Anthony Mackie has apparently signed a deal to star in Captain America in a fourth post in the Marvel movie series whose existence was reported shortly after The falcon and the winter soldier ended up at Disney Plus back in May. This is according to Deadline, which also doubles compared to an earlier report that said Disney Plus series showrunner Malcolm Spellman co-wrote the film with series writer Dalan Musson.
Marvel has not officially announced Captain America 4 as it is. Oddly enough, the report also mentions a top-secret Marvel movie due to star former Cap Chris Evans, which the star had previously been shown to shoot down back in January.
This is a good choice of Marvel, provided it all goes as planned. Mackie’s Sam Wilson clearly emerged as one of the better supporting roles in MCU debuted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and entered the mainline Avengers line-up at the end of Age of Ultron in 2015. He played memorable roles in the last two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame, which is why the news that he got his own spin-off with Sebastian Stan’s Bucky seemed so exciting.
However, the falcon and the winter soldier did not live up to their full potential – we ranked it as the last of the three Marvel Disney Plus shows released so far. It certainly had its moments, but lost focus for its two excellent leads too many times due to an overload of characters.
Few would argue against the idea that Sam finally put on the costume – with Vibranium wings, courtesy of Wakanda – was, however, a highlight of the show. And the arrival of a new Captain America feels like a massive event, and something you will actually see on the big screen. The end of the show flashed with the title card ‘Captain America and the Winter Soldier’, which I interpret as a suggestion that another season may have a name change.
It was clear that this should not be the case, but a movie is the better scenario for me than several TV episodes. So what could a Captain America movie starring Anthony Mackie really look like?
A new cap needs new villains
A lot of classic Captain America villains have been covered by the movies now: Baron Zemo, Wolfgang von Strucker, Crossbones, Red Skull, Batroc and Arnim Zola have all made pretty extensive appearances in MCU, some of which reappeared in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
This new Captain America really needs his own villains. A good starting point for the authors may be the brand new Captain America, run by author Rick Remender, who introduced Sam as Cap. The race was about the emergence of a new Hydra led by Baron Zemo – who seems less likely to be the focus of the new Cap film, as MCU’s Zemo is now safely imprisoned in the Navy. He could always break out again, we suppose, but this would be the second time he did.
This book also introduced a villain called Baron Blood and brought back Sinthea Schmidt, daughter of the red skull, as part of this new Hydra. Nick Spencer’s later Captain America race with Sam also reintroduced the Sons of the Serpent, essentially a hate-mongering, anti-American group that makes big punching bags on the pages of Marvel’s books.
It all seems like remote possibilities to us. What would be more interesting is if Captain America 4 uses some of the pieces that are already on the table in movies and TV shows.
We would like to see Sam Wilson’s Cap wage war on Power Broker – as we now know, Sharon Carter is an ally. The idea that Captain America is trying to get a named man behind the curtain-type character with tremendous power would give this a bit of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that made the film so exciting. The revelation of Sharon as a villain can also be very effective in this film if that is where they decide to go.
Most likely, Spellman and Musson will take an approach we see so often in the Marvel movies and TV shows – take pieces of Marvel lore for inspiration and build something new out of them. Hopefully we also see the first Black Captain America, Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), reappear.
What makes sense on TV, and what makes sense on the big screen?
The boundary between Marvel’s TV and film projects is increasingly blurred in the sense that massive events that may change in the world now can happen in both — that Loki showed us. If one compares the consequences of last episode of Loki to those in big screen movies Black widow, it is clear that the release of Multiverse in the former means more in the MCU’s grand plan than anything that happened in the latter.
Of course, that does not mean that one is necessarily better than the other, but Marvel is exploring new territory with all this. Star warsfor example, does not tell a continuous narrative using movies and TV shows at the same time – all the stories are told separately but exist in the same continuity.
What this then means is what counts as a major ‘event’ in the MCU is now harder to determine than ever. You pretty much just have to commit to watching it all, whether it’s in cinemas or on TV. That is the point.
With Captain America 4, we see another example of how Marvel will connect the two. CCO Kevin Feige has previously said that some shows will have a second season – Loki season 2 reportedly starts filming next year – while others will link back to the movies, just as Wanda Maximoff’s story continues in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in one form or another.
Marvel basically does not choose favorites between movies and TV. But it feels as an event where Sam Wilson’s Captain America is ready to have his own movie – he’s the first ‘sequel’ character to do this in MCU, and perhaps the only one so far who actually deserves it.