Captain America 4. We know it’s happening. Marvel has said such. It’s looking more and more like it will be part of the studio’s Phase 5 with production timelines beginning to get ironed out.
One thing we do know for sure though is that there is going to be a definitive change in the shield for this film. Anthony Mackie is set to take over the title role and Chris Evans won’t be returning as Cap, a role he came to embody over the years.
There are more than a few moving parts here and this is another example of Marvel moving to a new iteration of a title character. Let’s take a look at what we already know about this next phase of Captain America.
CAPTAIN AMERICA COMPARED TO ROCKY
In March 2022, Sebastian Stan talked briefly to Screen Rant (via Pinkvilla) about what to expect in Captain America 4, including comparing it to 1976’s Rocky. “I’m very excited for that movie and I think [Anthony Mackie is] going to be great,” Stan said. “He’s going to add a whole different feel to that idea. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Rocky, in some ways.”
Without more details, it’s anyone’s guess what Stan means with his comparison of Captain America 4 to Rocky. The most obvious connection is that Jim Wilson is, like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa, an underdog. Because of the racism he’ll be likely to face as the new Cap, Wilson be seen as being from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks as Balboa is. He also doesn’t enjoy the same physical enhancements as Steve Rogers, meaning he may have a tougher time dealing with the bad guys Rogers used to take down.
CAPTAIN AMERICA 4 WILL FEATURE WHICH CAPTAIN?
After intense speculation, and basically an entire limited series working to this point, it was officially announced that Anthony Mackie would take over the role of Captain America when Marvel puts out a new movie about the character. It wasn’t exactly a surprise considering the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier included discussions about this very thing. But Marvel made it official in August that Captain America 4 was in active development and, at the time, Anthony Mackie was close to sealing the deal to take over the moniker.
Shortly after it was announced that Anthony Mackie was taking over things in Captain America 4, inking a deal to star in the film. The move by Marvel to cycle Mackie out of his role as Falcon and into the iconic red, white, blue was predicated on a couple of things. The main one is that he seemed destined to take this role ever since the events at the end of the Avengers’ timeline saw him sitting on the park bench with an aged Chris Evans who handed over the shield to Mackie’s Sam Wilson. It didn’t happen right away of course, there were some other ethical hurdles to clear for Sam, but here we are.
Mackie is a fitting replacement for the departed Chris Evans who so perfectly portrayed the character of Steve Rogers/ Captain American since nearly the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It will be weird to see someone else carrying the shield, but we already got a bit of that in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by means of prep.
WHO ELSE IS BACK FROM THE MARVEL UNIVERSE?
What is Captain America without Bucky Barnes? Luckily, we won’t need to find out. Giant Freakin Robot had the exclusive that Sebastian Stan will also be reprising his role as Barnes/ The Winter Soldier when Captain America 4 hits the big screen. Considering his story has mostly run in parallel with the Chris Evans as Captain America timeline, and then picked right up in the quasi-buddy show in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it would almost be odd if Stan wasn’t involved in some way. We will have to wait until this is strictly confirmed, but all signs point to getting him back in some fashion.
One could conclude that Wyatt Russell would continue his role as John Walker aka U.S. Agent as well. When Val gave him that moniker, it set up nicely future stories that would include Russell’s Walker. Once a highly decorated soldier, Walker was “chosen” by the government to take over as Captain America. But Walker lived in gray areas that became questionable to both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes and they did not see Walker as a true Captain America.
One could also conclude that Emily VanCamp would be reprising her role as Sharon Carter, now known as Power Broker, the criminal leader of Madripoor. Of course, we can’t have U.S. Agent without his handler Val, so expect Louis-Dreyfus to somehow be involved also.
IS ANTHONY MACKIE THE ONLY CAP IN CAPTAIN AMERICA 4?
One theme explored in Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the idea of Captain America as more than a man (or woman), but really as a symbol for America. This was one of the central story arcs and one of the reasons Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson was hesitant at first to pick up the shield. But we are entering something of a new world order here and Captain America 4 is looking very much like it will introduce even more versions of Captain America. It would likely be a representative bunch that encompasses a team of Captains, each fighting for a different form of justice and freedom.
There have been rumors that the new Captain America 4 could resemble something of an ensemble film, introducing others who play a version of their own Captain America. And based on what happened in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, this makes sense. We saw the United States government in the story more than willing to anoint others into the position, for better or worse, concerned with the symbolism around the Shield more than anything else. It’s why we got the ill-fated Wyatt Russell/ John Walker version. Recent events in the Captain America comic book series would also suggest the willingness to define the new Captain Americas, representative versions of different races, ethnicities, genders and more.
And if other Marvel storylines are any indication, it appears that they are more than willing to introduce other country’s versions of Captain America. We saw David Harbour take on the Russian foil as Red Guardian in Black Widow and we also know that the John Walker story is far from finished. Could we see something similar in this Captain America 4? It’s certainly possible.
WHO IS WRITING THE CAPTAIN AMERICA 4 SCRIPT?
Besides the confirmation that Anthony Mackie is getting into the suit, donning the shield, and going Mur-i-cah up here, Captain America 4 will definitely have another familiar face as part of the production. Though this one will be behind the camera. His name is Malcolm Spellman, and he was the showrunner for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Based on the excellent series, Disney and Marvel have tabbed Spellman, along with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier staff writer Dalan Musson, to script Captain America 4.
To pen Sam Wilson’s journey, Spellman put together a nearly all-Black writer’s room in an effort to get an authentic voice. The show was critically praised for being able to bring the Black experience to the forefront in a way not seen in other Superhero films or TV shows.
Deadline pressed Spellman in a recent interview about the direction his new movie would take, asking if Captain America 4 would be next for him or if a possible second season of The Falcon and the Winter Solider would come first. Is Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine) putting together the Thunderbolts team, and more importantly, are their two shields, one held by Sam Wilson and the other by U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell)? His simple answer: “I only know what Kevin [Feige, Marvel President] says.”
Spellman’s background includes the feature Our Family Wedding and a writer as well as co-executive producer on the hit Fox series Empire. Musson’s resume mainly revolves around The Falcon and the Winter Solider though he did also write Iron Sky: The Coming Race.
Well, at least we know without a shadow of a doubt that Captain America 4 is in good hands from a script standpoint, though it looks like they will bring on a different director for the bigger budget movie.
WILL CHRIS EVANS EVER RETURN AS CAPTAIN AMERICA?
It’s looking increasingly unlikely that we will see Chris Evans behind the vibranium shield anytime soon. For starters, as stated, his ending as Captain America had some real closure to it, a highlight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s run in how they combined the heartfelt nostalgia of his story with a true hero’s walk-off into the sunset. So that’s one strike against seeing him suit up again.
But there is also the money part. Giant Freakin Robot had another exclusive that Chris Evans had asked for upwards of $100 million dollars to get back into the role. That’s a hefty payday even by Marvel standards. It’s not totally unprecedented, but it would represent a sizeable outlay from the studio. That being said, there have been rumors around Evans maybe grabbing the Thor hammer some more and leaning into that role at some point in the future.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER
Because Comic-Con can still very much be a place of big reveals, we were treated to a bunch this year where Marvel is concerned. One of them waswith Captain America 4 seeing as how they finally gave the movie a title. It’s going to be Captain America: New World Order and it sets up to possibly continue some of the story where we left off after The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Interestingly enough, “New World Order” was the name of the first episode from that series, setting up some parallels around what we might see. Remember, in that series, Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson was struggling over whether to take the Captain America shield after Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was no longer with the Avengers. He refuses and that opens up a void for the mantle, one taken over by Wyatt Russell’s John Walker.
In Captain America: New World Order we could see the deck shuffled once again with the idea that there is not only a new Captain America, but possibly different versions as well. In the Disney+ series we saw a world that had to move one from Caps identity into more of a brand around the red, white, and blue suit and shield. Could this new movie mean we are seeing something similar play out in different sections of the world? There could be new groups seeking to have their own Captain America-type hero. This kind of plot line has been rumored in the past.
We know that Wyatt Russell’s John Walker is still alive and there is going to be the formation of The Thunderbolts at some point in Phase 6 of the MCU. Captain America 4 could be the breeding ground for that group considering some over the overlap with other characters like Zemo and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Again, this is all speculation but it would make sense on a couple of different levels.
WHEN WILL IT HIT THEATERS?
At the moment, Marvel’s Phase 4 is scheduled to run through 2023 and possibly longer if the announced Blade and Fantastic Four movies are to be included. As it is, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are both set to hit theaters in 2023 and end Phase 4. On the television side, Disney+ is set to roll out She-Hulk and Secret Invasion as their capper of Phase 4 but as with all things Marvel, it could all change. How many times has Black Widow changed release dates? As soon as we get a more definitive word on Captain America 4’s status, we will be sure to pass it along. Until then, enjoy Marvel’s Phase 4, there is plenty of action coming your way.