In the comics, most superheroes go through multiple iterations throughout their history as a means to shake things up or to adapt to the changing times. These legacy heroes pass down the mantle to other characters that take and reinvent the persona, for better or worse.
Captain America is no exception and has gone through multiple changes in his 75-year comic book history. For those following the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it may have missed your radar that we have been introduced to FOUR Captain Americas already. Here’s a rundown of the MCU’s star-spangled heroes:
- Steve Rogers
The original, a household name, and an institution – Steve Rogers is practically the face of Marvel. We all know the origin story: an unlikely American soldier from World War II was chosen to participate in an experiment to create the perfect soldier.
After receiving the super soldier serum, Steve Rogers gained peak human abilities, thus giving birth to Captain America. Along with his vibranium shield, Captain America has become a symbol of freedom and has bested his foes, most notably, the Red Skull.
In the MCU, Steve Rogers is played by Chris Evans and was first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger. After Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers is last seen taking The Winter Soldier to Wakanda and is currently operating outside the law after opposing the Sokovia Accords.
- James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes aka “The Winter Soldier”
The original…. Sidekick. Yes, it’s hard to imagine Bucky as a sidekick after his cool and intimidating introduction in the MCU. With a costume that would give Robin a run for his money, Bucky served at Steve Rogers’ side until his apparent death from a drone plane explosion.
It was later revealed that Bucky survived the explosion (but severed his left arm) and was brainwashed and trained as the deadly assassin, The Winter Soldier.
After Steve Rogers’ death in the comic book Civil War event, Bucky took on the mantle of Captain America in order to preserve its legacy.
Sebastian Stan portrays Bucky in the Captain America films and the character is currently in stasis under Wakandan protection after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
- Sam Wilson aka “Falcon”
Next to Bucky, Sam Wilson is Steve Rogers’ BFF. Sam, whose powers and abilities include wings and a telepathic connection to birds, was originally intended to defeat Captain America under the control of the Cosmic Cube via the Red Skull. Long story short, Sam eventually sides with Steve and the both defeat the Red Skull.
During a confrontation with the villain Iron Nail, Steve Rogers loses the super soldier serum in his body, causing his body to revert to its actual age. Unable to physically fulfill his role as Captain America, Steve passes down the mantle to his trusted friend, Sam Wilson.
Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson in the MCU and first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and is currently on the run from the Sokovia Accords with Steve Rogers.
- Jeffrey Mace aka “The Patriot”
The latest Captain America in the MCU was introduced in the latest season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. After S.H.I.E.L.D. was reinstated and legitimized by the US government, the agency needed a new director since the world still believes that Phil Coulson is dead. An enhanced individual was sought in order to address tensions from Inhuman relations. Being an Inhuman himself with super strength, Jeffrey Mace was chosen as the new director.
In “The Patriot” episode (e10s04), it was revealed that Jeffrey was not actually an Inhuman, but a product of “Project Patriot”, an offshoot version of the super soldier serum that created the original Captain America. However, unlike the original serum, The Patriot requires regular doses in order to sustain its effects.
In the comics, Jeffrey Mace filled the shoes of Captain America while Steve was trapped in ice. Mace had no superpowers, but was a formidable combatant.
The Captain America Team-Up
With Avengers: Infinity War looming in the distance, its hard not to imagine the different heroes from the MCU to come together against Thanos. Personally, the best fan service would be seeing all the Captain Americas in one scene, passing around the vibranium shield and kicking ass. As a matter of fact, we were so close to seeing this in Captain America: Civil War (excluding Jeffrey Mace), but the glorious scene ended up being scrapped and left unfinished.
Avengers: Infinity War comes out on May 4, 2018. Hopefully, we can finally see an epic Captain America team-up come to life in the big screen.