Sam Wilson is the kind of person that you want on your team. He’s dedicated and loyal, with a genuine desire to help other people without coming off as stiff, pious, or anything less than sincere. He’s level-headed, with a kind of dry sense of humor that matches up well with the people he spends most of his time with. He trusts deeply, which means he doesn’t always trust easily, but he has a lot of faith in his own instincts, and a good sense of how to read people: it doesn’t take him long to make his mind up about how a person is, or whether or not he should spend his time with them.
In Harry Potter terms, regardless of his affinity for birds, Sam is pretty solidly Gryffindor material. He thinks with his heart, not necessarily his head, and he values bravery and doing the right thing, regardless of the sacrifice to himself.
He spends a lot of his time not thinking about how to succeed himself, but how to help others succeed. He takes a lot of pride when his friends and those he's helped either through Veteran Affairs or otherwise, reach their full potential. But that doesn't make him a foil, or a side-kick. He isn't someone else's Manic Pixie (or Bagger Vance >.>) and he does have goals, motivations and a life of his own. His relationship with Anne Weaver is a big part of that, and his role as an Avenger is becoming more and more of an important part of that too.
Sam never really has a day off, but he’s also someone who doesn’t really notice he doesn’t have a day off. He always has plans, is pretty extroverted, and gets his energy from spending time with others as opposed to spending it on his own. For that reason, when he finds an extra minute to himself it’s usually spent visiting with the veterans that he councils.
Sam finds solace in helping others not only because he relied on others and the Veterans Association to come to terms with what happened to him overseas, but also because helping others is what he knows. The son of a Harlem preacher who spent a lot of his own youth helping his community, there is something familiar and comfortable about being in an outreach position. It comes pretty naturally to him.
There’s obviously some indication, obviously, that Sam knew who Steve was before he met him - or at least had some ideas about Captain America, but I don’t think he ever put a lot of thought into what the guy was really like, now having come to know him, Sam considers Rogers to be, basically, a great moral & ethics litmus test. He trust's Steve's opinion on things and he's probably loyal to him to a fault. Meeting Steve Rogers, and helping him bring down HYDRA infested SHIELD changed Sam’s life, and certainly, the direction that it was taking because fighting alongside Steve, Natasha and their allies gave him a reason to pick his wings back up, gave him a cause to fight for and a direction to go in so he felt less like he was spinning his wheels to try and stay above water, and more like he was back to doing things that really made an impact and a huge difference on the world he lived in.
(This isn't to say that he thinks his work with the Veterans isn't important, difficult, or challenging - just that he wanted to do more. And a lot of his work with the Veterans was about coming to grips with his own loss, his own struggles, and his own grief and guilt.)
Letting himself fall into Steve's orbit was a big step for him to take because it meant that he was finally ready to let go of how he felt about being potentially unreliable. After Riley's death, it was huge for Sam to feel as though he could let someone lean on him or look to him for support without fearing that he might disappoint them.
But more important than Steve, I think it's good to note that Sam isn't here with the Avengers because of Steve. Rogers may have introduced him to the organization, but Wilson wouldn't be here if he didn't want to be. There's no obligation or sense that he has to help Steve out of guilt or commitment. Since Sam left the paratroopers, he's been looking for something in his life that fulfilled him like being in the army used to and Rogers showed him what that thing was -- but it's Sam who went after it. And he's glad to be an Avenger now.
Being a “bad-ass normal” has its advantages, Sam would say, but it also has a bit of an impact on how Sam sees people with powers, people who are mystic robots, rage monsters, or White Event Enhanced twins. It’s not really a negative thing, and Sam has no real objection to the new recruits, or to people who've been changed or granted abilities by the White Event, but he sort of finds the whole thing weird.
He has a hard time wrapping his head around the nature of superpowers, of the Tesseract, and of what exactly is going on in Potts Tower. He has certainly learned to roll with it, sure, but he can’t help but find certain aspects of the whole situation off-putting. Particularly in the case of the Hulk, whose physicality changes in ways that just don’t make any sense. And he has a bit of a hard time marrying what he knows about Potts Tower and the other Avengers to his general outlook on life.
Let's talk about PTSD for a minute.
It's not really something that's a person can just recover and walk away from. Sam had a really hard time with the death of his partner Riley, and he still copes with sleepless nights, guilt, and the trauma of the death of his friend. Sam stopped flying when Riley was killed, so when Natasha and Steve got Wilson his EXO-7 Falcon wings back, putting them back on and going with Rogers to face off against HYDRA was a supercritical moment for him. One of the major themes of the CA:TWS movie was, I think, characters self-examining why they do what they do, and for Sam, fighting with Steve gave him the reason to keep going that he'd really been missing. The reason to do.
Sam doesn't like being still. (This is also the reason that a lot of Sam's leisure time is spent actively. He's always moving, running, swimming or trying to get involved with people's lives and recovery to help them keep moving). Sam has, basically, a kind of subconscious fear of stagnation. Of settling into some situation he hates just because it's comfortable, and he rebels against that every day and in every way that he can.
ABILITIES & WEAKNESSES
Sam Wilson will be coming into the game with his regular equipment: EXO-7 Falcon: Prototype jet-pack with wings, Combat Goggles, and Redwing: A Drone mounted on the EXO-7 Falcon's back, and Steve Roger's Captain America shield.
Sam is a licensed therapist, and as a former member of the military he has extensive combat, marksmanship and field medical training.
Sam is only human, while he's in great shape he's still vulnerable. He's also stubborn, is sometimes motivated to take risks because of his survivor's guilt, and is often ruled more by his emotions than facts. </b>