The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 1 Breakdown

The MCU has a new Captain America and Sam Wilson's Falcon successor might have been introduced -- all in the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier era is officially beginning, RIP WandaVision, and we're back with your weekly article/video breakdowns. Safe to say we've all learned our lesson and you won't hear me talk about Mephisto or any aerospace engineers in these, no matter how much my tin foil hat wants me to point out that a mention of "a secret base on the other side of the moon" could be a reference to the Inhumans or Magneto or literally anything from the comics.

Full spoilers follow. Let's start at the finish -- the MCU has a new Captain America.

Falcon and Winter Soldier John Walker Captain America Wyatt Russell
(Photo: Marvel Studios)

This man from the end of the Episode who looks like the old man from Up if he unsuccessfully tried to steal Steve swagger is John Walker. This is a character who operates in a grey area in Marvel Comics and actually is best known for being US Agent, though he has had other aliases, like Super Patriot, and he often times has bad things to say about the real Captain America, Steve Rogers. He currently has the MCU's shield and you can bet Sam and Bucky are going to want to get that thing back, it's just a question of how difficult it's going to be. John Walker's reign as Cap is not long for this world.

Now let's talk about Sam Wilson -- who experiencing unnecessary difficulties in trying to get a loan, but this is America, after all. Sam has a conversation with James Rhodes aka War Machine, it's their first interaction that we've seen since Avengers: Infinity War and there's an interesting line here -- saying that, "Allies are now enemies." Given this is months after the Blip and WandaVision was merely a couple of weeks after everyone returned, I can't help but wonder if this is a reference to Wanda Maximoff possibly being a villain as she heads into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

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(Photo: Marvel Studios)

Falcon's successor might have been introduced. Sam's military buddy Torres could be the Joaquin Torres, aka the man who becomes Falcon in Marvel Comics. We all expect Sam to go on and become Captain America, so a successor should be in order. In fact, Torres first appeared in Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 as a photograph before a full appearance in Captain America: Sam Wilson #3 and then became Falcon in issue #6. By the way, these books are from 2015 and 2016, so the character is relatively new!

It does seem that Captain America has officially died by the time this show starts because Sam says he is gone... Take as much time as you need to wipe the tears before continuing.

On the other hand, Bucky Barnes is trying to get acclimated his 106-year-old brain to life in this new modern world. Trauma has him ignoring Sam's texts and seeing a therapist to try to work through the PTSD of being a HYDRA soldier which not only includes him killing major characters like Tony Stark's parents but also his friend Yori's son. As he said previously in the MCU, he remembers every single one of them, and it's haunting him in his nightmares.

Bucky is carrying a list of names of people he wants to get revenge against because apparently he watched the first season of Arrow but the couple of noteworthy names are "L Kaminski," a reference to beloved Marvel Comics writer Len Kaminski, "S Whitaker," a popular comic creator who worked on What If…? books and Super Soldiers, and at the top you'll see "A. Rostov," which is short for Colonel Andre Rostov, aka Red Barbarian, aka a villain after Stark Tech who worked in Bucky's gulag. If Rostov's comic book counterpart matters, Bucky might be paying him a visit soon.

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(Photo: Marvel Studios / The Falcon And The Winter Soldier)

Then there's Bucky sleeping on the floor, which is a reference to Sam and Steve's conversation about coming back from war and thinking their mattresses are too soft, so they would rather sleep on the hard ground. This show is really going to take a deep look at the mental health of these characters, and this nod seems like a nice way to tie them together in an integral and emotional way.

Now, let's talk about the villains - the Flag-Smashers. In the comics, Flag Smasher is just one person -- a villain named Karl Morgenthau who is basically a super skilled martial artist who longs for eliminating borders and nationalism on any level. I think we're going to see the one-man terrorist from the comics become an entire terror group from the show, centered around the masked super soldier leader played by Erin Kellyman of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Kellyman's character is named in the credits as Karli Morgenthau so there's a clear Flag-Smasher comic story at play.

All in all, they could be working for or at least inspired by Zemo, the villain from Civil War returning in all of his purple mask glory later in this show and writer Malcolm Spellman is particularly hyped for.

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(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)
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If this guy from the beginning of the episode looks familiar, that's Batroc the Leaper who might look familiar because he looks like Macklemore or maybe because he got his ass kicked by Captain America in the opening sequence from The Winter Soldier. Will he be back? Yeah, I think so, he's probably going to be spending some time in Madripoor which is a criminal safe haven and maybe he'll even get a swaggy purple suit like he has worn in comics.

What Easter eggs and references did you catch in the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier? Drop them in the comments or send them my way on Instagram. Subscribe to the Phase Zero podcast, diving into all things MCU, new episodes are available on all major podcast platforms.