MoviesCaptain America Has Officially Quit Being Captain America
There may have been more to the ending of Civil War than we thought.
The Captain America movies—like most Marvel movies—are a lot of fun, but they rarely leave anything open to interpretation. These are not movies that cut to credits with Hawkeye's arrow spinning on a table, Inception-style, making you wonder if the Ed Norton Incredible Hulk film was a dream or not. Captain America: Civil War would seem to be no exception. At the end of that movie, the new status quo is very clear: The Avengers are split down the middle, and everyone on Captain America's team is now in hiding, officially fugitives from the law. However, the Russo Brothers—who directed Civil War and are responsible for shepherding the Marvel Cinematic Universe right on through the two-part Avengers finale—suggest that maybe we should've read into a scene a bit more.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the directors state that, towards the film's end, when Captain America drops his shield at a crucial moment, the implication is that he's done being Captain America.
"I think him dropping that shield is him letting go of that identity,” Joe Russo told the Post. “[It’s] him admitting that certainly the identity of Captain America was in conflict with the very personal choice that he was making.”
Of course, the filmmakers acknowledge that Captain America will eventually show up again to help in the fight against the ultimate threat posed by the Marvel long game represented by Thanos and the Infinity Stones, but that's a few years out. What will Steve Rogers be in the meantime, if not Captain America? Odds are, probably nothing—the ending of Civil War is a nice way of taking the character off the board and letting him cook for a bit before trotting him out for the grand finale of Avengers: Infinity War. But there are other options: In the comics, Steve Rogers has at times taken on other identities when he no longer felt the title of Captain America suited his mission, like the stretch of comics in the '70s when he took on the name Nomad, for example. Or, it could also be the opportunity for someone else to try on the Stars and Stripes. Like The Falcon, or Bucky—both things that have also happened in the comic books.
This is all just a natural part of the superhero life cycle. Every hero, if they stick around long enough, has one of the following happen to him or her:
- They'll die (and then un-die).
- They'll quit (and then un-quit).
- They'll have some aspect of their personal histories wiped away from existence by some sort of grand cosmic or metaphysical threat best left unquestioned (hrmmmghhhhhuuughhhhh).
If you want an idea of how common these events are, Spider-Man has done all three, more than once.
For now though, it seems like Steve Rogers is merely one of us. A civilian; an anonymous face in the crowd, checking Twitter, sharing memes, and waiting for Black Panther to drop.