Captain America 4's Main Villain Officially Revealed

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Captain America, Sam Wilson

During Marvel Studios' presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, president Kevin Feige confirmed that Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson is set to lead an MCU solo movie for the first time. This will come with 2024's Captain America: New World Order, the penultimate film in Phase 5 and Mackie's first movie appearance since 2019's Avengers: Endgame.

Since this movie was confirmed, The Cloverfield Paradox director Julius Onah was announced as the director for Captain America 4, taking over the reins from Joe and Anthony Russo as Sam Wilson fully takes over the shield and mantle. But aside from that news, there are no confirmed details of who will appear in the movie alongside Mackie or what exactly the story will be.

Fans are especially curious to find out who the villain will be in Captain America 4, with Sam having most recently fought the Flag Smashers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after helping in the battle against Thanos.

Now, not only is that villain confirmed, but it's a character that hasn't been seen in the MCU since the franchise began in 2008.

Marvel's The Leader Back for Cap 4

The Leader, Anthony Mackie, Captain America 4
The Direct

During Marvel Studios' panel at the D23 Fan Expo 2022, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that the villain for 2024's Captain America: New World Order will be The Leader, played by Tim Blake Nelson. This will be Nelson's second time appearing in the MCU, having first played Samuel Sterns in 2008's The Incredible Hulk.

Nelson even appeared at the event, calling it an "absolute honor" to be a part of such a historic franchise once again:

Leader, The Incredible Hulk
Marvel Studios

“I’m delighted, Marvel is part of cinema history, and that I get to be a part of that is an absolute honor.”

Additionally, other stars from the new Captain America movie made an appearance on stage alongside leading actor Anthony Mackie and director Julius Onah. This included Carl Lumbley (Isaiah Bradley) and Danny Ramirez (Joaquin Torres), both of whom debuted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

Captain America 4 Sets Up Epic Battle

The Hulk's legacy has finally gotten the opportunity to move forward again in recent weeks thanks to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which heavily featured Bruce Banner and will continue to develop Tim Roth's Abomination. Now, Captain America 4 takes an incredible opportunity to do the same thing with a villain that hasn't even been hinted at in over 14 years.

Tim Blake Nelson's Dr. Samuel Sterns played a small but pivotal role in The Incredible Hulk, eventually pushing Emil Blonsky toward his full transformation as the Abomination. That scene ended with some of Banner's blood dripping into an open wound in Sterns' head as Nelson donned an evil grin on his face, but he's been completely MIA since that scene.

Even with no story details known for Captain America 4 yet, getting Nelson back is a huge development as the MCU goes back to its early Phase 1 roots. There will certainly be questions about what Sterns has been doing in the decade and a half since his last appearance in the timeline, but fans can be sure that he'll be a formidable opponent for Sam Wilson's star-spangled Avenger.

Now, with just under two years until the movie releases, fans have some thrilling cast updates to celebrate, especially with both Joaquin Torres and Isaiah Bradley also coming back from Mackie's Disney+ series. This leading hero will have a brutal battle on his hands when this new solo outing comes, tying together some long-lost threads in the MCU's expansive history.

Captain America: New World Order will debut in theaters on May 3, 2024.

Release Date
February 14, 2025
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.