The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has premiered on Disney+. The new series offers Marvel fans a much-needed updated look at how some of the more grounded heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are faring in the post-Avengers: Endgame era. For Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), he's still lending a heroic-helping hand to the US armed forces, while Bucky Barnes simply tries to cope with civilian life after nearly a century of battle as The Winter Soldier. However, Sam and Bucky's world is about to be shaken up by the arrival of a new faction called "The Flash Smashers."
So who are The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Flag Smashers? Allow us to explain:
Who Are the Flag Smashers? Explained
The premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduces the Flash Smashers as an anarchist group who believe that the world was better and more united after Thanos decimated half of all life on Earth. The event of "The Blip" has upset the Flash Smashers, who want a world "unified without borders," as Sam's partner Joaquín Torres (Danny Ramirez) explains it. During the premiere, the group is seen using V for Vendetta-style tactics of handing out masks to civilians, to confuse cops during a robbery. When Joaquín confronts the Flag Smashers' leader, he also learns first-hand that the man has enhanced strength.
We also know that the Flag-Smashers' female leader (who handed out the masks) is played by Solo's Erin Kellyman; Kellyman's character name has been confirmed as "Karli Morgenthau," which is Easter egg reference to the character of Flag-Smasher, from Marvel Comics.
Marvel Comics History: Flag-Smasher
In the comics, "Flash-Smasher" is a single villain, with the male alter-ego of "Karl Morgenthau." He debuted in the pages of Captain America in the mid-80s. Morgenthau was the son of a peaceful diplomat who died in a political demonstration that turned violent. Karl decided that only by abolishing all nations - by any means necessary - could world peace be achievable. He was staunch "anti-patriot" who obviously clashed with the symbol and ideals of Captain America. Cap and Flag-Smasher's history included a climactic fight to stop a doomsday device, with Red Skull and John Walker/US Agent both involved.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seems to be refitting the Marvel Comics version of Flag-Smasher into a more timely socio-political metaphor for the MCU. The group will help flesh-out the complicated nature of geopolitics and personal beliefs in the post-Blip era; they also seem to be tied to the larger question of how enhancement processes like the Super Soldier Serum could be running rampant in the MCU right now.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+.