Ever since the Russos confirmed that Steve Rogers did, in fact, renounce the title of Captain America at the end of Captain America: Civil War, people have been up in arms wondering what will happen next.

After all, “Steve Rogers” and “Captain America” are practically synonymous these days. (We know we’ve used the names interchangeably in the past!) How will Steve Rogers factor in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe without his iconic shield and uniform?

Well, the fact is that Steve doesn’t need to don the stars and stripes to be a hero or an important player in the MCU. In fact, he may be better off without them.

Though the MCU could go in an infinite number of directions with this new revelation about everyone’s favorite kid from Brooklyn, these are a few ways we can see the story of Steve Rogers going from here.

Meet Steve Rogers

Steve Rogers is just a kid from Brooklyn, but we haven’t really seen that kid from Brooklyn in a while. He’s been so bogged down by Avengers duties and governmental bureaucracy that we haven’t really been able to spend time with the real Steve Rogers since Project Rebirth. However, now that Steve has dropped the Captain America mantle, we’ll finally get our chance!

These are only just a few aspects of Steve Rogers that we hope we’ll be seeing.

A more relaxed Steve, free from government interference

Steve Rogers chillin'

The entire time Steve was Captain America, his life was dictated by the government. Whether he was on a mission that he didn’t have all of the information for or just relaxing in his apartment, the government was constantly looking over his shoulder. He had already been debating on getting out of the service. His fight with Tony was just the push he needed to actually do it.

Now that he’s free from the government’s control, we’ll hopefully see a more relaxed Steve. Not only that, but we’ll be able to see more of the man behind the shield. The man who tried numerous times to enlist in the army and save the American people from bullies. The awkward human who didn’t really know how to talk to women. We know a lot about Captain America and what he stands for, but we haven’t really had a chance to delve into who Steve Rogers is when the government isn’t looking. Now that Steve has given up the shield, maybe we’ll see more of that!

Steve still having the drive to help people (because he doesn’t like bullies)

Steve Rogers hero

Just because he’s no longer Captain America doesn’t mean that Steve Rogers will stop helping people and rushing to the aid of those in need. That’s just who he is and we’d be stunned if he gave up the hero life completely. It would just be so uncharacteristic of him to turn his back on those who need help. It’s not like Steve is going to fall off the face of the planet. He’ll most likely just be coming around in a different capacity.

At the end of Civil War, Steve reached out to Tony to assure him that he’d always be around if he’s needed. So, because Steve left that door open, he’ll most likely still come around to help. After all, he’s confirmed to be in the upcoming Avengers installments, so he has to return and do something. He just won’t be doing it in a star-spangled uniform.

He could become Nomad

Steve Rogers Nomad

In the comics, after Steve Rogers abandoned the title of Captain America (the first time), he realized that he couldn’t give up the hero life cold turkey. So he became Nomad, which literally means “a man without a country.” His uniform couldn’t be more different from his Captain America get-up, what with the yellow and blue color scheme and lack of patriotic markings. He even has a cape!

Steve’s stint as Nomad didn’t last very long. Only four issues, to be exact (which gave him just enough time to trip over his cape, of course). But, nevertheless, it was a new identity and a new way to serve the American public. So perhaps, once Infinity War rolls around, Steve will feel like donning a new costume to lend a hand in the war. We could totally see it happening. (Maybe without the cape, though.)

The Steve Rogers that could later return as Cap

Steve Rogers Captain America

After his stint as Nomad in the comics, Steve Rogers eventually went back to being Captain America. He rationalized his decision to return to the role after realizing that he could be a symbol of American values without also encompassing the ideals of the American government. By separating the two ideas, Steve Rogers could be the Captain America he wanted to be, not the one the government pushed him to be.

If the comic book progression of Steve Rogers and Captain America is any indication of where the movies will go (which it has been in the past), there’s a pretty good chance that Steve will pick the mantle back up somewhere down the line. That doesn’t mean that he’ll remain Captain America for the rest of the movie franchise (after all, Chris Evans’ contract is almost up and comic book heroes are constantly passing mantles on to new characters to keep things fresh), but we most likely haven’t seen the last of Steve Rogers as the star-spangled man with a plan.

More Incognito!Steve, please

Steve Rogers incognito

Incognito!Steve is the best Steve because his idea of going undercover and disguising himself is wearing sunglasses and a dark baseball cap. And it’s adorable. Since he’s basically trying to stay on the DL and off the grid after the events of Civil War, he’s going to need to keep a low profile. Here’s hoping that he brings back his incognito wardrobe (and helps pick out outfits for the rest of his jailbait crew).

 

Is a new Captain America on the horizon?

It’s not unusual for different characters to take up iconic heroes’ mantles, that of Captain America included. In fact, there have been quite a few Captain Americas over the years, but only a few that have been pretty well-known (and are now in the MCU). Now that Steve Rogers is moving on from being Captain America, we have a few guesses on who will pick up the shield in his stead.

Bucky Barnes

Bucky Barnes Captain America

In the comics, when *spoiler* Steve Rogers is murdered at the end of the Civil War event (but not really), his best friend Bucky Barnes steps in and picks up the shield. He was the perfect man for the job because of his relationship with Steve and understanding of the role. If we’ve been correctly interpreting the clues that the movies have been putting out, it looks like the movies might mirror the comics.

There was that time when Bucky picked up the shield in The First Avenger (only to be blasted out of the train door) and then those two times in The Winter Soldier (when he caught the shield on the rooftop after Steve flung it at him and then when he picked it up during the fight on the causeway). Sure, others have picked up the shield, but the camera has never lingered on those characters with the shield in quite the same way as they have with Bucky. No, he hasn’t had the best history or relationship with the American government, but Bucky Barnes taking on the Captain America mantle could be a way for him to atone for past mistakes.

(Plus, if we’re looking at it logistically, Sebastian Stan still has quite a few movies left in his Marvel contract. So there’s more than enough time for Bucky to get into the role of Captain America.)

Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson Captain America

Recently, in the comics, Steve Rogers passed the Captain America moniker on to Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) because he had aged too much to fulfill the duties properly. While Steve Rogers may have once again reclaimed the Captain America mantle in the comics (after de-aging, obviously), Sam still shares the title with him. Though there haven’t really been many visual clues or nods to Sam taking on the mantle, given Sam’s strong sense of duty and honor in the movies (not to mention his military background) we wouldn’t be surprised at him picking up the shield just like his comic book counterpart.

 

Where do you hope Steve Rogers and/or Captain America goes from here?

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