Not a lot is known about the recently announced Captain America 4, but here we'll cover what's known along with some healthy speculation. Following the conclusion of the explosive first season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, Marvel announced that showrunner Malcolm Spellman would be writing the fourth Cap film, along with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier staff writer Dalan Musson.
A SPOILER ALERT is in effect for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so continue reading at your own risk!
Prior to his work on the Disney+ hit, Spellman was a writer and co-executive producer on Fox's Empire and served as a consulting producer on the crime drama Truth Be Told. Musson had writing credit for the fifth episode of the show, Truth, which is generally considered the strongest episode of the season; Musson's previous credit was for Iron Sky: The Coming Race, an independent action film about moon Nazis and the Hollow Earth.
In the series, Sam Wilson, the chosen successor of Steve Rogers as Captain America, hands the shield to the Smithsonian and the U.S. government then gives it to John Walker, a White soldier, following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Wilson teams with Bucky Barnes, the former Winter Soldier on his own journey of redemption, to stop the Flag-Smashers, a group of terrorists bent on restoring the world order to that which existed before the return of billions of people from the Blip (Thanos' finger-snap purge), along the way encountering Walker, the new Captain America, and a few friends and foes from the past.
Who Might Star in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
The final episode of the series gives many potential casting options for a fourth Captain America film, which will most likely star Anthony Mackie as the newly-minted (and winged) Star-Spangled Man. A supporting role for Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes may be an option, as well as Wyatt Russell as John Walker. The veteran soldier was minted as a U.S. Agent in the finale's final moments, while Barnes has largely abandoned the Winter Soldier persona, possibly embracing a new identity as the White Wolf.
The film could also see the debut of Joaquin Torres as the new Falcon, played by Danny Ramirez. The comic source material establishes the character is given the wings after Wilson becomes the new Cap, in addition to a few alterations making him a bird-human hybrid. Given the more realistic and grounded approach the previous Captain America films, as well as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, have embraced, such a change seems unlikely, but may still be an avenue worth exploring.
Potential villains may include Daniel Bruhl's Baron Zemo, but given the casting of Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, sometimes known in the source material as Madame Hydra, that character and her machinations could be central to Captain America 4's plot. The Baron survived the series' run and was on the loose by the finale, so he could also be a source of trouble for Sam and friends in the future. Maybe he, like John Walker, could be pulled into the Contessa's orbit as part of her developing team?
The same may be said of Emily Van Camp as Sharon Carter; a continuation of her storyline from the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's post-credits scene could play well on the big screen, as her restoration as an American citizen and operative could have major impacts on her role as the Power Broker. Carter also could be a good candidate for the Contessa's team, as her knowledge of and experience with the seedier parts of the MCU could come in handy.
Speaking of that team, a potential Captain America 4 could see their genesis, possibly calling themselves the Secret Avengers or even the Thunderbolts, assuming the Contessa's intentions are villainous. That has not always been the case, and given U.S. Agent's history with such a team in the source material, it is possible that group of anti-heroes could become the MCU's version of the West Coast Avengers.
Rumors persist that Chris Evans is being courted by Marvel to return to the MCU as Steve Rogers, although the capacity of such a return is unknown, and Marvel is characteristically playing their cards close to the chest. It may be unlikely that Evans will appear in Captain America 4 given the film's potential focus on Mackie's Sam Wilson, but a flashback scene could be a possibility. However, depending on Marvel's long term plans for the MCU, there are several potential storylines in which Evans as Rogers could play a major role, including as a potential villain. Again, nothing is confirmed on this front.
What Story Could Be Told in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
One of the first comic arcs for Sam Wilson as Cap involved rescuing teenager Joaquin Torres from the clutches of the Sons of the Serpent, where he was experimented on by Karl Malus and became a bird-human hybrid. The two then teamed up to defeat the Serpent Society. The MCU version of Torres is an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force, but this storyline could be used in the film as the part of the origin of the new Falcon, as well as to introduce classic Marvel Comics villains like Viper and Sidewinder to the MCU, who themselves could become members of the Contessa's team.
Another possibility might be the 2016 Avengers: Standoff storyline, which could also serve as a re-introduction for Steve Rogers. In the story, Sam meets with an aged Steve and the two investigate the Kobik project which S.H.I.E.L.D. supposedly discarded. They follow a lead to a town in Connecticut and are later picked up by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Soon after they're joined by Bucky Barnes and rescue a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who informs them of a super-weapon hidden in the town that Baron Zemo and other villains are looking for. They then head to a bowling alley where the character Kobik uses her powers to restore Steve Rogers to his prime. This story would utilize several elements established in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and could help to solidify Sam Wilson's place as Captain America as, in the comics, Steve formally solidifies this publicly after his restoration.
Such a storyline could also lay groundwork for a potential adaptation of Secret Empire, in which Steve Rogers is revealed to have been a Hydra sleeper asset since childhood. The character of Kobik also has a role in Secret Empire, so their introduction in Captain America 4 could be pivotal. In that storyline, Sam helps lead Earth's heroes against a Hydra-ruled United States and resumes the role of Captain America after having abandoned it to become a symbol of hope against Hydra's tyranny.
Who Might Be Behind The Camera for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
No director has been attached as yet. Marvel has, lately, chosen lesser known directors for their upcoming films, with a few exceptions such as Sam Raimi for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, so it will be interesting to see how the studio's search process plays out.
There will be no shortage of willing directors clamoring for the chance to direct Captain America 4. One good possibility might be Kari Skogland who directed all six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Her kinetic style worked very well for action sequences, and she knows how to put together a scene to intensify emotional stakes just as well.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been highly praised by critics and audiences and, according to Disney+, the show's March 19 premiere was the streamer's most watched debut, beating out both Marvel's own WandaVision and The Mandalorian from Lucasfilm. Spellman built a nearly all-Black writers' room for the series, resulting in a show which highlighted the Black experience in America more than any previous superhero show or film and touched on multiple issues important to that community, including discriminatory lending practices and the Black contribution to America's military. Spellman likely may continue exploring Black issues in Captain America 4 using Sam Wilson's experience as the new Captain America as a springboard.
When Might We See Captain America 4?
The deal with Spellman and Musson appears to be in the early stages, so a full script may not yet exist. Unlike other upcoming film projects, Marvel has not yet set a concrete release date for Cap 4. It is most likely that the film will not be a part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but may be reserved to kick off Phase 5.
The MCU's Phase 4 slate includes Black Widow releasing July 9, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on September 3, Eternals on November 5, Spider-Man: No Way Home on December 17, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on March 25, 2022, Thor: Love and Thunder on May 6, 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on July 8, 2022, The Marvels on November 11, 2022, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, 2023, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, 2023, and Fantastic Four on an undisclosed date. Marvel Studios has reserved October 7, 2022, and July 28 and November 3, 2023 for films, so any of those may be for Captain America 4.