Captain America 4"s Rumored Villain Could Make A Disappointing MCU Statistic Even Worse

  • Expectations are high for Sam Wilson's return as Captain America, but Red Hulk's presence may overshadow his debut.
  • Signs point to Thunderbolt Ross turning into Red Hulk, potentially setting up a disappointing outcome for Sam.
  • Sam Wilson's triumph as the new Captain America could be compromised if he fails to properly defeat Thunderbolt Ross in their upcoming MCU showdown.
The inclusion of Thunderbolt Ross in Captain America: Brave New World has led many to speculate that he will be turning into the Red Hulk, and serve as a major antagonist to Sam Wilson's Captain America - but this could create a major issue for Sam Wilson's first outing as Captain America on the big screen. After all, Sam has a lot riding on his debut as the lead role in an MCU movie, meaning Captain America: Brave New World has a responsibility to properly establish him as the new hero who bears the Captain America mantle.
Not only is Captain America: Brave New World Sam's first time as Cap in a movie, it will also be the first time he has been in an MCU movie since Avengers: Endgame. It has also been a significant amount of time since he starred in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This means expectations are high for Captain America's return. Red Hulk's appearance would certainly build hype for the movie, but it could also have a negative impact on how the new Captain America is perceived.
Related Captain America's Complete MCU Timeline Explained Captain America has been a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Phase 1, and here is his entire timeline from the beginning to the present. Red Hulk Is Rumored For Captain America: Brave New World Close Although Red Hulk's involvement in Captain America: Brave New World has yet to be confirmed, there have been a lot of signs pointing in that direction. One of the major clues has been the casting of Harrison Ford for the role of Thunderbolt Ross. Were Ross to continue as a generic politician acting in opposition to the Captan America, Marvel likely wouldn't have gone out of their way to recast him with a major star.
Ford's comments about the role have also fueled speculation that he will appear as Red Hulk. In reference to the role, Ford said, "I like doing something different to what I've ever done." Ford has played politicians before in movies like Air Force One, so for his role as Ross to be different, he will likely need to Hulk out.
Several set photos have also hinted at Red Hulk's appearance. Marvel Studios shared a photo on Twitter which gave a look at Harrison Ford and Anthony Mackie on set:
The set photo shows Harrison Ford and Anthony Mackie in costume in front of some computer monitors. Mackie is wearing his new blue Captain America suit and the shield on his back. Ford is dressed in all black with what appear to be torn black pants.
Ford's torn black pants in the photo could be a direct reference to the type of pants Red Hulk is usually depicted wearing.
An even more convincing bit of evidence came from a photo of a Captain America: Brave New World crew jacket shared by @TheTowersOracle on Twitter:
The photo shows a crew jacket with the Marvel Studios and Captain America: Brave New World logos on one side of the jacket. The other side of the jacket has a picture of a large red hand closing around the Captain America shield.
It's hard to imagine the red hand in the logo doesn't belong to Red Hulk, especially given its relative size to the shield. These set photos as well as Ford's casting and comments all seem to point at Ross becoming Red Hulk in Captain America: Brave New World.
Mark Ruffalo's Hulk was also temporarily thought to be in Captain America: Brave New World, but this has since been debunked.
Thunderbolt Ross' MCU Future May Mean Captain America Fails To Defeat Him It seems pretty clear that Thunderbolt Ross will continue to have a role in the MCU following Captain America: Brave New World. After all, Marvel's Thunderbolts features a team named after him. In the comics, Ross has joined the team in his Red Hulk form before. Ross' inclusion in the team would also explain how the somewhat low-powered Thunderbolts are meant to take on Sentry in the movie.
With Ross likely continuing to operate with the Thunderbolts after the events of Captain America: Brave New World, this would mean Sam Wilson isn't going to defeat Ross if they go head-to-head. This could lead to a bit of a disappointing ending for Captain America. Worse still, this could leave a bit of a stain on Sam's big MCU return.
Sam Wilson Deserves A Triumphant Return After His Massive MCU Absence Captain America: Brave New World
Release Date February 14, 2025 Studio(s) Marvel Studios Writers Dalan Musson , Malcolm Spellman Cast Anthony Mackie Franchise(s) Captain America , Marvel Cinematic Universe By the time Sam Wilson returns in Captain America: Brave New World, there will have been 26 other Marvel projects that have come out since his previous appearance in the MCU. This is the longest the MCU has ever gone without an appearance by a Captain America. Sam's return would hopefully see him scoring a big win and establishing himself in the Captain America mantle. This is especially true after the bittersweet ending of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier where Sam failed to save Karli Morgenthau.
However, if Ross' Red Hulk is the major villain, Sam's return may be less triumphant than audiences might hope for, as with Ross likely to get away in the end, the hero's first outing after his five-year absence might feel like a bit of a letdown. Of course, Captain America: Brave New World could still have a good conclusion, even if Ross gets away. Marvel will just need to make sure that defeating Ross isn't Sam's number one goal in the movie, so letting him go won't feel like a total failure.


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