Chris Evans’ Captain America has an unforgettable arc in the MCU. From his humble beginnings as a small, but brave soldier, determined to enlist in World War II. Once he’s injected with Super Soldier Serum, Steve Rogers becomes the first Avenger. After we watched him become a great hero and save the universe alongside his team, Steve Rogers retired his shield and was given a happy ending after a lifetime of service. Coming up, Cap’s legacy not only lives on with the journey of his character, but through the new Captain America, Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, who will officially assume the title in Marvel Phase 5’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER.
During D23 Expo 2022, Kevin Feige and director Julius Onah revealed that in CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER Sam Wilson will be facing a threat from a foe fans haven’t seen since Phase 1. Tim Blake returns to the MCU as The Leader from THE INCREDIBLE HULK. As we anticipate the release of the fourth Cap movie on May 3, 2024, let’s go behind the shield of the evolution of Sam Wilson into his new superhero title.
On Your Left
Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson first appeared in the MCU in 2014’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, meeting Steve Rogers while they were both out for a morning run in Washington D.C. Sam and Steve instantly hit it off, after Sam noticed Steve’s ability to seriously outrun him, saying “on your left” as he continuously passed him, triggering his own competitive spirit. During their first chat, Sam recommended Steve catch up on Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack and they bonded over their experience serving in war.
When Sam Wilson meets Steve Rogers, he has just returned from serving two tours in Afghanistan with the United States Air Force. While he was on his last mission, he unfortunately lost his wingman Riley after his EXO-7 Falcon was hit by an RPG and Wilson was powerless in saving him. Feeling disheartened by the loss, Wilson moved to D.C. where he decided to help veterans recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder from battle, including Cap. Steve soon learns this when he attends one of his meetings, and then they cross paths again when Steve and Natasha team up for the big mission of WINTER SOLDIER. Sam Wilson joins them as in the EXO-7 Falcon wings for the finale, officially becoming the new hero: Falcon.
Falcon, The Avenger
Once Cap and Falcon become brothers in battle in THE WINTER SOLDIER, it’s not long before Sam Wilson is recruited to become an Avenger in 2015’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. But, he doesn’t truly lift off for the first time as a team member until 2016’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Following his first appearance in the MCU in THE WINTER SOLDIER, Falcon has an eagle eye on tracking down Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes. This really comes to a head in CIVIL WAR when Barnes is used by the movie’s villain, Helmut Zemo, who finds a way to control Barnes for his own bidding.
During CIVIL WAR, Sam Wilson sticks to Steve Rogers’ side in the Sokovia Accords against Iron Man, as the Avengers are split up into two teams. Team Cap fights Team Iron Man and in a memorable MCU moment, Falcon and The Winter Soldier face off against a newly recruited Spider-Man, making for the first fight for Tom Holland’s Spidey, where he webs the pair down.
Falcon really steps up to the plate in 2018’s AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, where he assists the team in attempting to stop Thanos’ dark plan of destroying half the population of the universe by going into Wakanda in an attempt to safely remove the Mind Stone from Vision before the villain can get to it. In Wakanda, a massive battle with Thanos’ army ensues and Thanos' plan initially is successful. Falcon is among the half of the population that is turned to dust.
Pass The Shield
In AVENGERS: ENDGAME, the Avengers that are left travel through time and reverse Thanos’ deadly snap years after their defeat, bringing Falcon back from the dead in the most iconic moment in MCU history thus far. Shortly after everyone comes back to life, Sam Wilson radios in “on your left” to Cap, signaling everyone’s back. Then, Captain America says “Avengers Assemble!” as a massive army comes in and finally defeats Thanos.
After Captain America led the Avengers in the exhaustive battle, Steve Rogers returns each Infinity Stone back in time and is afforded the opportunity to go back and no longer be lost in time with his one true love, Peggy Carter. Steve returns having aged several decades, with a wedding band on his finger and his superhero shield to pass on. Steve gives the shield on to Sam Wilson, dubbing him the new Captain America in the MCU.
In 2024’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: NEW WORLD ORDER, we’ll see his new version of the hero fly. Although details are thin about the upcoming movie, we now know that The Leader is involved. In the comics, the “New World Order” is an organization founded by the Red Skull, Steve’s first big bad in FIRST AVENGER, so it will be exciting to see how the MCU evolves the storyline. Sam Wilson has certainly earned the title of Captain America and we can’t wait to see this new era as the legacy of the shield continues with a new wielder of it.