The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduces the MCU’s new Captain America in John Walker, does this mean that he’s automatically an Avenger?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has revealed John Walker as the new Captain America in the MCU, but does this mean that, like Steve Rogers, he is also an Avenger? Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) was poised to take on the mantle as the Star-Spangled Avenger as set-up at the end of Avengers: Endgame when Steve specifically chose him to be his successor. Ultimately, however, Sam didn’t think he was up for the job and decided to give the Captain America shield to the U.S. Government to be added to the Smithsonian exhibit in the show’s episode 1. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the Government planned to announce Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new wielder of the iconic shield.
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After the cliffhanger ending in its first week, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier provided more details as to who this new Captain America is in episode 2, “The Star-Spangled Man.” It’s revealed that he’s a decorated military man who idolized Steve and what he stood for. However, it’s clear from the get-go that he doesn’t share the same sentiments that his predecessor had about embodying the superhero persona. For starters, it’s more of a PR stunt for him, functioning as a propaganda tool for the government for their own vested interest — something that Steve actively resisted when he was first launched in the ’40s. But as much as Sam and Bucky don’t like Walker, he is the new official Captain America and, for what it’s worth, people seem to love him.
With government and public backing, easing into the role has been fairly easy for Walker. Now that he’s Captain America, does this mean that he’s automatically an Avenger as it was with Steve? Not necessarily. There are several ways to define who’s an Avenger in the MCU. Firstly, there are the original six who were gathered by Nick Fury after Loki stole the Tesseract: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye assembled for the first time for the Battle of New York. This line-up held up coming into Avengers: Age of Ultron, but at the end of that film, new members were brought in, including War Machine, Falcon, Wanda, and Vision. At this point, certain founding heroes supposedly retired from active duty after Ultron’s defeat like Tony Stark and Hawkeye, while Thor and Bruce Banner went off-world. Despite this, they are still considered Avengers who were ready to suit up once duty called. So while the Avengers broke up in Captain America: Civil War, Team Captain America members still had their Avengers membership, hence why they were all in to fight Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
The aforementioned heroes were the ones officially inducted as Avengers, with Spider-Man a belated inclusion when Iron Man knighted him while they were on their way to Titan with Doctor Strange. By the time Endgame rolled out, everyone who participated in the final battle essentially became an honorary Avenger through Captain America’s “Avengers, Assemble” line. As the leader of the MCU premier team, Steve called the shots, and everyone who stood against Thanos beside him and the rest of the official Avenger line-up could be considered part of the team, regardless of their previous affiliations like the Guardians of the Galaxy and/or base of operations like Captain Marvel whose adventures are in the cosmos.
Walker inherited the Captain America title and shield but he doesn’t fit any of these other considerations to be regarded as an Avenger. At this point in the MCU, there’s also no mention of the superhero team assembling, with many central members of the Avengers tackling challenges solo. There’s no urgency to induct Walker into the roster if that’s what the government is gunning for. Walker’s Captain America is not an Avenger now, and based on where the story for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is going, he may not ever have the chance to be one. By the end of the Disney+ series, Sam will more likely become the Star-Spangled Avenger, which means that he could be the next leader of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Until then, Walker can enjoy his time with the shield.
More: Why Bucky Is So Angry Sam Gave Up Captain America’s Shield
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- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
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