Disney+ brought forth Phase 4 of the MCU through WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, both in quick succession. And with everything in the new phase having to pick up right after Avengers: Endgame, we got to see a lot of new, and even difficult to process, scenes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
While Endgame ended on a hopeful note, with Steve Rogers handing the Captain America shield to the Falcon Sam Wilson, fans were looking forward to seeing the beloved character take up a new route, albeit in big shoes to fill.
But The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins on a grim note, in the first episode of which, Sam gives up the Captain America Shield to the government. Actor Anthony Mackie portrays Sam’s predicament in a thought-provoking manner, giving us a deeper insight into why Falcon is finding it difficult to come to terms with taking the huge responsibility of being Captain America.
In the first episode, Sam gives up the shield to the US government to honor Steve, but this is quickly followed by the announcement of a new Captain America, i.e., John Walker. Although many MCU fans might not be aware of it, this is actually a popular comic book character, and given the history of John Walker, this new Captain America might just turn out to be a villain. So who exactly is the new Captain America and what does he have in store for us? Let’s find out!
1. John Walker, the New Captain America
In the first episode, we see Sam struggling with the idea of replacing Steve Rogers, which leads to him giving up the shield to the US government to be displayed in a museum. However, this is quickly followed by the announcement of a new Captain America, John Walker.
The premiere episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ends with the introduction of a new Captain America, the popular comic book character John Walker/US Agent. In the comics, John first appeared back in 1986 in Captain America #323 as Super-Patriot, intended to be the other side of the coin, i.e Captain America’s more xenophobic side.
Sometime later, John is retired as a Super-Patriot, but when Steve gives up his shield because he feels his job has turned into more of a political game, the title of Captain America is passed down to John.
A. Why Was Steve Rogers Replaced?
Steve Rogers has long been a fan-favorite Captain America, played by the charming Chris Evans in the MCU. Endgame left a lot of fans dejected, since we lost Tony Stark along with Steve, though we don’t actually know if Steve is dead.
Regardless, Steve is no longer Captain America, and that stands as of now. But this really goes back to why the position of Captain America is open anyway. Endgame established that the Avengers just weren’t the same for Steve anymore, especially with Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff gone. Steve had done his duties. He had lived his life as an Avenger and a Super Soldier.
Naturally, it was bittersweet to watch him go, but for a superhero who has done his duty, Steve passing on the mantle to someone he trusts, i.e. Sam, is not that crazy an idea. If anything, Steve deserves the time off with the love of his life, Peggy.
It might make fans uncomfortable to see that someone not-so-desirable is replacing Steve, but hopefully, Sam does the right thing and takes the shield from John after all.
“How does it feel?”Steve
“Like it’s someone else’s.”Sam
B. Is John Evil?
Having lost his older brother Mike—whom he grew looking up to—in the Vietnam War, John turns into a morally corrupt, over-zealous patriot who values nationalism. Even in the comics, he’s not actually evil. He’s just a bit too aggressive and more of an anti-hero than an outright villain.
But he does go into the hated character bucket of the MCU, mostly because of the way he’s introduced. While the US government seemed to be thankful to Sam for having given up the shield to honor Steve Rogers, they didn’t actually waste any time in finding a replacement for him. Essentially, John Walker looks like a more government-controlled version than the independent Steve, as it is in the comics as well.
Here’s what actor Wyatt Russel had to say about it.
I don’t think there’s really been many MCU characters who’ve had quite the dilemma he’s had in terms of trying to fit into this sort of moralistic superhero world.
He’s been thrust into this role as Captain America and he’s going to do it his way, and he wants to do it right. But his way is a very specific way that he has learned through being basically a trained human hunter.
I mean, that’s what Marines are. They’re not Steve Rogers, they’re not the same. They’re not like Boy Scouts anymore. They’re a little bit more gnarly.Wyatt Russel on John Walker’s Captain America
John isn’t the Cap that anyone is used to seeing; he’s short-tempered, frustrated easily, and reacts aggressively compared to Steve’s cool and composed demeanor. So if MCU sticks to the comic storyline, it would be interesting to see how they weave John into the Sam and Bucky plot of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and later in the other installments of Phase 4.
C. Is John a Super Soldier?
The first two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduced us to one of the most significant plot points as well as characters in MCU Phase 4, i.e. Super Soldiers. This allows us to wonder whether or not the new Captain America is also a Super Soldier.
According to the comics, John serves in the US Army and finds out about Power Broker, someone who can grant people superhuman abilities. He goes through the same process that the other super soldiers of Marvel do and emerges a Super Soldier in the comics, but that remains to be confirmed in the show.
During the scene where John is being interviewed by a reporter in the second episode, he reveals that he doesn’t “have any superhuman abilities,” and that he takes inspiration from Steve Rogers, sharing the same sentiment of protecting his country.
If MCU will follow the comics correctly, it is highly possible that John Walker will actually be a Super Soldier in the show as well but is making conscious efforts to keep his powers concealed. Why? We don’t know yet.
So far, John has not directly done anything that might indicate that he has any superhuman abilities. But the Super Soldiers do form the backbone of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as it stands now. Perhaps, we’ll find out more in the coming episodes.
2. Comics vs MCU
Since we’re only two episodes in, we don’t know yet exactly how John is going to be portrayed on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. So let’s talk about what differences or similarities are shared by the MCU and comic versions of John.
While John doesn’t have that great a history in the comics, MCU has not yet explored his origins in detail. Regardless, it’s safe to say John hasn’t really charmed anyone yet, given the fans’ love for Steve Rogers as Cap. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gives us a slightly annoying new Captain America, with John being a bit mysterious and seemingly stuck up. Yes, we already hate him.
Although humble with regards to the responsibility he’s been given, actor Wyatt Russell does an outstanding job of making the character unlikeable from the start. So, even though John receives a warm welcome from the people of America in the show, save for Bucky and Sam, he does have the knack to get on viewers’ nerves.
However, in the comics, John’s arc is not exactly related directly to Bucky and Sam. In episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky and Sam run into John and his compatriot Lemar Hoskins, Battlestar (another popular comic book character), when dealing with the Flag-Smashers. John then offers them to join him so they can take on the anarchist group together, which, of course, both Sam and Bucky refuse.
This sets up a complex relationship between the significant characters in the impressive MCU style. Looks like MCU’s John Walker might not be that different from the comic versions after all. What do you think?
3. Is There a Black Captain America as Well?
A. Isaiah Bradley
Interestingly, John isn’t the only Captain America after Steve. The comics also have a black Captain America, i.e. Isaiah Bradley, whom we meet in Episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Fans know Isaiah Bradley as the Black Captain America in Marvel Comics, he’s one of the 300 African-American soldiers tested for the Super Soldier Serum before it was perfected and given to Steve Rogers—the first official Captain America.
Bradley was the only one who survived the torment and came to be known as the Black Captain America. Later, because the military finds this treachery, Bradley is imprisoned for 17 years.
Similarly, in episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, after Sam and Bucky face off a total of eight (as of now) Flag-Smashers (who are also Super Soldiers), Bucky takes Sam along to meet Isaiah Bradley. Like in the comics, Isaiah mentions having spent time in prison. But we still haven’t gotten much detail about him in the show. The upcoming episodes might clear the air around that.
Based on the introduction of Isaiah, he might have a significant part to play against the Flag-Smashers. But we can’t say yet whether he will take up the shield at some point in the MCU.
B. Will Falcon Take on Steve’s Shield?
While we’re on the subject of a Black Captain America, we can’t not talk about Falcon, who is actually given the shield by Steve. But the responsibility is quite big, and not just for the character but even for the actor in real life. Here’s what Mackie told Variety:
“I was really surprised and affected by the idea of possibly getting the shield and becoming Captain America.”Anthony Mackie
He adds later in an interview with EW,
“I think picking up from where we left off at the end of Endgame, the show progresses extremely well by asking those questions and really explaining why Sam said the shield feels like it belongs to someone else.”Anthony Mackie
We’re only two episodes in, but given Falcon’s reaction at the end of the first episode when John was introduced as the new Cap, we might just get to see Falcon taking the shield soon.
4. Will We Get to See Chris Evans’ Captain America Again?
Since we don’t know yet if Steve Rogers is dead or alive, or living in an alternate reality, fans have always wondered after Endgame if we will be able to see Chris Evans lifting the Captain America shield again.
There have also been several rumors about this. Case in point, when Deadline recently reported that Evans might be in talks with Marvel to return as Steve Rogers, albeit not with independent movies, but the way Tony Stark had short yet important roles after Iron Man 3.
But the alternate reality shindig might be true because Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is all ready to set up parallel universes. In this scenario, we could see a guest appearance by Chris Evans.
Regardless, Chris Evans has clarified that Endgame was the last Marvel movie for him. So even if we do get to see Evans, he might not come back as Captain America, but just as Steve Rogers in some of the upcoming Phase 4 movies. Could it be Black Widow? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!
5. About The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is an American television miniseries created by Malcolm Spellman for Disney+. It is based on the titular Marvel Comics characters Sam Wilson aka. Falcon and Bucky Barnes aka. The Winter Soldier.
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Falcon and Winter Soldier respectively. They are joined by an ensemble cast including Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Georges St. Pierre, Don Cheadle, Daniel Bruhl, Emily VanCamp, Florence Kasumba and guest star Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Sam and Bucky team up in a global adventure to fight an anarchist group called Flag-Smashers while setting to protect the legacy of Steve Rogers (Captain America).