Of Course This Is How We Learn More About the Next Captain America Movie

Image: Marvel
Image: Marvel

Since time immemorial, the machine of movie merchandising has revealed plot details—or at the very least got people to wildly and often incorrectly speculate about them—well before a movie’s release. So it’s perhaps fitting then, that the most we’ve seen of Captain America: Brave New World so far is not in a trailer, or a carefully curated press reveal, but a fast food tie-in nearly a year before release.

That’s thanks to McDonalds, which has started promoting a new Happy Meal toy campaign that features characters from the next Captain America movie—inadvertently revealing, in chibi plush toy form, our first look at multiple characters from the film in the process. Turn back now, lest the virgin eyes of your Marvel fandom be spoiled and rendered impure by the power of Ronald McDonald:

The promotion gives us a few looks at characters beyond Sam Wilson himself, like Falcon and Winter Soldier’s Danny Ramirez as Joaquin Torres, the new Falcon—or the fact that the Red Hulk, the alter ego of Thaddeus Ross in the comics (now played by Harrison Ford, and the President of the United States in Brave New World), will appear in the film. There’s also two female characters included, but given the cutesified nature of the designs, it’s hard to tell just who they’re actually meant to be—one of them might be the incredibly politically fraught hero Israeli supersoldier, Sabra, who we know is meant to appear in Brave New World in some form.

Of course, this has a much more boring reason: Brave New World was, originally, meant to be out next month before it was reshuffled to August, and then to its February 2025 release date in November last year. A movie out in the next month having a McDonald’s tie-in is no big surprise, but when Brave New World blinked, McDonald’s didn’t—presumably because it has tie-ins and promotions teed up for movies and shows months and months and months in advance, and doesn’t have the time to reschedule or delay them. We’ve seen this in other ways recently—Hasbro’s toys for Across the Spider-Verse released months before the film did, thanks to its eight-month delay, giving us early looks at character designs like Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, and others. Hell, it’s happened with Marvel and McDonalds before—The Marvels’ last-minute push by even a few months last year saw its Happy Meal toys debut a couple months in advance.

The act of promotion is such that we almost always see bits and bobs from a movie on posters and cups and food tie ins before we see them in a trailer—or, heavens forbid, in the theater itself. That’s just marketing, and more often than not, release schedules for that kind of branding are going to be well out of the hands of the studios at that point. This is the perfect storm of two things—Captain America’s sudden shift out of 2024and the logistics of movie promotion—smushing together to give us the weird scenario of McDonalds dropping Marvel spoilers almost a year in advance.

More often than not, it’s going to happen regardless of the movie—it’s just that this time, it happens to be in a particularly absurd manner.

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