The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will once again have Marvel fans buzzing over the X-Men's Marvel Cinematic Universe debut - thanks to some fun little Easter eggs buried in Episode 3. The latest chapter of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is titled "Power Broker" in reference to the mysterious criminal who is developing and distributing a new Super Soldier Serum around the MCU. To track down leads on the serum, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes had to form an alliance with Zemo and take a trip to the pirate city of Madripoor - a place with some deep connections tot he X-Men Universe.
Warning: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3 SPOILERS Follow!
The first big X-Men connection The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3 establishes is Madripoor itself. The Southeast Asian Island/port city first appeared in the Marvel Comics Universe via the X-Men franchise - specifically New Mutants #32 in 1985. It has primarily been a place related to X-Men characters storylines, although Madripoor has been included in various Avengers stories over the years, as well (ex: the Hawkeye comic series the upcoming TV series is based on).
So Madripoor is now established in the MCU, but The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 3 goes to further lengths to signal to fans that this is X-Men territory.
Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Zemo (Daniel Brühl) end up at seedy bar in "Lowtown" called the "Brass Monkey Saloon). Brass Monkey first appeared in Captain America comics of the late '80s - but before the group arrives there, they pass another popular Madripoor bar: Princess Bar.
In the comics, Princess Bar is owned by a man named O'Donnell. It is a major gathering place for Hightown and Lotown residents - and a haven for smuggling. Princess Bar has a big X-Men connection in that it is frequented and silently co-owned by "Patch" - aka Wolverine's alias when he's hanging out in Madripoor. Including the Princess Bar in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is one of the bigger tip-offs so far that space is being cleared for Wolverine in the MCU.
Finally, an actual Marvel mutant gets name-dropped in the Madripoor sequence: Selby, the women who runs the Brass Monkey, and provides Zemo, Winter Soldier, and "Smiling Tiger" (Falcon's alias) with intel on the Super Soldier Serum and the "Power Broker" who is pulling the strings. In the comics, "Selby" was a mutant member of the extremist group the Mutant Liberation Front, with the power to "talk" to computers and break codes. Selby was just a minor character, but the unique name makes the MCU reference a conspicuous choice.
While we don't expect The Falcon and The Winter Soldier to reveal any big X-Men and/or mutant cameos, it seems pretty clear that Marvel Studios is expanding the MCU to make room for them, when they do arrive.
Did you catch any other X-Men references in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 3? New episodes stream weekly on Disney+.