'Captain America: Brave New World' First Look: Anthony Mackie Takes Over The Captain America Mantle In New Adventure Next Year

After last year, Marvel Studios finds themselves sitting where they’ve never sat before: the hot seat. “Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania” kicked off the MCU‘s Phase 5 with a thud, “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3” was an effective wave goodbye to DCU co-head James Gunn, and “The Marvels” was, commercially speaking, the worst Marvel movie ever. In short, after that debacle, Kevin Feige & co. needed an about-face as before Phase 5 continues.

READ MORE: ‘Deadpool & Wolverine,’ ‘Captain America: Brave New World’ & ‘Mufasa: The Lion King’ Get Big Disney CinemaCon Sneaks

And “Deadpool & Wolverine” will provide that for the MCU this summer, but what about after that? The Phase 5 story must continue (or start anew, now that Jonathan Major‘s Kang is out of the picture). Enter “Captain America: Brave New World,” which resumes the MCU’s broader storyline and kicks off Anthony Mackie‘s tenure as The First Avenger (or rather, the second one of those). And the way Mackie tells it in EW’s first-look at the upcoming blockbuster, his character Sam Wilson’s first task as Cap is similar to Chris Evan‘s Steve Rogers’: he’s tasked to reform the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to face off against a new global threat.

“This movie is a clear reset. It really reestablishes the idea of what this universe is and what this universe is going to be,” Mackie told the CinemaCon crowd yesterday. “I think with these movies, you’re getting a clear, new branding of what Marvel is headed towards the same way they did with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” “Brave New World” sees Harrison Ford‘s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (taking over the role from the late William Hurt), now the new US president, task Wilson with forming a new Avengers squad. But shortly after their meeting, a team of super-soldiers attack the President, and thrust Wilson into his first mission as Captain America.

But don’t expect “Brave New World” to be an outsized adventured like a standard “Avengers” film. Mackie’s debut sets out to make him a bonafide action star, albeit in a story more akin to “The Winter Soldier” than “Avengers: Infinity War.” “It made more sense for it to be more of a grounded espionage action movie as opposed to aliens and airplanes coming through portals and sh*t,” Mackie said “Even though I’ve been in so many of them and have seen it all now, the opportunity for Sam to really establish himself as a true action star and Avenger comes with this movie.”

And Mackie’s Wilson has some help for his first missions donning the Captain America mantle. No, it’s not his “The Falcon And The Winter Soldier” co-star Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes. “One of the biggest conversations we had from the beginning was for this not to be “Falcon and the Winter Soldier — Part 2,” for this to be its own movie with its own story, with its own characters,” Mackie confirmed, promising “Brave New World” feels “10 times bigger” than the Disney+ series. Instead, Wilson finds a new protege in Danny Ramirez‘s Joaquin Torres, a tech-head former military guy who plays Falcon to Mackie’s Cap. “They’re evenly yoked,” Mackie said about Torress. “They’re both military guys. I was his commanding officer. We have more of a friendship as opposed to the way I admired Steve or the way I didn’t like Bucky.”

And expect plenty of old faces to turn up in “Brave New World,” too.  Liv Tyler returns as Ross’ daughter Betty, while Tim Blake Nelson reprises his role as Samuel Sterns, aka: Leader.  Carl Lumbly is also in the mix as super soldier Isiah Bradley. Meanwhile, Shira Haas is one of this movie’s MCU newcomers, playing Ruth, aka: Sabra, a government agent and superheroine in her own right. So there’s a distinct blend of old and new in “Brave New World,” harking back to older MCU titles while also charting the franchise into the future (and two new “Avengers” movies).

But will it be enough to get the MCU off of its current shaky ground. Leading man Mackie thinks so. “The title implies that there’s a new, bigger enemy now; there’s a new frontier that we have to conquer,” Mackie said of “Brave New World.” “From “Captain America: The First Avenger” to “Endgame,” the enemy was always good versus bad. Now that we’ve conquered that, where do we go from here? When the bad guys reappear, in what form are they reappearing? It is a new storyline with new characters, with new beliefs, and it creates a new idea of this new world that we’re going into.”

So, let’s call it a soft reboot after the Jonathan Majors firing and a 2023 that Marvel Studios would like to soon forget. But will “Captain America: Brave New World” be solid enough to keep the MCU culturally relevant? Find out when the blockbuster hits theaters next Valentine’s Day, on February 14, 2025. Take a look at some first-look pics from “Brave New World” below.

Captain America Brave New World Anthony Mackie
Captain America Brave New World Anthony Mackie