Army and World War II veteran Steve Rodgers has passed on his shield and title to one of his closest allies: African-American veteran Sam Wilson, also known as Falcon. With the super-soldier serum (the juice that gives him his powers) sucked out of his body by the Iron Nail, Rodgers is left elderly and incapable of laying the vibranium smackdown on his foes. This news arrived first from the Colbert Report, and comes hot off the heels of Marvel’s announcement that the new comic-book version of Thor will be a woman.
Anyone who’s actually purchased a few comics knows that these changes are far from extraordinary. Captain America was once played by Bucky Barnes (yes, that evil cyborg from the movie) and Thor’s power has been wielded by others from time to time, most notably a horse-faced alien named Beta Ray Bill.
Although characters have always shuffled around and exchanged costumes as well as names, these two announcements seem to be an overt attempt by Marvel to inject diversity into their cast of characters. Although shaking up the status quo tends to foster new stories and plot lines, not everyone is happy. Many argue that forced diversity is wrong and these golden oldies shouldn’t be messed with, and others say that these moves don’t go far enough to bring diversity to the Marvel ensemble.
Regardless of the kerfuffle surrounding these changes, Marvel fans can expect to see the new Captain America and Thor in the coming months. How long they’ll stay in these new roles remains to be seen, but fans are speculating that the original Cap and Thor will be back in action in short order.