Captain America 4 Villain The Leader Explained by Director

Director Julius Onah explains the villain role of The Leader in Captain America: New World Order. Originally brought to life by Chris Evans starting in 2011 with Captain America: The First Avenger, Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson will be the next character to carry the title of Captain America. After Avengers: Endgame saw Evans' Steve Rogers pass the iconic shield onto Wilson, the character's reluctance to accept the new role was more fully explored in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Disney+ series. The series ends, however, with Wilson embracing his role as the new Captain America, setting up his first solo film.


Plot details for Captain America: New World Order remain under wraps, but it was announced earlier this summer that Onah, who is best known for The Cloverfield Paradox, will helm the film. Marvel also confirmed at their SDCC panel that the next Captain America adventure wouldn't be hitting the big screen until May 2024, making it the second last project in the MCU's upcoming Phase 5. Marvel fans were recently treated to an additional piece of information about Captain America: New World Order, with the surprise reveal that Tim Blake Nelson will be reprising his role as Samuel Sterns, aka the Leader, from 2008's The Incredible Hulk.

Related: All Marvel Announcements & Trailers From D23 Expo 2022

Speaking with Screen Rant as part of the D23 press line, Onah revealed additional details about Nelson's villain and how he will impact the new Captain America. The director promises that the Leader will make for a worthy adversary, describing the villain as a "brilliant mastermind" who will constantly be a step ahead of everyone else. Onah also says the character and the film, in general, will keep the audience on their toes. Check out Onah's full comment below:

"We are all paranoid, and hopefully we're all thrilled as well. This is a movie, like the previous Captain American movies, that [leans] into the tradition of this genre. And what's so great in this film is Sam Wilson has an incredible adversary in The Leader, played by Tim Blake Nelson, this brilliant mastermind who's always 1-2-3-4 steps ahead.

"I think audiences, as they watch the film, will never be able to see what's coming right around the corner."

Tim Blake Nelson The Leader

The Leader doesn't really get a chance to shine in The Incredible Hulk, with Sterns beginning his transformation before the film then jumps straight into the fight between Hulk and Abomination. While specific story details for Captain America 4 remain unknown, Onah's comment affirms that the Leader will be more fully explored this time around, acting as a formidable criminal mastermind for Wilson to overcome. The announcement that the Leader will play a significant role in the new Captain America film accompanies the return of another major character from The Incredible Hulk, with Tim Roth reprising his role as Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination, in Disney+'s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

Although Onah's comment gives little away, the confirmation that Captain America: New World Order will have the Leader as a primary villain suggests the film may be closer to Evans' first two entries as the superhero. In Captain America: The First Avenger, for example, Hugo Weaving's Red Skull is a very clear antagonist, as opposed to in Captain America: Civil War where the lines between "good" and "bad" aren't as clear. While the release date for Captain America: New World Order is still quite far off, Onah's comment certainly suggests there is plenty to be excited about, especially since the MCU has never really explored this type of villain before.

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