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Does Anyone Really Care Who Plays The Next Captain America All That Much?

The horserace that is the casting of the next Captain America for the Joe Johnston-directed 2011 movie of the same name — The First Avenger: Captain America — has been covered by entertainment media like the nomination of a Pope.

A brief timeline. We’ve had:

  • An initial pool of contenders including John Krasinski, Chace Crawford, Scott Porter, Michael Cassidy, Patrick Flueger, Mike Vogel, and Garrett Hedlund. Much excitement.
  • The rumor that the role was “John Krasinski’s to lose.” Maybe so, but he had other obligations, and as the rumor blew up into “John Krasinski is FOR SURE going to be the next Captain America,” a lot of people looked foolish.
  • Ryan Phillippe added to the mix; Phillipe and Channing Tatum trying out.
  • Now, the possibility that (gasp!) a Romanian, Sebastian Stan, will get the role.

Each iteration of this has witnessed a flurry of articles, listicles, further speculations, and, of course, fan polls — not only at superhero movie-devoted outlets like MTV’s Splash Page and fansites like ComicBookMovie, but among the heavy hitters. Here’s the thing: Does anyone really care who plays Captain America is that much?

Yes, superhero movies are big business nowadays; yes, some of these storylines are moderately interesting; above all, yes, Captain America has a national symbolism and significance that makes this a bigger story than, say, the casting of Ghost Rider. John Krasinski as the Cap? Why, he plays Jim in The Office! Sebastian Stan? Why, he’s Romanian! What’s more at issue here is the rumor-obsessed play-by-play on a decision that’s interesting, but not that interesting.

Every sector of media has its silly overcoverages which must be baffling to the lay reader: Yesterday, a new price sheet on an Australian Apple website drove the tech web into a tizzy and sparked numerous theories about new changes to their laptop line. If you browse our own archives, you’ll surely find that we’ve occasionally be caught up in the hype. See: the “iPad iPad iPad iPad iPad” tag. That’s the joint, as the kids say.

But while a one- or two-day blowup can be slightly annoying for people trying to find new news on different sites, a drawn-out, multiday saga not only casts a fog over — and, just as importantly from a reader’s perspective, makes that slice of what’s going on in the world a little more samey and boring.

A proposal to the outlets out there that aren’t comics trade pubs: Don’t go play-by-play on every Captain America rumor that bubbles up. Link to the big ones, if you must, wait until someone’s actually announced for the role, and write about the other cool and interesting stuff that’s out there.

It’s pretty cool that Hugo Weaving might be the Red Skull, though.

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