Two things we know for sure about the interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is that everything happens for a reason and everything is packed with Easter eggs and call-backs. Part of the fun of WandaVision was the rampant speculation, the mining for hints, and the fan discussions. Now Falcon And The Winter Soldier looks to give us the same bounty.
Episode 1 aired late last week and now we have a chance to comb through it for clues, it doesn’t disappoint.
So, with Sam Wilson still in possession of the shield that feels like it is somebody else’s, and with the events of Avengers: Endgame still causing repercussions around the world, what can we find hidden in plain sight for us to geek out over this time around?
Well for a start, Sam’s ground contact is First Lieutenant Torres. In comics lore, Joaquín Torres was experimented on by an evil scientist called Karl Malus. This transformed him into a part-man, part-avian hybrid who, when Sam became Captain America for a time, took on the mantle as the new Falcon.
Malus went by the codename Power Broker, and in the end titles sequence that sees hastily redacted text being deleted before our eyes, there is a reference to the Power Broker.
Somebody has to be paying for the services of Batroc. Batroc, you will remember, was being paid by Hydra and was in control of the Lemurian Star, the container vessel Steve Rogers and Black Widow boarded at the start of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Who are they? And how do they link to the seemingly new anarchist movement, the Flag Smashers?
In the comics, Captain America had an enemy called The Flag-Smasher. He was Karl Morgenthau, the son of a wealthy Swiss banker-turned-diplomat from Bern in Switzerland.
He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a diplomat until his father was trampled to death in a riot at a Latverian embassy. He came to believe that humanity needed to do away with the concept of countries and nationalism that made people feel superior to those of different nationalities. In doing so he basically stands opposed to the kind of patriotism that Captain America represented.
In the show, we already know a female character called Karli Morgenthau, who will be played by Erin Kellyman.
We know it won’t fall to Captain America to stop her this time. Although in the MCU the internet seems to be just as crazy a place as in the real world, with persistent rumors that Steve Rogers is not dead cropping up online.
According to the show, the rumors say Steve is alive and well in a secret base on the moon. In Marvel lore several characters have lived on the moon. These include The Inhumans and the Watcher. We know the Watcher is soon to arrive in the MCU as the presenter of the Disney+ show What If…?
What Of The Winter Soldier?
Bucky seems to be on something of a personal mission too. He keeps a notebook the same as Cap’s, only his notebook contains a list of the amends he needs to make for his former life.
Only shown in a quick glance, the pause button helps us see these names include Rostov, a.k.a. the Red Barbarian, who Bucky killed. There is also reference to Wilhelm Hauser who fought Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos in some comics. Zemo is mentioned, who we know is returning in the show.
For some fun, the rest of the names are of comic writers who worked on Captain America and Falcon stories over the years.
It’s All About The Money
One thing we learned is that Tony Stark bankrolled the Avengers. This backed up his comment in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when pointing to Captain America:
“Uh, actually, he’s the boss. I just pay for everything, and design everything and make everyone look cooler.“
So with Tony now gone, and after the battle at the Avenger’s compound, does this now mean the Avengers are disbanded? It would appear so, as Sam mentions needing government contracts to get by and hasn’t got enough provable income, post-blip, to qualify for a loan.
We do see that the blip has caused issues, with half the world’s population suddenly reappearing out of nowhere, the economy is struggling to keep up. Even an ex-Avenger doesn’t get a free ride from a bank. Even Stark Industries’ share price will no doubt have tanked after the death of its visionary leader and prime creative force.
We didn’t see how Bucky is earning money these days, but we did see an episode from Bucky’s past troubling him deeply, as his friend turns out to have a connection to one of his dark misdeeds in his former life. Who will this turn out to be, and why is he important?
Captain America Version 2.0
One thing we already knew was that a new Captain America would appear in the form of John Walker, played by Kurt’s son himself, Wyatt Russell.
In the comic books, he became known as US Agent and turned out to be corrupt and violent. Eventually, Steve was forced to take the shield back from him. What is the betting that Sam and Bucky will need to do the same thing by the end of this series?
Nick Spencer’s Captain America run saw Falcon and Walker continually clash over what Captain America represents and how he should operate. In this run, Sam eventually became the new Cap.
End Credits Bounty
The end credits contain a whole raft of Easter eggs and need to be watched several times. We have already mentioned the reference to the Power Broker. Also in this sequence is a vial of super-soldier serum. Power Broker does experiments. Does this explain why the Flag-Smasher leader seemed to have superhuman strength?
The closing titles also included a reference to Madripoor. We have already mentioned the importance of Madripoor to the X-Men in the Marvel comics and that it was coming to this show.
Hightown in Madripoor was basically a free port where criminals could operate with impunity and even once served as a tax haven for the Kingpin. In the redacted text in the titles, we learn that:
“…forces from neighboring Madripoor have… committing human rights violations.“
Finally, the credits also show Carl Lumbly who is believed to be playing Isaiah Bradley. Bradly was the first black Captain America in the comics from the Truth: Red, White, and Black run where the US Government secretly continued super-soldier experiments on African American soldiers after Steve Rogers.
So there we have it. A quick run-down. We are sure there was more. What did we miss? And where do you think this is all heading?