*WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER*
Yesterday, saw Marvel Studios release the finale for Falcon & Winter Soldier and cemented that Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson has moved from the Falcon persona to taking on the Captain America mantle from Steve Rogers. It was also reported that the studio isn’t wasting any time and has assigned screenwriters for Captain America 4 with Falcon’s Malcolm Spellman and Dalan Musson said to be working on a script.
I’m getting a strong feeling that Don Cheadle’s War Machine series Armor Wars could plant seeds for this upcoming Captain American sequel alongside the film’s potential threat. If you remember we saw Don Cheadle appear as Rhodey in the first episode of Falcon & Winter Soldier when Wilson donates the shield to the Smithsonian exhibit. I don’t think it was an accident that the two shared a moment in that first episode as Falcon and Armor Wars might be connected leading up to the events in Captain America 4.
Armor Wars will see James Rhodes crackdown on a wave of Stark technology getting into the black market and allows him to interact with a heap of Iron Man villains that likely wouldn’t have made the cut in feature films. Baddies such as Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, and others could finally get their live-action adaption alongside other canon-fodder characters. There could also be a link towards the introduction of Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, who will be leading her own series Ironheart.
Armor Wars’ villains could be familiar faces with Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer, who featured predominately in the comic book the show is based on and if I had to guess could easily step-in for Norman Osborn in the Dark Avengers. You might remember that he turned War Machine into Iron Patriot for Iron Man 2, the armor was used by Osborn and briefly by Sharon Carter in the comics. I wouldn’t be shocked if Hammer is recruited into the Thunderbolts potentially combining Dark Avengers with Thunderbolts into a single entity. Traditionally, Baron Zemo is the leader but there are been multiple incarnations and the MCU does it’s own thing.
Speaking of Carter, it was revealed in Falcon & Winter Soldier that she was the mysterious arms dealer The Power Broker and is now going to use her newly returned access to government weapons programs for her benefit. There is a good shot that Sharon and Justin might join forces to get their hands on Stark’s armor tech.
Zemo crushed The Power Broker’s attempt to recreate the super-soldier serum and could attempt to help take-out villains that want to get their hands on Stark’s armor tech as well. At the end of Falcon, we see Zemo’s butler killing a batch of Flag Smashers that were heading to The Raft, suggesting that he’s still dangerous even behind bars.
We currently don’t know what Marvel is planning to do with Captain America 4, but it’s worth noting that the last installment, Captain America: Civil War, was essentially an Avengers event. There is a good chance that with Falcon & Winter Soldier out of the way they can now give Sam Wilson a massive blockbuster as he takes over the Captain America franchise.
One of the main attributes of the Captain America films is that Steve Rogers has fellow superheroes working alongside him with Bucky/Peggy Carter/The Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger, Black Widow/Falcon/Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Bucky/Falcon/Scarlet Witch/Hawkeye/Ant-Man/Sharon Carter in Captain America: Civil War. Seeing Rhodey and Sam further develop their relationship or even partner up in the future wouldn’t be surprising given their military backgrounds and both taking on superhero mantles.
Could the next Captain America film also become some Avengers event movie like Civil War?
A new Avengers roster is being assembled before our eyes by Marvel with Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, Rhodey is essentially taking up the Iron Man mantle from Tony Stark, Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster aka Lady Thor, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova becoming Black Widow, Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk, a new yet-to-be announced Black Panther for the sequel shooting this summer, Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop aka Hawkeye, and Danny Ramirez’s Joaquin Torres taking Sam’s spot as Falcon. How this might intersect with plans for the Young Avengers and Thunderbolts remains to be seen.
Armor Wars dropping hints for the Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers to appear in future films like Captain America 4 could be great way to have things escalate for Sam’s first film as the new Cap and sort of amp things up in comparison to the Disney+ show.
Wyatt Russell’s John Walker becoming U.S. Agent remains a bit of mystery if he’s going to be part of the MCU’s version of Thunderbolts or will become a pawn of The Serpent Society (faux title for Captain America 3), Zola, and the Mandarin’s Ten Rings. It likely comes down to the intentions of his new boss Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Julia was originally supposed to appear first as Val in Black Widow before the pandemic delayed the film’s release from May 2020 to July 2021. There are already suggestions that she’ll have some connection to Yelena joining the Thunderbolts but that needs to be confirmed. It’s confirmed that Florence Pugh is reprising the role in the Hawkeye series that could also have links to Thunderbolts.
Walker could return for Armor Wars as he teamed-up with The Jury and that group could be replaced with whoever ends up getting bootleg Stark-tech, potentially Val and Justin Hammer. I’d personally like to see The Serpent Society because they would make an excellent surrogate for a modern version of HYDRA and give Sam plenty of villains to battle for the next couple of years.
Thunderbolt Ross might become a very important figure in the very near future and there is a possibility he might appear in Armor Wars given that Rhodey could be activated under Ross’ supervision.
It could be interesting to see the new Avengers going head-to-head against a competing team like the Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers, who would likely be made up multiple villains selected by Thunderbolt Ross at The Raft. Ross himself is a member of a recent version of the team as Red Hulk, a character aspect that could be explored in the She-Hulk series. He’s always been lurking behind the scenes as a government stooge and helped create the Abomination. Having Ross spearheading Thunderbolts as his namesake would make a lot of sense and it’s starting to feel like Phase 4 is leading up to the two teams clashing on the big screen.