New Captain America is The Falcon & an African-American Cap is Exactly What the Films Need
Continuing the tradition that began this week with the announcement that Thor would now be a woman, Marvel has dropped another bombshell on the fans. As far as the comics are concerned, Steve Rogers is stepping away from the illustrious vibranium shield and handing it over to another beloved superhero. Sam Wilson aka the Falcon will be Captain America from now on and while there are no plans to incorporate this in the films just yet, Marvel really needs to consider it as a viable option for the future.
The announcement was made on Wednesday night's episode of The Colbert Report and, quite honestly, it's a lot less shocking than the female Thor reveal when you think about it. After all, Captain America: The Winter Soldier had an all-star cast of returning actors and heroes, and newcomer to the franchise Anthony Mackie not only managed to hold his own but slotted his way into the Marvel family like he had always belonged there. Add that to the fact that Mackie is a huge Falcon fan boy who was looking forward to giving children the same kind of representation in the superhero genre that he'd always longed for as a child and is it any wonder that he became one of America's sweethearts when the film came out? He's even slotted to star in an unnamed film with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as one of the co-leads.
And that's why Marvel honestly needs to start thinking about a film in which Sam Wilson becomes Captain America. More visibility in comic books is an amazing thing, and I've talked at length about how diversity in comics is still a problem, but it's the Marvel films that bring these characters and stories to a wider audience. If Sam Wilson's tenure as Captain America is a success, then isn't it time to introduce all of America to the first African-American Cap?
Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are apparently considered Marvel's "Big Three" of superheroes and for a person of color to break into that set is a big thing. DC's own "Big Three", Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, remain an all-white powerhouse, so Marvel would have a leg up on their competitors in sheer diversity alone. Now would be a perfect time to start dropping hints in the film that it might be time for someone else to take up the shield. At this point, Chris Evans has appeared in three Marvel films, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, and Captain America: Winter Soldier, with his contract still in place for more movies.
However, Evans has expressed a desire to start incorporating more directing projects into his future and going from the headlining star of the Captain America films to the secondary character of a Steve Rogers who is still Steve Rogers if not currently Captain America would give him time to do that. At the very least, Marvel could test the audience reaction by coming up with a movie plot that enables the Falcon to wear the costume for a while and see how well he does. My current guess is amazing, considering how easily he went from being a man that Steve just met in the park to being one of the few people in the world Steve could trust absolutely.
Of course, Sam Wilson is actually the second person to become Captain America on a presumably permanent basis after Bucky Barkes aka the Winter Soldier, so Marvel might be leaving the door open to explore that comic plot line before they get around to Sam's stint. I wouldn't mind that as long as we get some assurance that we'll see Anthony Mackie wearing the Captain America costume one day. I love Chris Evans and Steve Rogers as much as any other person, but as Mackie himself pointed out there are still children out there going to see these movies and seeing no major superheroes who look like them. Isn't it time to take the next step in changing that?
Image: Marvel; falconbigbutt/Tumblr