The final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Falcon officially taking the mantle of the next Captain America. But the reason was completely different in the comics as compared to what is shown in the series. There is one similarity here. Sam Wilson was selected to be the next Captain America for one reason – his strong friendship with Steve Rogers and his career as a genuine hero more than earned him the right to wield the shield in Rogers’ mind.
But the circumstances related to the change into this new role were completely different. There is an interesting distinction between the first impressions that were had, considering how both the versions of Sam Wilson had different audiences. As seen in the MCU, Sam Wilson struggled with taking on the shield. He completely gave it up at the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But Sam determined overtime to take back the shield in spite of its complicated legacy and what others might think.
Sam Wilson’s debut as Captain America happened at a point where Steve Rogers was already gone. This was completely public. The first time he used the shield and wore the stars and stripes happened while taking down the Flag-Smashers in New York. This was instantly followed by his touching down to crowds of reporters with various questions. Also, his challenge to a GRC representative for being better and his words speaking about the complexity of taking on the new identity compulsorily became a televised speech for the world to see.
Overall, it makes sense for Sam’s debut in MCU as Captain America to go with this very public debut. This is because MCU has always striven to carry grounded depictions and the Disney+ series spoke to some heavy real-world parallels. This is not bad. But it is different from how Falcon became Captain America in the comics in Captain America #25. Captain America #25 was written by Rick Remender with artists Carlos Pacheco and Stuart Immonen.
At that time in the Marvel Universe, Steve Rogers was still there. But he had also lost his Super-Soldier Serum effects and had aged rapidly. So, Falcon was chosen by Steve to wield the shield. But Sam made his debut within the walls of Avengers Mansion. The audience getting to see him as the new Captain America for the first time was simply the Avengers themselves. All the friends and allies were gathered by Rogers to witness the momentous event. Here, no speech was given by Sam.
In terms of Sam Wilson’s comics version, the perceptions of the public came later. It is interesting that Marvel Studios decided to change how it all went down in the comics. The debut of Falcon in MCU as the new Captain America was visible to the public. Except for Bucky Barnes, it looks like the rest of the Avengers got to know about it along with the rest of the world. Sam Wilson publicly defended his choice to become Captain America in terms of the inevitable racially charged critiques and negativity. This is definitely a dynamic way to go for the MCU.
But there is something to be said for having that first impression in the comics. By just being with Sam’s fellow heroes, friends, and allies, it created a more positive foundation. The MCU’s Sam Wilson could have found confidence before making his debut in the new role. In any situation, it will be interesting to see what the new Captain America will do next in the MCU since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has come to an end.
Directed by Kari Skogland, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on March 19, 2021, and ran for six episodes till April 23. It is a part of MCU’s Phase 4. The miniseries features Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St-Pierre, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the lead roles.