1. The “C” in Carter stands for “Character Development”
Her previous appearances in the MCU have mainly left Sharon stuck on the sidelines, which is understandable. After all, the films her character featured in also included Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and/or Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and everyone knows that there’s a limit to the number of women you can have on your screen at any one time. Now, however, director Kari Skogland has a chance to make up for lost time, making full use of Sharon’s genuine potential as a well-developed character. After all, being a fugitive must lead to some interesting stories, and another trailer clip shows Sharon more than holding her own in a fight. Here’s hoping that, this time around, impressive ass-kicking comes with a personality to match, which certainly seems more likely with a female director at the helm.
2. So… can we talk about Bucky’s trauma now?
Considering the fact that Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) PTSD was a key part of Iron Man 3, it’s puzzling that the even more prolonged and extreme trauma suffered by Bucky has been glossed over by comparison. The Captain America films give just enough to make you feel sorry for him, but not enough to let his character fully develop. And when he shows up in later films, brainwashing triggers removed, he’s positively chipper. This isn’t to say that Bucky’s every word and action has to revolve around his traumatic experiences, as that would be frankly insulting to real-life trauma survivors; but so would showing him cheerfully moving on as if nothing ever happened. And Sam, being a veteran, has a fair bit of violence and grief in his own backstory. It’s not too much of a stretch, then, to hope that trauma and recovery will be key themes of the show.
3. The First Black Captain America (The Other One)
As mentioned above, many on Earth-616 are unlikely to welcome a Black Captain America, just as some real-life viewers undoubtedly dislike Sam’s upgrading from Marvel Standard-Issue Black Sidekick to full-blown Protagonist. Enter Carl Lumbly, who is widely speculated to be playing the first Black Captain America according to Marvel canon, Isaiah Bradley. In a storyline inspired by the notorious Tuskegee syphilis study, Bradley is depicted as one of many Black American soldiers subjected to horrific experimentation in the 1940s, in attempts to recreate the serum that gave Steve his powers. With institutionalised racism playing a crucial role in his tragic story, Bradley would be an extremely timely character to introduce in the wake of 2020’s worldwide Black Lives Matter movement. His story would surely have a big impact on Sam, and could even affect his decision as to whether or not he should become Captain America himself.
And now, just for fun, here are a couple of possibilities that are very, very unlikely to become a reality, but which are doubtless nice for a lot of fans to imagine.
?. At Least One LGBTQ+ Main Character
With big studios always eager to hang onto their revenue from countries with large populations and homophobic governments, genuine representation for queer MCU fans is unlikely to become a reality any time soon. (No, the Group Therapy Man in Endgame doesn’t count.) Yet many fans have always interpreted Bucky and Steve’s relationship as a romantic one, so a little past queer love—requited or otherwise—wouldn’t be that hard to retcon in (just ask Rick Riordan.) They probably won’t, but it’s nice to imagine.
?. Take the MCU to Level Seven and Bring Back the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Yes, the show completely abandoned MCU canon in season six. Yes, all the actors have probably moved on. And yes, it’s repeatedly resurrected lynchpin Agent Phil Coulson is technically a robot now. And yet… so what? Plenty of fans, myself included, would love to see those two timelines reconciled again. It really isn’t too late, everyone…
However incorrect or outright ridiculous these speculations end up being, one thing is certain: when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres in March, it’ll be giving us an awful lot to talk about.
Words by Emma Curzon