The first trailer for Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye arrived on Monday, showcasing the holiday-themed and irreverent world of the new Disney+ series. One of the most buzzed-about aspects of the trailer actually had little to do with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), but a brief look at Rogers: The Musical, an in-universe stage show that appears to recount the story of Steve Rogers / Captain America(Chris Evans). While we have no idea how much the Captain America musical factors into the events of Hawkeye, the gimmick and the homage to Hamilton have definitely gotten fans talking. It also has reminded fans of a smaller-part of the star-spangled hero’s history — that a Captain America musical almost happened back in the 1980s.
Word of the musical first caught wind in 1985, when Marvel Comics ran a casting call for the production in the pages of their comics. The advertisement, which you can check out below, called for a girl aged 10-14 to play a friend and sidekick of Captain America.
The closest we got to official reporting about the musical was an April 5, 1985 article in The New York Times, which revealed that the show had a budget of $4 million, which would equate to around $10 million in today’s dollars. According to their showing, the production was written by Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs, and would have seen John Rogers (played by John Callum) in a mid-life crisis, only to be shaken out of it when his girlfriend, a presidential candidate named Sharon Phillips, is taken hostage by terrorists in the Lincoln Memorial. The project’s villain would have been a cosmetic CEO named Jay Peters (played by Cleavon Little), who was really funding the terrorist cell. Songs on the project would have included “Fly the Flag”, “Nobody Asked Me to Lead a Parade This Year”, “Both Ways”, and ‘The First Presidential.”
According to GamesRadar, the Captain America musical ran a small string of performances to try to raise money, but did not have any luck. The project was finally cancelled once Ronald Perelman took control of Marvel in the late 1980s, as a way to cut costs for the company.
So, while a Captain America musical didn’t get to see the light of day decades ago, we’ll get to see the concept brought to life — albeit, in a more modern coat of paint — in Rogers: The Musical.
Hawkeye is expected to premiere on Disney+ on November 24th.