As the United States of America celebrates the 4th of July, so does the MCU's new Captain America, Sam Wilson. As of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6, Anthony Mackie's former Falcon has finally replaced Steve Rogers in the iconic star-spangled mantle.
After five episodes of action featuring Sam and Bucky, Wilson finally left his original wingsuit behind in the series finally to don his own Wakandan-made Captain America suit. Thankfully, this suit still kept his iconic wings around.
While Anthony Mackie initially took on the mantle in his own Disney+ series, his Avenger's future is moving back to the big screen as he prepares to take the reins of the formerly Chris Evans-led franchise in a fourth installment.
Coming from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier creator Malcolm Spellman, no specifics are known regarding the upcoming sequel. There is also no indication of when it could possibly hit theaters.
Based on the series' ending title card presenting “Captain America and the Winter Soldier,” many assumed this would be the title of its continuation, whatever form that may take. However, the obvious similarities to 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier means that another subtitle will be needed to avoid confusion.
With years to go before any significant details are likely to surface on Captain America 4, The Direct has made five bold predictions for the film's title, offering some storylines the patriotic sequel may follow.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE POWER BROKER
The cliffhanger post-credits scene of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Sharon Carter, the Power Broker, rejoin the CIA, thus gaining access to government secrets and technology. Even though audiences discovered Carter was the illusive Madripoor crime boss, Sam and Bucky are still unaware of her status, leaving the door open for the story to continue in a future MCU project.
Several clues planted into the series suggested the Power Broker may tie into the War Machine-led Armor Wars series coming to Disney+ next year. However, given that Carter's family history and her own origin both stem from the Captain America franchise, the fourth installment is a natural place to wrap up the story.
Putting the Power Broker right into the title of the sequel would make clear that the film is very much a continuation of Sam's latest appearance, giving the Disney+ series essential viewing status for all moviegoers.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: SERPENT SOCIETY
Those who have closely followed the Marvel universe for many years are likely familiar with Captain America: Serpent Society and will keenly remember its place in MCU history. While the title was used to tease fans back in 2014, the Serpent Society is a significant part of Captain America's rogues' gallery in Marvel Comics and could be a powerful threat for Sam Wilson to take on in the film.
For those who may be confused, during 2014's Phase 3 reveal event, Kevin Feige stood before a massive crowd and revealed Serpent Society as the official subtitle to Captain America: The Winter Soldier's sequel. However, the famed producer pulled a clever switcheroo on fans and concluded his presentation with the announcement of Civil War, revealing the return of Iron Man and the debut of Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther.
The villainous business organization of villains has often included characters such as King Cobra, Viper, Anaconda, Black Mamba, and other snake-inspired antagonists. Granted, the concept may sound a little ridiculous on paper, and perhaps it may not translate as well to screen as it does in comics, but it would be a fun way to revisit a fun piece of MCU history.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE NEW AVENGERS
Taking on the mantle of Captain America certainly means more than just a fancy shield with some Stars and Stripes for Sam; it also means filling some big shoes among the Avengers team. Granted, Wilson may not exactly be ready to lead the team as Steve did, but he will be an important member, potentially making his solo film the perfect chance to introduce the New Avengers.
With the team's line-up barely resembling the original after Endgame, a slight name change seems fitting to make clear that the legends the started it all were the Avengers, while those around now are the New Avengers. A title like Captain America and the New Avengers would nicely set the stage to assemble the new team with appearances from other up-and-coming Avengers.
Much as Civil War served as something close to an Avengers film, Captain America and the New Avengers could reassemble the team for the first time since Endgame to once again change up the MCU's status quo in a big way. Seeing Sam and Bucky lose to a major villain so badly they have to get the band back together would make for a thrilling MCU sequel, and it could be the perfect way to tide fans over until the inevitable Avengers 5.
Appearances from established heroes like Yelena Belova, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man definitely wouldn't go amiss among fans, giving the film a big box office boost. It would also nicely set up the introduction of a new Falcon to the team in Danny Ramirez's Joaquin Torres — who was teased to take on the mantle in his Disney+ debut.
As projects like Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and The Marvels tell grand-scale stories that have little place for heroes like Captain America, it may be time to have two different teams. Putting the most powerful Avengers up against the biggest cosmic threats while the more realistic heroes take on smaller Earth-based threats would help to better balance the power levels.
If Marvel is looking to create that power separation, only uniting the teams for major Endgame-level events, perhaps the Secret Avengers would be a more fitting name for the Earth-bound team that Sam Wilson could lead.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE THUNDERBOLTS
Amongst other super-powered teams, Marvel Studios currently looks to be in the midst of assembling the Thunderbolts in the MCU for the first time in cinematic history. The team, who is essentially Marvel's version of DC's Suicide Squad, consists of a group of villains teaming up to do some good, usually under the control of the government and General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross.
So far, it appears the studio is setting up Zemo, Abomination, Batroc, Taskmaster, and Ant-Man and the Wasp's Ghost to join the team. Additionally, Ross has joined the team himself in many interpretations, turning into the Red Hulk, something which would pretty much just print money for Disney and Marvel if it adapted to the big screen well.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was shown to be forming a team of her own, starting with John Walker's US Agent, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. If this team is the Thunderbolts, then a fourth Captain America film is the natural place to continue the story, especially with the series' writer Malcolm Spellman still in charge.
As of now, there are no clear signs of the popular team receiving their own standalone project. If the supervillain team were to star alongside Sam and Bucky in Captain America and the Thunderbolts, it could be the perfect way to establish the team for a bigger future going forward.
Wilson's Captain America being forced to team up with some of his greatest foes to take on a larger threat would be a huge trial for the character with a lot of conflicts involved, making for an interesting sequel. Alternatively, a story that pits a team of New Avengers against the Thunderbolts would just make for some insane action set pieces.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: SECRET EMPIRE
In 2017, Marvel released one of its most controversial comic storylines of recent years with Secret Empire. The crossover event saw HYDRA attempt to take over the United States as Steve Rogers was revealed as a HYDRA sleeper agent of many years, forcing the heroes of the Marvel universe to unite against their former leader.
Granted, Marvel Studios would almost certainly never adapt this story directly and reveal that Chris Evans' popular Avenger had been a villain all along. But with the multiverse now a major part of the MCU moving forward, seeing a variant of Steve Rogers introduced that somehow become affiliated with HYDRA would be a surprising twist.
Chris Evans playing an evil version of his iconic character would truly be a sight to see, and the actor has clearly proven he can handle the villainous side in his roles since wrapping Avengers: Endgame. With Marvel reportedly in talks with the actor to return, one would imagine it would take something special to justify the return.
Given Sam Wilson is now the MCU's Captain America, what role does Steve Rogers have to play in the story moving forward? An adaptation of Secret Empire would be the perfect reason to bring Evans back to his role in a meaningful way and the premise alone would instantly make for a multi-billion dollar film.
Whatever title Marvel Studios may opt for, it is certain to follow the usual MCU formula of adapting elements from fan-favorite comic arcs, while still taking enough creative liberties to keep things original and surprising for every moviegoer.
Happy Independence Day from the entire staff at The Direct!