On Tuesday, I hinted there'd been something out there regarding a change in Captain America. I had based that on reading an online interview with actor Anthony Mackie, who'd played Sam "Falcon" Wilson in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" back in April that speculated that maybe, just maybe, Wilson would eventually swap out his avian costume for the red, whie, & blue of the Captain.
Well, insofar as Marvel is concerned, that was the other shoe dropping Wednesday night on Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Joe Quesada, 1/2 of the two-headed monster ruining Marvel's animated product, has been a frequent guest of admitted comics geek Stephen Colbert, and dropped by to announce that, yes, Wilson will be the new Cap come the fall.
Like Thor, Cap's been replaced before in the past, more recently when his former partner, James "Bucky" Barnes, now the Winter Soldier, donned the costume for a time. Now it's Wilson's turn, and it's long overdue.
Sam Wilson was introduced in the comics in 1969, and quickly gained co-star status in Cap's book, although that lasted just a few years before Cap went solo again under co-creator Jack Kirby's watch. While Quesada said that this was strictly in the comics for right now, an online article today in Yahoo! wonders if the fans might have something to say about that, since Chris Evans, who will play Cap for the 4th time in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" next spring, has said he'd retire from acting once his contract is up.
In sharp contrast to the decision to create a female version of Thor, the elevation of Sam Wilson into the role of Captain America feels more like a passing of the torch. As noted, he's been around for 45 years. Steve Rogers sees himself in the costume as being a symbol of freedom. While Marvel can use cultural diversity as an excuse for this latest change, which would be the 5th or 6th time someone other than Rogers has worn the costume since the 50's.
It's not the first time that this has happened to an established superhero.
In the late 80's, DC experimented with Green Lantern by spotlighting the African-American member of the Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart, after Hal Jordan had lost his ring, if memory serves. The funny part was that Stewart's adventures were being drawn by a British artist, Dave Gibbons, and while it was a fun and interesting read, it didn't last long. Stewart, of course, was chosen to represent as GL on the animated Justice League series a decade ago, a move made in the name of cultural diversity, and it made sense. Now, Marvel is rolling the dice with Sam Wilson. If it doesn't work, would he go back to being the Falcon? That remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, director Josh Trank has dug himself a deeper hole with fans of the Fantastic Four.
In an interview with Esquire Mexico, reported online by Yahoo!, actress and NY Giants heiress Kate Mara made these comments:(boldface italics mine):
“I don’t feel more responsibility with this role that I’ve felt with others. I understand that there are many fans of Fantastic Four and I guess they expect a lot from me, but I prefer not to be pressured by that. We are also trying to create a new way of seeing these superheroes, I’m focusing on making her (Susan Storm) as real as possible.”
“I’ve never been a fan of comics, I’ve never actually read one. I was going to for this movie but the director said it wasn’t necessary. Well, actually he told us that we shouldn’t do it because the plot won’t be based on any history of anything already published. So I chose to follow his instructions. The one fact is I am a fan of comic book movies, so it’s very exciting to be part of a movie like this.”
Translated, effendis, based on Ms. Mara's statements, Trank is ignoring comics history in order to enforce his vision, skewed as that is, on the fan base. There's a reason why it's been so difficult over the last 20 years to make a reasonably good FF movie, and Trank, this week's Weasel of the Week winner, isn't helping the cause. In addition to the obligatory Weasel ears, we'll send Trank a copy of the works of George Santayana, and we'll see if he even has clue one what that means.
We'll close on a positive note, with a tip of the cap to Woody Paige of ESPN's Around The Horn. In effect, Woody exposed himself as a closet fan when he used his "Face Time" after winning Wednesday's game to talk up the current issue of Life With Archie, which we had reported on back in April. You know the one, where Archie Andrews, at least in this reality, buys it, taking a bullet meant for Kevin Keller. What Paige neglected to mention was the fact that this is an alternate reality, and that the regular Archie line will continue unabated, save for Betty & Veronica leaving Riverdale next month. We didn't know you were a reader, Woody. Cheers.