-5:1)
Sam Wilson is currently Captain America in the mainstream Marvel comic book continuity, and has been for a couple of years now. Steve Rogers is ALSO a version of Captain America, having come back from the dead and being a pseudo-HYDRA agent and all, but as leader of the Avengers, Sam Wilson is top dog. Sam taking over for Rogers in the comics was relatively well received, and the character as Cap is well written on top of it. Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson with charm, charisma and loyalty, all of which would translate into a fantastic big screen Captain America. I’m willing to bet fans would be stoked as well to see a live-action version of the Cap/Falcon hybrid uniform that Wilson rocks in the comics. Wilson would be the best bet to take over for Rogers down the line….if not for this guy being a part of the MCU as well…
Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier (odds-2:1)
Currently in the 616 continuity, Bucky Barnes, aka Steve Rogers’ BFFL, is the leader of the Thunderbolts team, working solely as the Winter Soldier. But it wasn’t too long ago, in Marvel’s ground breaking Civil War storyline, that after the “death” of Steve Rogers, Bucky picked up the shield and the mantle to honor his long time friend. Many believed that this is where the Marvel Cinematic Universe was headed with their big screen version of Civil War, which came not to pass, but it might not be much further in the future. Chris Evans currently has the Avengers: Infinity War movies left on his contract, and Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers have teased that nothing will be the same in the MCU after those films. Add to that, that Sebastian Stan, our beloved Winter Soldier, reportedly signed a 10 film contract with Marvel. Even after both Infinity War films, Stan would have another 5 films left on his contract. Granted, cameos in other films could count against that number, but that seems like enough movies to carry Captain America into Phase 4 and beyond.
Jeffrey Mace, aka the Patriot (odds-1,000:1)
SHIELD’s new director on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is none other than Jeffrey Mace. While that name may not ring out to casual fans, hardcore Cap-ites (Captianites? Capafiles?) will recognize him as the Patriot, one of Steve Rogers’ fighting friends back in the 1960’s. With that said, Mace also wore the title of Captain America for a time. It was revealed by Marvel when they reworked some of their continuity in the 1970’s, that Mace took over the shield from William Nasland, the man appointed Captain America by President Truman after Cap’s death/disappearance during WWII. He held the title until the 1950’s, when William Burnside took over for Mace following his retirement. While it is more likely we could see Mace in his more known role of the Patriot (regardless of the INhuman changes made to his character on the show), it is at least worth putting out there that for a time, this man was the “Star Spangled Avenger”.
Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (odds-even)
While changes are most definitely going to be made in the future in regards to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios is also well aware of who brings in the money and who the fans line up to see. Along with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man & Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans has taken on an iconic status when it comes to his character, and the powers that be are more than likely going to keep him there for as long as they can. While originally stating that when his contract runs out he could be done with the series, Evans has gone on record more recently saying that he’d play Captain America until they didn’t want him anymore, and that he truly enjoys playing the character. At the end of Civil War, Rogers drops his shield at the feet of Tony Stark, and the Russo brothers have reported that this is due to Rogers no longer feeling worthy to carry it as Captain America. My bets are on ol’ Winghead coming of “retirement” for Infinity War, but where the character goes from that point on is anyone’s guess.
As stated before, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is ever expanding, and in order to keep a good thing going, it has change and evolve. Where the character of Captain America goes 5 or 10 years down the road is unknown to fans at the moment, but one thing they can be sure of is that there are worthy candidates for the mantle already making waves in the MCU.
What do you think? Who’s the next Cap? Leave me a comment below.
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Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time husband, full time dad & full time superhero enthusiast. ………at least the Sabres won yesterday. **sigh**
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