Steve Rogers is Captain America. He's the leader of the Avengers and fights for the American ideals of freedom, justice and the pursuit of happiness.

Except that's no longer the case. According to Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo, Steve dropping his shield at the end of his latest film is a symbolic gesture of what's to come.

"I think him dropping that shield is him letting go of that identity," Joe Russo tells the Huffington Post. "[It's] him admitting that certainly the identity of Captain America was in conflict with the very personal choice that he was making."

It makes sense, of course. After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Steve is a fugitive wanted by the U.S. government for failing to go along with the Sokovia Accords. As such, he can hardly be the stars-and-stripes-wearing patriot fans know him to be.

However, what will Steve do without his superhero alter-ego? It's possible he could adopt the superhero persona known as the Nomad, taken straight from the pages of the character's Marvel comic history. At one point in the comics, Steve adopts a new costume and the Nomad name after becoming disillusioned with the government. That whole "disillusionment with the government" thing has certainly now happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given Steve's war with Iron Man, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see Nomad appear on the big screen.

What about the role of Captain America? In the comics, both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have adopted the mantle of Captain America, but that seems unlikely to happen in the film universe considering Bucky is in hiding and Sam is also a wanted fugitive.

Of course, Steve will be back in action for 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. The Avengers are going to need their leader if they are going to be able to defeat the big, bad villain Thanos, but it remains to be seen how exactly Steve will be brought back into the world-saving fold. It's possible he might just lay low for a while before eventually rejoining the Avengers in order to save the world.

Whether in the comics or in the films, Steve Rogers isn't his usual self. The current Captain America comics have seen Steve essentially brainwashed into serving Hydra and the Red Skull, an idea that upset many longtime fans of the character. Don't expect to see that storyline play out on the big screen, but it's clear that Avengers: Infinity War will be quite unlike any Marvel film before it without Captain America leading the charge.

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