**This article contains massive SPOILERS for ‘Captain America: Civil War’. But let’s be honest, you probably saw it already. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!**
Following the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’, the Avengers are disassembled in a big way. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has split into two factions with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers as their respective leaders. And in an even more shocking development, Cap left his iconic shield behind after reluctantly battling with Iron Man following the revelation that the Winter Soldier killed Howard and Maria Stark. When Rogers appears again, he’s breaking his allies out of The Raft without sporting the stars and stripes. Many speculated that this meant that the Star-Spangled Avenger had moved on from that mantle, but now we have actual confirmation of this being the case.
During a recent interview with The Huffington Post to promote the home release of ‘Civil War’, Anthony and Joe Russo clarified the meaning behind the final moments of their latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film. And though this seems like something that most filmmakers would remain tight-lipped about, Joe Russo didn’t hold anything back:
“I think him dropping that shield is him letting go of that identity. [It’s] him admitting that certainly the identity of Captain America was in conflict with the very personal choice that he was making.”
There you have it. Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America in the MCU. But now there are two major questions that need to be answered as Phase Three progresses. 1.) Who is Captain America now? 2.) Who is Steve Rogers now? The first question is very important because the world needs Captain America. You can’t have an Avengers team without him and people like Stark, S.H.I.E.L.D., the World Council, the United States government and all those other big wigs know this. Not only does the imagery of the super-soldier sporting the stars and stripes connected with the legacy of the team, but it doesn’t hurt to have a super-soldier fighting alongside you in the field.
As we’ve seen before, there have been attempts at recreating a super-soldier in the MCU. Will Simpson from ‘Jessica Jones’ and Emil Blonsky from ‘The Incredible Hulk’ come to mind immediately, but they didn’t exactly work out. In the comics, a number of other people have taken up the mantle of Captain America for one reason or another. William Nasland, Jeffrey Mace, William Burnside, and John Walker are all names that have served as the Sentinel of Liberty. More recently, Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have also taken over for Rogers when they were called to, though it’s hard to picture either of them doing so in the MCU at this moment considering where they are at the end of ‘Civil War’.
One name that I could most definitely see joining the MCU after ‘Civil War’ is Isaiah Bradley. Known as the first African American Captain America, Bradley was the only person to survive a series of experiments conducted in 1942 that was meant to recreate the lost formula that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. This origin could easily be adapted into the modern day MCU with Thaddeus Ross being involved somehow. There’s some potential for some excellent diverse storytelling should the Russos and Kevin Feige decide to take this route.
As for the question of who Steve Rogers is without the identity of Captain America, there are a lot of answers to that. But in terms of a superhero identity, when Rogers became disillusioned with the government in the comics, he became Nomad. Should this be the case with the MCU version of the character, I don’t see the goofy costume making the jump from the page to the screen. However, using Nomad as a codename while donning some covert ops gear isn’t outside of the realm of believability. I mean, in this day and age, I don’t see Rogers wearing a cape like this any time soon:
No matter what happens next, the bottom line is that Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America. That may be a tough pill to swallow, but it shouldn’t last too long since it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll get that shield back during or shortly after ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. It’ll just be really interesting to see what happens between then and now.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Bruhl, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Emily VanCamp, Paul Rudd, and William Hurt will be released digitally on September 2, 2016, followed by the Blu-ray release on September 13, 2016.