Sam Wilson’s Complete MCU Timeline, From Falcon To Captain America

Introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson has become a long-tenured hero of the MCU and the Avenger’s new de-facto leader.

A split image of Sam Wilson in his Falcon and Captain America suits in the MCU

Sam Wilson, the MCU’s current Captain America, may have started as a side character, but his long narrative journey has seen him rise to the presumed leader of the next Avengers team. Sam Wilson made his live-action debut in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which his quickly-formed connection with Steve Rogers pulled him into the world of superheroism. While he remained a strong supporting character for years after that, he was finally brought to the forefront with his own MCU Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Then, in Avengers: Endgame, Steve bestowed the title of Captain America on Wilson. While Sam is characterized by his strong will and determination to do what’s right, the MCU has also explored the complexities associated with the weight of responsibility and the power of legacy. Moreover, Sam Wilson is finally set to star in his own feature film, Captain America: Brave New World, which will explore his story even further.

Sam Wilson Serves In The US Air Force & Is Given His Iconic Wingsuit

Unspecified Late 2000s/Early 2010s

Sam Wilson speaking at a veteran support meeting in Captain America The Winter Soldier

Sam Wilson’s early military career as a pararescue airman in the US Air Force is never shown in the MCU, but his history and how he came to acquire his iconic suit is verbally covered. Exact dates aren’t given, but sometime in the years before his introduction in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson is given his iconic EXO-7 Falcon suit. The advanced suit is deployed in response to strong enemy anti-aircraft weaponry that makes traditional helicopters too risky.

Wilson is joined on dangerous missions by his combat partner, Riley, also sporting an EXO-7. Unfortunately, Riley is killed in action, and Sam leaves the service. Determined to continue helping, Sam is behind running support groups for veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD.

Sam Befriends Steve Rogers & Helps Fight Hydra

Spring 2014

Sam Wilson's Falcon with guns in Captain America The Winter Soldier

Steve Rogers meets Sam Wilson as the two are both out running in the Washington DC National Mall. Despite not knowing Sam well, Steve turns to Wilson for help when he and Natasha Romanoff go on the run in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Once Sam learns more about what’s going on, he decides to suit back up for the first time since leaving active duty to help fight back HYDRA, who has infiltrated SHIELD.

Despite lacking Super Soldier Serum like Steve, Sam’s expertise in aerial combat proves priceless as HYDRA infiltrators seize a Hellicarier and take off. In addition to building a relationship with Steve and Natasha, Sam also becomes acquainted with Nick Fury and the still-brainwashed Bucky Barnes. This is, of course, the defining set of events in Sam’s life as a superhero, setting him up for the rest of his MCU journey.

Sam Wilson Joins The Avengers

2015

Anthony Mackie as Falcon stands in the Avengers compound in Avengers: Age of Ultron

After the Avengers defeat Baron Strucker’s HYDRA cell at the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sam Wilson joins Steve and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for a party. There, Sam and Steve discuss their ongoing and unsuccessful attempts to find Bucky. Steve tries to convince Sam to join the Avengers, but Falcon refuses, not confident that he can handle what the team deals with.

Absent for the team’s conflict with Ultron, Sam appears after the Avengers’ victory as a member of the new Avengers team. Other new official members, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and War Machine, join him. This team is never seen in action as a unit on-screen, but it’s presumed they work together in the year leading up to the Sokovia Accords.

Sam Stands With Steve Against The Sokovia Accords

2016

Sam Wilson spreads his wings as the Falcon in Captain America Civil War

After operating as part of the new Avengers team for a year, Sam, Steve, Wanda, and other members of the team track down the villain and former HYDRA member Crossbones to Lagos. After the encounter results in significant collateral damage, the United Nations drafts the Sokovia Accords to keep an official record of superpowered individuals. The Avengers are divided on the issue, with Tony Stark leading those in favor of increased accountability and Steve Rogers leading those opposed.

Unsurprisingly, Sam sides with Steve. The members of “Team Cap” become fugitives for their refusal to sign the accords, and Sam is imprisoned on The Raft along with Scott Lang (Ant-Man), Clint Barton (Hawkeye), and Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch). Steve later breaks them out, and both sides of the Avengers divide clash in Germany. The team is left split until eventually reconciling years later to stop Thanos.

Sam Fends Off The Black Order & Battles Thanos’ Forces In Wakanda

2018

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff Black Widow Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson Falcon Avengers Infinity War

Two years after the Sokovia Accords divided the Avengers, Steve and his allies are still on the run as enemies of the state. However, when Thanos’ Black Order members Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight ambush Scarlet Witch and Vision, Natasha, Steve, and Sam show up to aid them. The team stays divided from Iron Man and the pro-Accord members for the rest of the movie.

Eventually, Sam, Steve, and several other heroes mount a final defense against Thanos in Wakanda to prevent him from acquiring his final Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone. The team makes a noble stand, fending off thousands of vicious Outrider aliens. However, Thanos succeeds, and his snap wipes out half of all life in the universe. Sam Wilson is among those “dusted.”

Sam Wilson’s Return & The Passing Of The Captain America Mantle

2023

Sam Wilson speaking to old Steve Rogers in Avengers Endgame

Like everyone else seemingly killed by Thanos’ snap, Sam Wilson remains absent for the five-year gap between the Avengers defeat and their undoing of the snap. Sam Wilson returns when Hulk performs his own snap with Infinity Stones from other timelines and joins the massive final battle at the Avengers’ Compoind in New York against a time-traveling Thanos from 2014.

After the Avengers and their allies succeed, the Infinity Stones are returned to their home timelines by Steve Rogers. In a shocking twist, Steve stays in the past to live a full life with Peggy Carter, showing back up in the present as an old man. No longer fit to fight as a hero, Steve bequeaths his shield and the title of Captain America to Sam Wilson.

Sam’s Uncertainty With & Eventual Acceptance Of Captain America

2024

Sam Wilson about to give up Captain America's shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

While Avengers: Endgame ends with Sam being given the shield, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series explores Sam’s self-doubt and initial unwillingness to follow in Steve’s footsteps. He initially believes that Steve made a mistake choosing him. Concerned about the nation’s willingness to accept a Black man as their national hero and worried that his lack of Super Solder Serum makes him unfit, he gives over the shield to the US government so they can pick someone else to wield it.

War hero John Walker takes up the mantle and is eventually given Super Soldier Serum to bring him on par with other super soldiers like Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. However, while John has the compact history to justify his position, he’s unable to keep his emotions in check and proves to be an over-violent inversion of everything the Shield stood for. Eventually, Sam reclaims the shield, accompanied by a brand new Vibranium-enforced Captain America suit gifted to him from Wakanda.

What’s Next For Sam Wilson’s Captain America?

A split image of Sam Wilson in his Captain America suit and the Captain America shield from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Sam Wilson will soon star in his own MCU feature film, Captain America: Civil War. Plot details are slim, but early footage shows Sam working with President Thaddeus Ross. In this first footage, it’s revealed that Sam will attempt to put a new Avengers team together after they’ve been missing from the franchise since Endgame. Beyond that, where Sam Wilson’s Captain America journey will take him is full of possibilities. More will be revealed in the lead-up to Captain America: Brave New World‘s release on February 14, 2025.

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