Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Marvel’s What If…? Season 2.


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Summary

  • Sam Wilson’s absence as Captain America in What If…? season 2 is a jarring choice, especially given the presence of other Avengers variants.
  • The MCU has chosen to prioritize Captain Carter’s character over Sam Wilson, leaving a four-year gap of no Captain America in the franchise.
  • Sam Wilson’s Captain America and Shang-Chi are the two Avengers missing from Marvel’s What If…?, and their future roles in the MCU may be affected by their absence.

What If…? season 2 has made the absence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Captain America even worse. Anthony Mackie debuted as the Falcon in the MCU, with Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers passing his Captain America shield onto Mackie’s Sam Wilson at the end of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Sam then stepped up in a major way in 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with the character finally becoming Captain America by the end of the series. One of Marvel’s upcoming movies, Captain America: Brave New World, will be Sam’s first film appearance as Captain America.

Ever since he debuted as Captain America in Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson has been missing from the MCU. That is strange, as the original Captain America of the MCU was a constant presence in the franchise. After debuting in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Evans’ Steve Rogers would appear in an MCU movie every year — between main roles and cameos — up until his latest appearance in Avengers: Endgame. The last project for the MCU in 2023, Marvel’s What If…? season 2, has made Sam Wilson’s absence since becoming Captain America even more notable.

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What If…? Season 3: Stories, Characters & Everything We Know

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What If…?’s Sam Wilson Snub Makes His MCU Absence More Jarring

Sam Wilson as Captain America between The Watcher in the MCU and the poster for What If...? season 2

Marvel’s What If…? season 2 has concluded without a single appearance from Sam Wilson as Captain America. With two seasons of the multiversal series over, Wilson not having any kind of major role in the show is weird, especially given how many different Avengers variants have appeared over What If…?‘s two seasons. Besides, both seasons of the animated series and the live-action Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness combine for a total of three projects that feature Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter.

Making the multiverse character have a bigger presence in the MCU than the new Captain America is a jarring choice. From 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to 2025’s Captain America: Brave New World, Captain America will have been missing from the MCU for four years. Following Captain Carter’s multi-episode arc in What If…? season 2 and Sam Wilson being snubbed by the new season of the animated series altogether, the MCU has found itself amid a Captain Carter controversy.

Only 2 Avengers Are Still Missing From What If…?

Sam Wilson as Captain America in an MCU poster, a golden Avengers: Endgame poster, and Shang-Chi in a poster from his MCU movie

Sam Wilson’s Captain America and Shang-Chi are the only two Avengers missing from What If…? Shang-Chi was recruited by Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel at the end of his movie, with the character having yet to appear since then. With a second Shang-Chi movie on the way and a role to play in the next Avengers films, Shang-Chi’s MCU absence is bad for his future. Wilson cameoed in What If…? season 1 as a zombified Falcon, though his Captain America was never in the series. While Steve Rogers’ appearances due to Captain Carter’s role in the series are understandable, What If…? did not have to completely forget Sam Wilson.

All episodes of What If…? season 2 are now streaming on Disney+. Sam Wilson returns to the MCU in Captain America: Brave New World, which releases on February 14, 2025.

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