Marvel’s Best Captain America Replacement Option Is... Shang-Chi

An image of Steve Rogers/Captain America (played by Chris Evans), helmet off, with a comic book image of the Marvel character Shang-Chi layered over top

Originally written by Nicholas Raymond for Screen Rant

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's best Captain America replacement after Avengers: Endgame is Shang-Chi, who will first appear in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. After Steve Rogers' sendoff, people have been wondering who will take his place in the MCU. While Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson is taking up the shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, that doesn't necessarily mean that he will fill the same role that Steve Rogers had. Falcon may continue Captain America's legacy, but the best character to replace Steve Rogers in spirit is Shang-Chi.

It was no secret that Chris Evans' time as Captain America would come to an end after Avengers: Endgame, which was the last movie on Evans' contract. While many speculated that the events of the film and the battle with Thanos would culminate in the death of the Sentinel of Liberty, Marvel Studios had different plans for Captain America. Captain America's story ended with him returning the Infinity Stones and going back in time to spend the rest of his days with the love of his life, Peggy Carter. At the end of the movie, the shield was passed to Falcon.

The MCU will now move on to Phase 4, without two of its most important characters, Captain America and Iron Man. Franchises introduced in Phase 3, such as Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Captain Marvel are the future of the MCU, with new properties being adapted for Phase 4 as well. Among them is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which was officially confirmed at SDCC 2019. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as the titular hero as he takes on the classic Iron Man villain, The Mandarin. Here's how Shang-Chi, Marvel's first Asian superhero, can replace Captain America in the MCU.


What Captain America Meant To The MCU

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In the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Batroc the Leaper said to Steve Rogers, "I thought you were more than a shield." This idea is a central part of Captain America's character, both in the comics and in the movies. The shield is a patriotic symbol of what Captain America stands for, but it doesn't define him. Sam Wilson may be the new Captain America, but that doesn't mean he's the new Steve Rogers.

From Captain America: The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers has been the moral compass of the MCU. His version of Captain America represents the best parts of human nature. Much like his comic book counterpart, Chris Evans' Captain America always tries to do the right thing, no matter what. His sense of righteousness is why he's worthy of lifting Mjolnir. It's worth noting that while Captain America does evolve to a certain degree over the course of seven films, he doesn't come as far as other main characters. That's because Cap never needed to grow as a character. Instead, he changes the people around him. Captain America is a man out of time who holds on to values that the modern world may no longer share - if it ever did. As seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, Cap tries not to let the world affect who he is as a person.


Who Is Shang-Chi In Marvel Comics?

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In the comic books, Shang-Chi is a Chinese martial arts expert and the son of an immortal criminal mastermind named Fu Manchu. Shang-Chi's name means "the rising and advancing of the spirit". Fu Manchu raised Shang-Chi to be a force of violence that he could use to further his goals. Shang-Chi lived a sheltered life under his father's tutelage and received little exposure to the outside world, and even less to Western culture. After murdering an innocent old man on Fu Manchu's orders, Shang-Chi discovered his father's evil nature. Shang-Chi rebelled against Fu Manchu and reluctantly teamed up with agents of MI-6 to thwart his schemes.

As the years passed, Shang-Chi continued fighting against his father's criminal empire while getting to know the people of MI-6 and exploring the various facets of Western culture. Shang-Chi, who never liked working for MI-6, eventually found another use for his skills as a martial artist. Shang-Chi left the world of espionage to join a private detective agency, a place where he believed he could help people in the best way possible. Since then, Shang-Chi's adventures have led to run-ins with some of Marvel's biggest characters, including Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and more.


How Shang-Chi Can Replace Captain America In The MCU

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As the Master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi is easily one of Marvel's most formidable hand-to-combat experts, a list that also includes Captain America himself. While Captain America is a super soldier, his abilities aren't necessarily superhuman, which forces him to win battles with skill rather than brute strength. This is a trait shared by Shang-Chi, who relies on his mastery of kung fu to save the day.

The similarities between Captain America and Shang-Chi go so much deeper than their physical abilities, and this is something that viewers may see first-hand in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The comic book version of Shang-Chi deals with many of the same problems that Captain America goes through in the MCU. Shang-Chi isn't "a man out of time" like Steve Rogers, but his extremely sheltered life gives Shang-Chi an experience not unlike the one Steve had when he awoke from suspended animation in The First Avenger. It took Shang-Chi a great deal of time to adjust to the Western world and its values, which made his own seem outdated. In one of Shang-Chi's earliest appearances, he was living on a park bench eating plants, because his moral code wouldn't allow him to purchase food.

Shang-Chi's time with MI-6 is reminiscent of Captain America's rocky relationship with SHIELD and the government. Captain America didn't approve of SHIELD's methods and never felt comfortable taking orders from them. Captain America's feelings toward SHIELD reflect Shang-Chi's attitude toward MI-6. Shang-Chi always referred to working in espionage as "games of death and deceit". Like Cap, Shang-Chi struggled daily with the demands of the job and remained determined not to let it change him. In short, Shang-Chi is a deeply philosophical character with a strong, unshakable moral foundation. If the values and convictions of the comic book character are adapted to the big screen, the MCU will have found its new Steve Rogers.



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