When the next Captain America movie hits the big screen, Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson will be donning the red-white-and-blue. One of the many announcements to come out of the Marvel Studios Hall H Panel at San Diego Comic-Con was Captain America: New World Orderwhich will be released on May 3, 2024. Another surprise announcement was the much-hyped Lightning boltswhich closes Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on July 26, 2024, two months after Captain America 4. While Marvel loves to remind fans how each of its works exists in a connected universe, there are a few key ways that Captain America: New World Order can lead directly to Lightning bolts.
When Steve Rogers passed his shield to Sam Wilson in his final moments Avengers: Endgame, the overwhelming assumption was that Falcon had graduated to Captain America status. However, this was proven wrong when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Disney+. The six-episode season followed Sam and Bucky Barnes as they struggled with the legacy of the shield. Also notable was the introduction of John Walker, aka US Agent, who was chosen by the government to replace Steve Rogers.
Like those watching Falcon and winter soldier you know, this didn’t go as planned. American Agent was stripped of his rank after publicly murdering a member of the Flagsmashers. However, John Walker ended up being recruited by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, for reasons that remain unknown… at least for now. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see American Agent, along with The Winter Soldier and Sharon Carter, return for Captain America: New World Order. Sharon’s role as a Power Broker should continue in the new film, though she likely won’t be the main antagonist. Whether it’s one person or a team, Captain America and American Agent will find themselves on the same side of this fight, and the results should be the ultimate setup for the MCU Thunderbolts.
We’ve already seen Valentina make out with Yelena Belova in the post-credits scene Black Widowso he’s another possible character Captain America: New World Order could leverage. This was revealed by the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige Lightning bolts would star new characters that fans haven’t had the privilege of meeting yet, but didn’t specify if they’d debut in Lightning bolts. What if they showed up with the US agent and Yelena Captain America: New World Order?
This is all set up Lightning bolts, where Marvel could decide to go the original route with the team being made up of villains masquerading as heroes, or another of its comic iterations where it’s a government-sanctioned team made up of heroes and semi-reformed villains. There are also rumors that the Winter Soldier could be a member of the Thunderbolts, so there’s another natural connection between the two films.
Fans may have initially complained that there wasn’t a cohesive story or vision for Phase 4 and beyond, but as we learn there’s a bigger plan at play. This includes the Captain America angle of the MCU, where the Thunderbolts can enter and then branch out to establish themselves in the public eye. The fun will be figuring out who makes the team and where we’ll see each of these characters next.
Captain America: New World Order premieres on May 3, 2024, followed by Lightning bolts on July 26, 2024.
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