One of the driving forces behind the story of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the aftermath of The Blip. While the series' two main characters, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, were among the half of the universe that was gone during the five years between Thanos' infamous snap that caused their disappearance and the Hulk's that brought them back, others featured on the show lived through those five years, most notably Karli Morgenthau.
Karli is the leader of the Flag Smashers, a group fighting for the world to stay as it was during the five years of The Blip. Borders between nations were much more relaxed and there was a strong sense of global community.
Now that half the world has returned, the Global Repatriation Council is working to get things back to the way they were before their disappearance, and Karli and the other Flag Smashers are desperate to stop this from happening, at times taking drastic measures to do so.
So far, this has included tactics like bombing a GRC office building and stealing vials of an updated version of the notorious Super Soldier Serum (one that doesn't bring side effects like visible muscle enhancement) to use on themselves.
SUPER SOLDIER SERUM USAGE
Erin Kellyman, who plays Karli Morgenthau on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, recently discussed her character in an interview with TVLine. She explained Karli's appreciation for the fact that "there was more unity" during the Blip as the main motivation behind her actions.
“The people who remained kind of came together and supported each other lot more because of the traumatic event — half of the population disappearing — and the borders were open, and people came together, and there was more unity. That’s what she’s trying to replicate that again, but with everybody this time.”
Kellyman also touched on the reasoning behind the Flag Smashers' desire to take the Super Soldier Serum as being for "a more practical use" than some fans might expect.
“I think the reason that they wanted the power behind them, originally, was probably for a more practical use. They do a lot of moving boxes and helping people, and I think they probably would have just taken it for that reason. Now they’re starting to get more attention, and they’re posing more of a threat, and I think [the serum] is quite helpful."
THE DESIRES OF THE FLAG SMASHERS
Kellyman's take on the Super Soldier Serum's use by the Flag Smashers is one that hasn't been discussed much among Marvel fans. Many assumed the reason was that it would allow their bodies to fight better and withstand more physical trauma, but as the actor points out, the type of strength gained from taking it certainly lends itself to more than just punching and kicking people.
Karli's mission of global unity is one the world's governments seem to have turned their backs on now that the full population has been restored, so it makes sense she would be way of those who carry some level of authority, even Avengers like Sam Wilson who don't officially work for any government organization.
Perhaps this is because of the limitations the Sokovia Accords have placed on superheroes, which have surprisingly not been a major topic of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier thus far. They appear to still be in effect to some degree as of WandaVision, which takes place just a few months before this series, so it's possible the subject will be brought up at some point during the show's final two episodes.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's first four episodes are now available to stream on Disney+.