Captain America 4 is acknowledging Thunderbolt Ross looks different with a Rhodey-style joke

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

The first footage from Captain America: Brave New World has been screened behind closed doors at CinemaCon – and it turns out it features a winking reference towards Thunderbolt Ross being recast. 

Following William Hurt's tragic death in 2022, Harrison Ford took over the role of Ross, and he'll make his MCU debut in Captain America 4. 

According to's Brandon Davis, who was in attendance at CinemaCon, the footage from the film pokes fun at Ross's new look. "They acknowledge Ross looks different," he wrote in a tweet, adding in a separate post that Sam says "I have to admit, I'm still not used to the new look," and Ross answers: "Me either. They said lose the mustache or lose the election."

This wouldn't be the first time the MCU has joked about a recast. Terrence Howard played Rhodey in Iron Man, but was replaced by Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2. " Look, it's me. I'm here. Deal with it. Let's move on," Cheadle's Rhodey tells Tony Stark in the sequel, which certainly feels like a meta reference to the recast. 

The Captain America 4 footage shows Ford's Ross, who is now the President, asking Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson to help him rebuild the Avengers – as well as a mysterious sound triggering a crowd, including Carl Lumbly's Isaiah Bradley, to attack Ross and others. 

Captain America: Brave New World arrives on February 14, 2025. In the meantime, check out our guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows for everything else the MCU has in store. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.