With Chris Evans coming to the end of his MCU contract, will another character take up his shield as the new Captain America?
It’s the end of an era for MCU fans. Chris Evans, aka Steve Rogers, has wrapped filming on Avengers 4, closing out his contract with Marvel. Evans posted a good by to the MCU on Twitter, thanking all the cast and crew.
Many have taken Evans’ departure to mean that Captain America will probably die in Avengers 4, however we can’t know this for certain until the film is released next year. If he does die, a goodbye to Steve Rogers doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to Cap.
In the comics, other characters have taken up Rogers’ mantle. Conveniently, we already know these characters.
So, let’s see who’s in line to become our new Captain America.
Bucky Barnes has travelled a long and winding road through the MCU.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, both Cap and the audience are led to believe Bucky is dead after a terrible fall from a moving train.
Then in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bucky re-emerges as the titular Winter Soldier, a deadly assassin. Brainwashed by HYDRA, Bucky had no memory of his former life. Steve spends much of the film trying to make his friend remember.
It is not until Civil War that Steve learns he succeeded. Bucky has regained his memory. Unfortunately, he is then falsely accused of a bombing that kills the King of Wakanda.
By Infinity War, Bucky has been fully broken of his HYDRA programming, only to then be dusted following the big snap.
As Steve Rogers’ best friend, Bucky seems the obvious choice to become the new Captain America.
In the comics, Bucky takes up the mantle when Steve is assassinated following the ‘Civil War’ story line.
Many fans believe subtle foreshadowing hints at Bucky assuming the same role in the films. In every film in which he appears, Bucky holds the shield at least once.
Adding to this theory is the fact that Sebastian Stan, the actor playing Bucky Barnes, was signed to a nine-film deal. Following Avengers: Infinity War, Stan has at least four films left on his contract. Assuming the Snap is reversed, this accounts for Avengers 4, and three more films. Perhaps, a whole new Captain America trilogy.
However, Bucky is not the only option.
Sam Wilson first appears in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He provides safe harbour for Cap and Natasha Romanoff after the HYDRA infested S.H.I.E.L.D turns against them. He aids in the final battle after the pair help him retrieve the special ‘Falcon’ wings he piloted while in the army.
Since then, Sam has proven himself as one of Steve Rogers’ most loyal allies.
In one comic storyline, a breakdown of the Super Soldier serum leads Steve Rogers to rapidly age. Steve hand-picks Sam to be the new Captain America.
In his role as Cap, Sam serves as an inspiration to young Rayshaun Lucas. Lucas eventually becomes the third hero to take on the mantle of Patriot.
While Steve eventually recovered, he and Sam spend some time sharing the Captain America title.
Sam Wilson certainly isn’t the most popular choice to become Captain America in the MCU, there are a few points in his favour.
Like Sebastian Stan, actor Anthony Mackie is believed to have a significant number of films left on his contract.
Letting Sam become Cap would also be a hit back at accusations the MCU suffers a lack of diversity.
Or maybe, no one… yet.
Alternatively, Marvel may choose to rest the mantle of Captain America for a while. Give the world a chance to miss Cap for a while. Remember the importance of who he was, what he stood for, and how much we need those things.
Then, let someone else pick up the Shield, and have Captain America return with a bang.
Of course, before we get too caught up in the possibility of new Captain America, we must learn how the original departs.
Chris Evans has proved hugely popular in the role. He took a character often deemed too perfect, and gave him flaws. Evans made Cap relatable.
Many fans are sad to see him go.
We can catch Evans’ final performance as Captain America next year. Avengers 4 hits screens in May 2019.