Marvel Movies: Who Will Wield The Shield?

Chris Evans says he’s done with Captain America after Avengers 4. So who will take up the mantle? Now, this isn’t a spoiler for Avengers: Infinity War, just a actual news. […]

Chris Evans says he’s done with Captain America after Avengers 4. So who will take up the mantle?

Now, this isn’t a spoiler for Avengers: Infinity War, just a actual news. Chris Evans who has played Captain America since the first film his hanging up his shield. Does this mean Cap dies in Avengers 4? Honestly, I don’t know. It does mean there is a strong possibility we will be without a Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

But it seems Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige does have a plan. What makes the most sense is that instead of having a new actor play Steve Rogers, hopefully, someone else will pick up the shield and become Captain America.

So who are the possible choices to take on the role of  Captain America? Let’s take a look at the candidates:

BUCKY BARNES/WINTER SOLDIER

In the comics, Bucky was the kid sidekick of Captain America since Cap first appeared in 1941. Cap’s comic finally ended, and he and Bucky were both in limbo until Marvel brought back Cap in Avengers #4 (1963). When Cap was brought back, they had Bucky die back in World War II. Stan Lee wasn’t a fan of teenage sidekicks and thought it would be better if Bucky did die. This became a company mandate. I have friends that interned at Marvel that told me that there was a rule book that said Bucky had to stay dead, and could only be used in stories that were either flashbacks or imaginary. And this rule stayed in place until writer Ed Brubaker took over writing Captain America.

In 2005, Brubaker came up with a way for Bucky to come back. Similar to the Winter Soldier film, Bucky became a brainwashed Russian assassin. Cap found a way to snap Bucky back to his old self. Then Cap ended up getting killed. The obvious choice Bucky to become Cap, which he did until Cap came back from the dead (long story).

SAM WILSON/FALCON

The Falcon became Cap’s partner back in 1969 and has probably been his longest partner and oldest friend. In the films, we’ve seen how close these two men became friends in a quick amount of time. A bond that seems to transcend time. 

In the comics, in 2014, Cap suddenly aged to what he should actually be, and could not continue being Captain America. So Cap chose Sam to be the next Captain America. While Steve believes in the American Dream, Sam was more vocal and political than Steve ever was. This caused some tension between the two men. History was re-written, and Cap was revealed to be a Hydra agent. Sam helped take up the fight against Cap and when Cap came back this time, Sam took up the role of Falcon again.

CLINT BARTON/HAWKEYE

This one might be a bit of stretch. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw Clint hurl the shield with amazing accuracy. In the comic when Cap was dead, Iron Man was able to convince Hawkeye to be Cap. Though it was only for one issue, in terms of the movie franchise, it’s a possibility. 

JOHN WALKER/U.S.AGENT

John Walker has not made an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, but he’s well known to comic readers as the replacement Captain America. In 1986, created by writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Paul Neary, John Walker, a former soldier, went through a process to gain super-strength. Like his idol Captain America, he loved his country and took up the identity of Super-Patriot. 

In Captain America #332, the government stripped Steve of the identity of Captain America. Impressed with the heroics John did has Super-Patriot, the government gave John the mantle of Captain America, as long as he remained an agent of the government. It was revealed that the Red Skull was pulling all the strings which led to a battle between John and Steve. Steve came up on top and was able to resume the identity of Captain America.

Even though the Red Skull’s plan was foiled, the government wasn’t done with John. They faked his death and gave him the identity of U.S.Agent. 

The concept of the government trying to create it’s own Captain America would work great in the films, especially seeing how Secretary of State Ross doesn’t like superheroes running around uncontrolled.  It could also give a reason for either Bucky or Sam to pursue the role of Captain America.

WILLIAM BURNSIDE/GRAND DIRECTOR

In the comics, Cap and Bucky went from fighting Nazis to fighting Communists. When the original Cap was revived in modern times, this left Marvel with no real explanation on how he fought the “Commies”. In 1972, writer Steve Englehart and artist Sal Buscema, came up with the concept of the Captain America of the 1950’s. William Burnside was a man so obsessed with Steve Rogers, that he had plastic surgery to look like him. He even ended up getting his own Bucky. During the 1950’s they were Captain America and Bucky. Both used an experimental drug that enhanced their strength but caused madness. The government captured them and put them in suspended animation until a cure could be found. The two of them were awakened many years later and this brought them into conflict with the real Cap and Falcon. 

William would be captured and brainwashed into becoming a white supremacist leader called Grand Director. This brought him into conflict with Cap again, but when his plan failed, William seemingly killed himself. He was revived years later when Bucky was Cap and they came into conflict with each other as well. When Steve returned, he tracked down William and helped him to get much needed mental help and set up a new identity for him.

The idea of a fanatic trying to become Captain America is also something that would be very cinematical. You don’t need to use Chris Evans for William, you can just have an actor try to look like him. It would make a great plot.

There have been others in the comics that have taken up the mantle of Captain America, but I think these are the best choice.

Either way, I do hope the Marvel Cinematic Universe does continue with Captain America whether Chris Evans is playing him or not.

Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

About Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 40 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian original started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well that voice has been shared, and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.