Unveiling the Explosive Plot of New Captain America 4: Solving the Enigma Behind a Key Thunderbolts Character

Marvel Studios has revealed new details for Phase 5’s Captain America: Brave New World, which answer a huge mystery concerning Thunderbolts*’ line-up.

Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson in Captain America Brave New World

New plot details concerning Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Brave New World answer why one curious character has been included in the line-up of the first Thunderbolts team in the MCU. Captain America: Brave New World was confirmed to be in development shortly after the release of Phase 4’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series on Disney+. The upcoming project will mark Anthony Mackie’s theatrical debut as the MCU’s new Captain America, with Tim Blake Nelson, Danny Ramirez, Liv Tyler, and Carl Lumbly returning alongside him in Captain America: Brave New World’s cast, reprising their roles from previous MCU installments.

Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Brave New World is expected to pit Sam Wilson’s Captain America against Samuel Sterns’ Leader, with Nelson making his first MCU appearance 16 years after his transformation in The Incredible Hulk. The Leader won’t be Brave New World’s only antagonist, however, as new plot details revealed at 2024’s CinemaCon confirm Sam Wilson will also butt heads with the newly-elected President of the United States, Thaddeus Ross. Following William Hurt’s tragic passing, Harrison Ford will assume the role of President Ross, and he has an interesting proposition for Sam Wilson that could answer major Phase 5 questions.

President Ross Wants To Rebuild The Avengers In Captain America: Brave New World

Sam Wilson in his new Captain America costume in Captain America Brave New World

As well as revealing first-look images showcasing Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Harrison Ford’s President Ross in Captain America: Brave New World, Marvel Studios also displayed footage from the upcoming project to the audience in attendance. The footage addresses Ross’ recast, sees Lumbly’s Isaiah Bradley replace the Winter Soldier as a mindless super soldier, and features Sam Wilson’s Captain America in action. However, this footage also includes one important plot point that informs several upcoming projects in the MCU’s Phases 5 and 6, as President Ross approaches Sam Wilson with the idea of bringing together a new team of Avengers.

Since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame marked the deaths and retirements of several original members of the MCU’s Avengers team, the status of the group has remained unclear. Many new potential members have been introduced throughout the Multiverse Saga, but there hasn’t yet been any sign of them coming together to form a new team. This is set to change in Captain America: Brave New World, though it’s still unclear whether Sam Wilson will accept the responsibility of bringing together and leading the superhero team. Should Sam Wilson decline, however, President Ross’ ambitions could come to fruition in another Phase 5 project.

Captain America: Brave New World’s Plot Reveal Answers Why The Thunderbolts Form

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

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige unveiled the cast of Phase 5’s upcoming Thunderbolts* at the D23 Expo in September 2022, with the team set to be composed of villains and antiheroes from the MCU’s history. However, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes is something of an odd one out among the group, as he has well-and-truly renounced his villainous career as the Winter Soldier after recovering from HYDRA’s conditioning in Wakanda. New plot details surfacing about Captain America: Brave New World at CinemaCon could answer exactly why he is included in Thunderbolts*, however, despite him having moved on from his villainous past.

The MCU’s first Thunderbolts team comprises Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier, Yelena Belova’s Black Widow, Alexei Shostakov’s Red Guardian, John Walker’s US Agent, Ava Starr’s Ghost, Antonia Dreykov’s Taskmaster and Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.

Captain America: Brave New World’s new footage reveals that President Ross wants a Captain America-like figure to lead the new Avengers team, just as Steve Rogers did for the original line-up. If Sam Wilson refuses this proposition, Bucky Barnes is perhaps the next best thing to Captain America, as he is also a super soldier. The Thunderbolts could be President Ross’ attempt at forming an Avengers team of his own, without Sam Wilson’s involvement, and his desire to have Captain America lead the group explains why Barnes is recruited. However, this may create major problems for the Thunderbolts’ inaugural adventure.

There Are Problems With Having Bucky Barnes Lead The Thunderbolts

Bucky Barnes looking exhausted at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes has always been seen in action alongside a version of Captain America in the MCU, first Steve Rogers, and later Sam Wilson in The Falcon and the Winter SoldierBarnes acts as the grounded and gritty sidekick, so it’s difficult to imagine him leading his own team, particularly one as volatile as the Thunderbolts. The upcoming team includes unpredictable characters such as Ghost, Taskmaster and US Agent, the latter of which has already engaged in battle with Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson on more than one occasion, which could spell bad news for the Thunderbolts team.

While Bucky Barnes may be the Captain America-like figure that President Ross is looking for to lead the Thunderbolts, he is far from heroic enough to lead the actual Avengers team. This could give weight to theories that the Thunderbolts will be transformed into a version of Marvel Comics’ Dark Avengers by the end of their maiden mission, and this team could be far better suited to someone like the former Winter Soldier. While Bucky Barnes’ inclusion in Thunderbolts* may be answered by these Captain America: Brave New World reveals, there are still many questions that need to be answered.

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