The first Captain America, Steve Rogers’ journey and legacy live on into the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, with his successor, Sam Wilson, leading the newly announced film, Captain America: New World Order.
Though Steve always seemed to be the paragon of superheroism, he certainly wasn’t perfect. Along his journey in the MCU, certain characters helped the Star Spangled Man grow into the Avenger and hero that he was always meant to be.
10 Nick Fury
Samuel L. Jackson’s Colonel Nick Fury has been a major influence in the life of Steve Rogers. As one of the first faces Cap ever saw after coming out of the ice, he has remained one of the Avenger’s closest allies in the modern day. Fury was the one to recruit Steve into the Avengers and to help him bring down S.H.I.E.L.D. after it was taken over by Hydra.
Though they rarely saw eye-to-eye on matters of espionage and heroism, Nick and Steve had a profound impact on one another. Nick gave Steve a purpose after he woke up in an unfamiliar world. And, though Steve may have loathed to admit it, it was Fury who truly brought Captain America into the modern age, reviving one of the most important superheroes to ever be created.
9 Sharon Carter
Emily van Camp portrays Sharon Carter, a former agent for both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the C.I.A., who recently took a heel turn as the villainous Power Broker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Prior to his disappearance, Steve fostered a relationship with Sharon, who happened to be the niece of his long-lost love, Peggy Carter.
Though their relationship was stunted after her death in the Blip, Sharon proved to be a worthwhile ally and friend to Steve during their time together. She consistently supported him, putting her own life and career on the line on numerous occasions. While she would eventually succumb to darker impulses, Sharon was at her best when aligned with Steve Rogers.
8 Johann Schmidt
Played by Hugo Weaving, Johann Schmidt, aka the Red Skull, is Captain America’s first nemesis and one of the MCU’s best villains. As the leader of Hydra, the Nazis’ science division, he too became a super soldier, albeit a monstrous, weaker version of what he intended to be. He faces off against Captain America during World War II in an attempt to gain the power of the Tesseract, though he never fully understood what it was.
As the Red Skull, Schmidt pushed Steve to take action as a superhero rather than the public figurehead that he had become. His villainy lit a fire underneath the fledgling superhero, putting him in a position where he had to choose between his own judgment and what was expected of him. Ultimately, Schmidt’s evil plan also led to Steve’s suspension in ice for 70 years, landing him in the modern day.
7 Howard Stark
Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark was one of Steve Rogers’s best friends during World War II. As one of the minds behind the Super Soldier Project, Stark was heavily involved in Steve’s work as Captain America, even fashioning his iconic shield out of the small sample of vibranium he had managed to get his hands on.
Though their time together was cut short, Steve always had a deep love for Howard Stark. The two shared a friendship that even Howard’s son, Tony, would be well-aware of. Despite all his vices, Howard believed in Steve implicitly, proving himself to be a true friend and a loyal ally in the midst of the worst war this world has ever seen.
6 Dr. Abraham Erskine
Stanley Tucci portrays Dr. Abraham Erskine, the German scientist who invented the super soldier serum, in Captain America: The First Avenger. Erskine handpicks Steve Rogers to be the first test subject for his new serum, creating the first successful super soldier and the future Captain America.
Without Dr. Erskine, Steve would never be enlisted into the United States Army, much less become the superhero known as Captain America. It was the scientist’s genius that made super soldiers possible, but it was his good judge of character that gave the world its noblest hero of all time.
5 Natasha Romanoff
Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, was one of Steve’s closest friends among the Avengers. The two worked together often as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., leading to a long-lasting friendship that would persist even after the Avengers broke up following the events of Captain America: Civil War, until Natasha’s heroic death years later.
Though he didn’t trust her at the time, Natasha gave Steve friendship when he needed it the most, becoming one of his few companions after waking up in the modern day. She consistently made sacrifices based on Steve’s judgment, offering him the benefit of the doubt on numerous occasions and thereby giving him the confidence to do what he believed was right, rather than what everyone else told him to do.
4 Peggy Carter
Hayley Atwell’s Agent Peggy Carter was the true love of Steve’s life. The two first met during the war when Steve was selected as Dr. Erskine’s test subject and would quickly fall in love, though their relationship was doomed to be torn apart after Steve’s apparent death.
Though time and space kept them separate, Steve never forgot the impact that Peggy had on him. Even 80 years after their separation, Steve was still enamored with his first love, leading him to sacrifice everything he had built in the modern world to return to her after the Battle of Earth.
3 Sam Wilson
Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson first encounters Steve Rogers at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, leading to a historic partnership that would span years. Sam eventually became the Falcon, flying alongside Captain America for years before eventually inheriting the mantle himself after Steve retires, now taking a leadership position in the Avengers.
Sam filled a hole in Steve’s life that had been present ever since he lost Bucky during World War II. Though it often came at a great price, Sam remained loyal to Steve regardless of the circumstances, even risking his own freedom to support his brother-in-arms during the superhero civil war. In the end, it is no wonder that Steve eventually passed his shield down to his most loyal friend.
2 Tony Stark
Though they rarely got along, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were one of the most important people in the other’s life. The two first met during the formation of the Avengers in 2012 and would continue their professional, and at times unprofessional, relationship for over a decade until Tony’s death in 2023.
While they clashed on numerous occasions, Steve learned plenty of important lessons from Tony, and vice versa. The two superheroes pushed one another to new extremes, each forcing the other to undergo tremendous character growth. Ultimately, it was Tony’s example that led Steve to start his own family, leaving behind the role of Captain America forever.
1 Bucky Barnes
James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes is Steve Rogers’s best friend. The two eventually served side by side in the Howling Commandos during World War II and, though Bucky appeared to die during the war, they would be reunited decades later on opposite sides of a new conflict.
Bucky always stood up for Steve, protecting him in the days before he could protect himself. His example led Steve to do the same for his friend when he was revealed to be the Winter Soldier. Steve put everything on the line for Bucky in a heartbeat, never giving up on him even when matters seemed hopeless. In the end, Steve would see his friend restored to his former self, against all odds.