(Warning - the following may contain SPOILERS for the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. Or, since it's largely based on speculation, it might not. Proceed with whatever level of caution that suggests to you...)
Now with Captain America: Civil War - Marvel Studios' upcoming cinematic superhero smackdown - fast approaching, speculation as to just what we'll see happen in the movie is, unsurprisingly, rife. With a whole heap of superheroes set to join in the Cap-related antics, including debut MCU appearances from Black Panther and Spider-Man, the possibilities are seemingly endless - and yet:
Cap's Recently Leaked Costume Might Just Have Revealed a Major Civil War Plot Point
Specifically, this one, as recently posted to twitter, prompting widespread fan excitement:
The reason for such an enthusiastic response, though, might just tell us something pretty darned huge about the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. Y'see:
Cap Seems to Be Set to Don a More Comic-Book Faithful Costume at Some Point
That, at least, is the apparent implication of his new costume featuring - for the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - his classic 'feathered' chest plates. In the original Marvel comic-books, after all, those 'feathers' have long been an integral part of Cap's costume - though they're actually less feathers than part of an aluminum alloy scale armor.
The historical resonance of Cap's new threads, though, isn't what makes that new costume a big deal. Instead, the big question is this:
Why Does Cap Have a New, Feathered Costume at All?
After all, Cap's original, more plainly armored costume has served him well against Hydra, Loki, the Chitauri and Ultron - why would he change it up now?
Well, as it turns out, the answer to that question might just reveal a major plot twist from the latter part of Captain America: Civil War.
(Which means that this is your last chance to bail out before potential SPOILERS hit...)
Captain America's Original Outfit Probably Won't Be A Match for Iron Man
Or, for that matter, The Vision, or War Machine, or the Iron Legion.
In fact, pretty much everyone on Iron Man's side of the Civil War divide is likely to have such overwhelming firepower (not to mention physical strength) that Cap isn't realistically going to stand a chance.
Unless, that is, he upgrades his body armor to something that could withstand whatever Iron Man and pals can throw at it. Which, what with Vision being partly constructed from the immensely powerful Wakandan metal Vibranium, can mean only one thing: even more Vibranium.
That's right - with Adamantium seemingly reserved for Fox's X-Men universe, there seems no other way for Cap to survive the onslaught of super-powered awesomeness that is Iron Man's team, short of acquiring a super-powerful suit of his own. Which, from the looks of that leaked costume image, he may just have done.
Why is That a Major Plot Spoiler, Though?
After all, that's less a shocking plot twist, and more a perfectly sensible course of action on Cap's part.
The thing is, though - he'd have had to get that Vibranium from somewhere, and with the metal being almost exclusively available from Wakanda, that poses a problem. Y'see, what with Wakanda being the home nation of the Black Panther - who is likely to have already become its king by the beginning of Civil War - Panther and Cap are set to find themselves on different sides of the war.
BP has, after all, already been confirmed to be teaming up with Iron Man and his gang in the movie...
How, then, would Cap be able to get his hands on some Vibranium?
Well, that's where that plot twist I mentioned earlier comes in. Y'see:
Cap's New Costume Might Just Suggest That Black Panther is Set to Switch Sides
After all - without the Panther's access to Vibranium (and scientific expertise), it seems unlikely that Cap would be able to upgrade his suit alone.
Could we, then, see BP betray Iron Man's cause, and team up with Cap and pals? Or, perhaps more likely, will the hero turn out to have been playing both sides against one another, in order to protect his country - something that has long been his style in the comic-books?
It'd certainly explain a lot - and make for an excellent (non Black Widow or Hawkeye-related) twist late on in the movie.
Either that, or Cap's costume change might just be because he really likes the feathered look...