Avengers: Endgame appeared to set up Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, taking on the Captain America mantle after Steve Rogers handed him the shield.
However, Marvel never likes to do things the simple way and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier surprised fans by having him give up the shield, donating it to the Smithsonian Institution in the very first scenes. But it didn’t stay there long either.
By the end of episode one, John Walker had been unveiled to the world as the new Captain America. We saw the new Cap clash with Wilson and Bucky Barnes in episode two, with the duo refusing to work with him to uncover who’s dealing in Super Soldier serum.
Barnes certainly holds a grudge against Wilson for refusing the shield, resulting in it landing in Walker’s hands. When he was asked by James Rhodes why he gave it up, Wilson said it “feels like it belongs to someone else.” We have a feeling he didn’t mean that “someone else” to be a total stranger, mind.
A new Marvel fan theory though claims that the “someone else” could well be none other than Sam Wilson himself. Confused? Let us explain.
If Wilson’s reasoning for giving up the shield sounded familiar, it’s because he said the shield felt like “someone else’s” when he first got his hands on it.
In case you need reminding, the final moments of Endgame saw Cap choose Wilson as his successor. After he returned from living a life with Peggy Carter in an alternate timeline, Cap handed his friend the shield and asked him how it felt.
“Like it’s someone else’s,” Wilson replied, leading Cap to say: “It isn’t.”
The straightforward reading of this exchange is that Cap’s response is just confirming his decision that Wilson will be the new Captain America and, therefore, the shield is now his and not someone else’s.
A new theory from Reddit user smacksaw argues that an alternate reading of the scene is that Cap’s response was because the shield really wasn’t “someone else’s” – it originally belonged to Wilson in an alternate timeline.
We know that when Cap decided to stay in the past, he was living in an alternate timeline, rather than just hiding in plain sight in the main MCU timeline. He then crossed back over to the main timeline for the shield handover.
We also know that he’d have had to find a new shield somewhere as Thanos broke his and he didn’t go back in time with a repaired shield. So it stands to reason that the shield he handed to Wilson was from this alternate timeline he’d been staying in.
The theory goes that this shield didn’t actually belong to that timeline’s Steve Rogers, but actually that timeline’s Sam Wilson. It’s not an outlandish call since in the comics, Wilson has donned the Captain America mantle after Rogers retired.
Maybe that timeline’s Rogers decided to call it a day (or never take on the mantle) when he saw a clone of his take his girl. Or maybe when our Cap told him all the crap coming his way with HYDRA and whatnot, he just decided to live the quiet, simple life.
It also adds up since the shield that Cap gives Wilson is different to his original shield, so could well have come from a different time. Perhaps that timeline’s Tony Stark just decided to go with a (slightly) different design.
Of course, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one and, most likely, the exchange between Cap and Falcon is meant to be taken on face value.
Marvel does have a penchant for retcons and flipping your expectations on previous movies, so with the multiverse eventually coming to the MCU, you can never really rule anything out though.
And if we’ve ruined a surprise future twist, sorry about that.
Avengers: Endgame and almost every other MCU movie is available to watch on Disney+, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs every Friday on Disney+.
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