A rejected plot for the third Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War, might be the storyline for the first Disney+ series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That is, of course, if you’re willing to believe internet rumors.
Warning: Possible spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ahead.
On Wednesday, on the always reliable, not at all sketchy 4chan (here’s a Reddit post in case you’d rather not venture into 4chan), an anonymous user shared some bullet points regarding the alleged plot and story of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which has kicked off production in Atlanta. There is no evidence of credibility on the anonymous user’s part, but on their own, the leaks are some of the most interesting for a top secret franchise project.
In short, the plot for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will see the U.S. government unwilling to recognize Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) as the new Captain America. In his place, the government chooses John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new American hero, endowing him the name U.S. Agent. This leads Sam to align with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) to fight crime as vigilantes.
But as Sam begins to respect John Walker, Walker is implanted with a chip in his brain by Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) that makes him turn rogue. And Zemo’s got his sights planting that same chip into the rest of the population. That’s when Sam, Bucky, and Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp) team up to stop him.
That whole bit with the mind chips has a direct connection to Civil War. Before Captain America: Civil War became one of the biggest movies of 2016, Marvel Studios wasn’t certain Robert Downey Jr. would star in the picture. A back-up plan was hatched: Instead of Mark Millar’s Civil War crossover, the third Captain America could be an adaptation of a 1976 comic by Jack Kirby that involved a device called the “Madbomb.” Essentially a mind control device that functioned like a bomb, the Madbomb “detonates” and manipulates nearby people.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2016, we learned the “Madbomb” was almost the story of the movie that would become Captain America: Civil War.
“There was a period where we did discuss a third act that revolved around the Madbomb from Cap mythology,” director Anthony Russo said. “It didn’t have anything to do with Civil War, and if we couldn’t get Downey — in the very, very early conversations before we nailed him — somebody pitched the idea of a third-act that revolved around the Madbomb, which makes people crazy. It almost like zombifies them — but not literally.”
Added Joe Russo, “The notion of the Madbomb would have been Cap having to fight civilians and how he would he handle that … We were always trying to put him into these interesting moral conundrums because of his nature. That would have made a compelling third act because if civilians are the antagonists, how could he stop them without killing them?”
The “Madbomb” plot sounds interesting, but certainly not the game-changer for the MCU that Civil War ultimately became. (It is perfect for a post-Avengers: Endgame event series for a subscription streaming service, however.) In the end, the Madbomb was dropped when Downey and Marvel Studios came to an agreement to allow Downey to co-star in Captain America: Civil War.
The leaks also reveal several more actors for the series. William Hurt is said to reprise his role as Thaddeus Ross, Alfre Woodard as Miriam Shape, and Martin Freeman as Everett Ross. Tim Roth is said to cameo as his villain from The Incredible Hulk, and Florence Pugh may also appear as Yelena Belova, a character she will introduce in 2020’s Black Widow.
Bonnie Wright is said to play Rachel Leighton, an ally of Baron Zemo. In the comics, Rachel is the second to become the villain Diamondback after Willis Stryker. Willis was played by Erik LaRay Harvey in the Netflix series Luke Cage.
It’s also worth noting that the same leak claims Chris Evans will reprise his role as old man Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, “possibly to give moral advice to Sam and Bucky.” Whether any of this turns out to be true remains to be seen, but at the very least, this alleged leaker knows his MCU history.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will begin streaming on Disney+ in 2020.