One of the best parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the connectivity behind it all. A character can be introduced in one film and then go on to star in an entirely different franchise. It’s not just those big moves, though; the little details are just as special. This was exemplified in Hawkeye's stage tribute to Captain America in the form of Rogers: The Musical.
The in-universe broadway show made its debut in Hawkeye, where it served as one of the first scenes that audiences saw. Eventually, the giant billboards for the show out in New York City are showcased, emphasizing how big of a show it is for the world.
Fans were thrilled when it showed up in the first minutes of Spider-Man: No Way Home. As Peter is swinging away from the chaos on the streets, with MJ in tow, the vivid yellow billboard can be seen for a brief second.
That Broadway musical isn’t the only focus that Captain America has received this year; however, as there was some heavy-duty drama when it came to that iconic shield and the title behind it.
Captain America: The Musical
Twitter user @Lunwi88 has brought forth an amusing and intriguing theory as to how all of the controversies around that iconic Shield could have affected the now-infamous broadway performance.
They mention that they think that the Rogers’s musical may have been “tainted… [by] the John Walker incident:”
“I have a personal head canon that the Rogers musical was originally titled “Captain America” but was rebranded after the John Walker incident tainted the name.”
No doubt readers remember Wyatt Russell’s John Walker. After all, the man and his uniform still grace memes across the web. The last time viewers saw him, he was receiving a US Agent makeover. However, it's his incident abroad that’s of importance here.
While in Latvia, after a Flag Smasher kills his former partner, Walker snaps and beats one of them to death with that red, white, and blue shield. That image, spread across all of social media, significantly hurts the title of Captain America.
After all, Rogers: The Musical for all intents and purposes probably should have used the famous title—it is fairly more marketable. Broadway isn’t the only thing to avoid using that name. The new and improved Statue of Liberty seen in Spider-Man: No Way Home also continently kept the name out of its promotion.
The Same Wilson Factor
What about Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson? With him assuming the Captain America mantle, shouldn’t the world be embracing the title once again?
While audiences may be happy about the status quo change, the world is still divisive. Isaiah Bradley wasn’t spouting nonsense; having a black Cap, sadly, won’t sit right with people, even after the whole Walker debacle.
It will likely stay that way until Anthony Mackie’s Captain America 4 gets released; a film which will likely further explore those issues.
The Kink In The Shield
Of course, this is all just fun theorizing and personal headcanon. Still, there is a slight hiccup to this train of thought: if the name Captain America hits the wrong chord for the Nation, would the iconic shield not also be drenched with controversy? What’s the difference? One could argue the title is more directly associated with a person while the shield still embodies a broader legacy; retaining the history and respect that Steve Rogers brought to it.
With all in regards to the John Walker drama, it was the shield that was soaked in Flag Smasher blood. At the end of the day, everyone knows not every marketing decision makes perfect sense.
For those that want to see Rogers: The Musical, Hawkeye is now airing in its entirety on Disney+. It’s cameo can be seen in theaters worldwide within Spider-Man: No Way Home.
To relive all of that John Walker ugliness, fans can aim their attention back to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.