In a recent among an ever-increasing number of fan theories, someone connected Captain America’s abilities to Black Panther and Wakanda.
In the post someone came up with the idea that the reason no one had ever been able to recreate Captain America’s super soldier serum was because it was derived from the Heart Shaped Plant in Black Panther:
Nobody is able to recreate the Super Soldier Serum in the MCU because it comes from the Heart Shaped Herb.
The poster then goes on to great length to justify this theory:
In the MCU it’s been established that Dr. Abraham Erskine, the scientist who turned Steve Rogers into Captain America in The First Avenger (2011), was the only person to ever successfully produce an effective Super Soldier Serum. It’s also established that Cap’s shield is made of vibranium, a supermetal that is only found in Wakanda.
Skip forward from WWII to the present day, and the closest we’ve seen in the MCU to powers resembling those of Steve Rogers are those of the Black Panther. T’Challa and Erik “Killmonger” Stevens both have enhanced speed, strength, and endurance when they possess the powers of the Black Panther. They aren’t necessarily superhuman, but they are at peak human ability, just like Captain America.
Going back to WWII, Erskine’s original attempt at making a super soldier failed, deforming Johann Schmidt into the Red Skull. A few years later, Erskine was ready to try again. With the help of the brilliant Howard Stark, he perfected it and turned the weakling Steve Rogers into the super soldier Captain America.
The difference between the two attempts is that Erskine was now working with Howard Stark. Stark, as we know, had acquired enough vibranium to make a shield sometime before Cap formed the Howling Commandos.
Seeing as vibranium only comes from Wakanda, Stark must have gone to Wakanda (or at least he had a contact there) in order to get his hands on the vibranium needed to make the shield. At some point during his dealings with the Wakandans, Stark must have heard about the Black Panther and his superhuman abilities.
Stark, if not already working with Erskine by this point, would have realized that if America could harness the powers of the Black Panther, they could be used to create a super soldier. Seeing as how Stark was working with and doing science for the US military, he could have figured out that Erskine was the man to talk to about creating an American super soldier.
If Stark was already working with Erskine by the time he found out about the Black Panther, he would have told Erskine about the Black Panther and gotten the go-ahead to figure out how to incorporate it into the super soldier program.
So Stark manages to get some Heart-Shaped Herb via some kind of deal, or maybe he just steals some of it (à la Rocket and the Sovereign’s batteries) when he finds out that the Wakandans aren’t willing to exchange it for anything.
Now that the Americans have the Heart Shaped Herb, the Super Soldier program can continue unhindered. The Herb seems to contain a stabilizing agent which prevents unwanted mutations (e.g. turning into the Red Skull) during the enhancement process. The research is completed and they are ready to find a candidate. That candidate ends up being Steve Rogers.
In short, because both are derived from the same source, Cap’s powers and T’Challa’s powers are very similar.
The influence of the Heart Shaped Herb on the MCU doesn’t stop there. The reason that Bruce Banner got turned into the Hulk instead of successfully relaunching the Super Soldier Program (like Ross wanted) in The Incredible Hulk (2008) is that the key ingredient — the Heart Shaped Herb’s stabilizing agent — was missing, and the same goes for Blonsky when he turns into the Abomination.
TL;DR: The Super Soldier Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America was derived from the Heart Shaped Herb that gives people the powers of the Black Panther. The Heart Shaped Herb was incorporated into the Serum by Howard Stark, who somehow got a sample of the Herb from Wakanda, where he also obtained the vibranium used to make Cap’s famous shield. The Herb contains a key ingredient that prevents the enhanced individual from getting fucked up like the Red Skull, the Hulk, and the Abomination did.
While this theory is interesting, it doesn’t exactly line up with what happened in Captain America: The First Avenger. When the Red Skull used the super soldier serum on himself it was incomplete and deformed him but gave him super strength all the same. It was also heavily implied throughout the length of the film that the serum’s more positive effects had more to do with the characters morality and was less based in hard science. It also stands to reason that if Howard Stark and everyone else knew about the Heart Shaped Herb they probably would have returned to Wakanda in some way to continue the program. But who knows! Captain America and Black Panther’s abilities are very similar so perhaps they have a common root.
What do you all make of this theory? Does it have to many holes in it? Would you like to see the films have more connections to Wakanda? Let us know what you think in the comments below!