Marvel Studios Just Brought Back Its 4th Captain America Actor on Disney Plus

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Captain America

X-Men '97 Episode 7 brought back the fourth Marvel Studios actor to play a version of Captain America.

Before it was even released, X-Men '97 promised cameos from outside the series' core team of mutants. Among episodes featuring background cameos, Episode 5 brought in — and proceeded to kill — several heroes familiar to X-Men fans.

The fifth episode also featured an appearance from The Watcher, marking the show's first connection to another MCU project (What If...?).

[ X-Men ’97 Episode 5 Introduces Game-Changing MCU Cameo ]

4th Captain America Actor Returns on Disney+

After playing the role in both seasons of What If...?, Josh Keaton voiced Captain America in Episode 7 of X-Men '97 — his second project in the role.

Keaton is one of four actors to play characters donning the mantle of Captain America in titles from Marvel Studios. Chris Evans played live-action Steve Rogers, bringing the role to the MCU for the first time in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.

Wyatt Russell played John Walker, who briefly held the Captain America title, in 2021's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The Disney+ series saw John Walker replaced, though, by Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson — the MCU's current live-action Captain America.

Then, later in 2021, Keaton debuted as the voice of Steve Rogers in Marvel Studios animation. He voiced Captain America through two seasons of What If...?, and now appeared as Steve in X-Men '97 too.

Interestingly, Lawrence Bayne did not take on Captain America for X-Men '97, despite voicing him in X-Men: The Animated Series. Most of the original Animated Series voice cast returned for the Disney+ continuation, but Bayne did not as Captain America. He did voice some more minor characters in the series, though.

As such, it does make sense that Marvel would keep the animated voices of Steve Rogers the same across projects, even if they take place in different universes from one another.

[ MCU Newcomer Josh Keaton on Replacing Chris Evans and Fan Pressure for Marvel's What If (Exclusive) ]

Why Was X-Men '97 Cap So Different from the MCU Version?

Frame from X-Men '97 showing Rogue and Captain America.
Marvel Animation

The X-Men '97 version of Steve Rogers (voiced by Josh Keaton) differs drastically from his MCU counterpart (played by Chris Evans).

This becomes extremely clear when Steve tells Rogue in X-Men '97 Episode 7 that he cannot send a message that he stands with mutants because he has "gotta do this by the book." MCU Captain America would likely jump into that fight, no questions asked — at least, if this took place after Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

This X-Men '97 Steve Rogers is more like MCU Steve pre-Captain America: The Winter Soldier than any other version found in the universe. He relatively trusts organizations, not always assuming (like he does in Captain America: Civil War) that people will act on their own agendas over doing what is right.

However, the whole point of Steve's stance in Civil War is that doing things "by the book" is not always the answer. He argued that people will prioritize personal wants and needs over the good of others and that the Avengers could not be bound by the decisions of those people in charge.

Many times, people who do not know the character of Captain America will automatically think of him the way he is presented in X-Men '97 — which, to be clear, is not an incorrect portrayal, just different from the one fans are familiar with. They assume he is exactly what Rogue called him early in their interaction: "America's top cop."

And though Steve Rogers does not truly embody that mindset at his core, it makes sense for him to do this within the context of X-Men '97's larger narrative of representing real-world discrimination and hate through anti-mutant sentiment. The show uses that assumed version of Steve to prove this point, and since this is an X-Men story, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

This is not the Evans Captain America fans know from live-action, nor is it even Keaton's various takes on the character throughout two seasons of What If...? The X-Men '97 version of Captain America is intentionally different, playing a side role in this story that represents more than what is just on screen.

Episodes 1-7 of X-Men '97 are available to stream on Disney+.

- In This Article: X-Men 97
Release Date
March 20, 2024
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- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.