When the Mad Titan known as Thanos arrives in Avengers: Infinity War, the hero formerly called Captain America will lead the charge under a new identity. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have confirmed that Steve Rogers’s superhero codename will be “The Nomad,” a name lifted directly from Captain America’s comic book history.
“The Nomad” comes from a period in Captain America’s comic book history, when the star-spangled superhero became disillusioned with the United States after — and this is true — the Watergate scandal. In Captain America #180 from 1974, Steve Rogers abandons his kitschy red, white, and blue for purple, black, and a long cape. As “The Nomad,” Steve Rogers represented a man without a country, reflecting his feelings towards patriotism in a radically changing time.
At the urging of Hawkeye, Steve Rogers reassumes the Captain America name in Captain America #184, believing that he fights for a nation’s ideals and not its government. In retrospect, this characterization of Steve Rogers, from writer Steve Englehart and artist Sal Buscema, would profoundly influence his modern philosophy, as reflected in storylines like Civil War and in films like 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
At the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers dropped his shield and left the Avengers. This left many fans to speculate that he would adopt an identity similar to the Nomad, if not the real thing. Cap’s costume in Infinity War is reflective of the Nomad too, with the American flag colors faded and his star chest emblem ripped out. (He’s totally missing the cape, though.) Chances are he’ll still be referred to as Captain America in the movie, but based on where Civil War ended and what we’ve seen in the trailers, he was already Nomad all but in name. Now, even if it’s just a sly Instagram post, the directors have at least bestowed that name upon the hero.
Though President Donald Trump doesn’t seem to exist in the MCU’s continuity, one can’t help but speculate how timely it is for Captain America to, once again, become a man without a country right now.