Steve Rogers passed the shield and mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson in the final minutes of Avengers: Endgame, but Sam's new series makes it clear that he's hesitant to take over as the iconic superhero. At the start of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam is hesitant to take up the Captain America mantle. It makes total sense why he'd question his future as the hero, but the premiere episode ends with a reveal that shed a whole new light on the situation, proving Sam right to doubt the validity and purpose of Captain America.
WARNING: This story contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier! Continue reading at your own risk...
In the closing moments of the first episode, Sam turns on the news to see a press conference in which a politician introduces a new, white Captain America, who we all know to be John Walker. The new Cap is carrying the Shield that Sam gave to the Smithsonian when he opted not to take over the mantle. In fact, that same politician told Sam that he was making the right decision by giving up the shield earlier in the episode.
The reveal is a gut-punch to Sam, but it didn't really surprise him, according to head writer and executive producer Malcolm Spellman.
"The reason it happened is the doubt that Sam would naturally have in this country, if not the world," Spellman told TVLine. "Being a Black man, he knows how he's viewed and he knows the electricity that would come from him carrying those stars and stripes. You meet his family, and [they] already have opinions on it — you're hearing some of it in jokes, but it's very pointed. A Black man being betrayed by his country I don't think is a surprising thing to Sam or any of our viewers, but it is powerful because it gets to the heart of Sam's doubt. And how he copes with that doubt over the series is going to determine who he is moving forward in the MCU."
Throughout the rest of the series, Sam will wrestle with the his country's rejection of him and how that shapes his view of becoming Captain America.
What did you think of that final reveal in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? How do you think it will affect Sam going forward? Let us know in the comments!