The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, “New World Order,” has been widely praised by critics and fans. In particular, the writing for Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes was lauded for adding more depth to these two supporting characters.
One character, in particular, has gotten some attention already from fans which is Danny Ramirez's Joaquín Torres. The actor was actually reported to have joined the series in a “pivotal role,” which has now been confirmed to be Torres, the next Falcon in the comics.
WHO IS JOAQUIN TORRES?
In the comics, Joaquín Torres was introduced to readers at 17 years old, but as a child, he crossed the border into America with his mother and grandmother for a better life. Making Torres a dreamer, an undocumented immigrant to the United States granted protection under the DACA act, which also gave him a pathway for higher education. He would graduate from high school in Sonoita, Arizona, with honors and pursue noble goals in life.
Still feeling great sympathy for his fellow Mexicans making the arduous trek across the border, Torres acted as a Samaritan distributing water and food to prevent more people from dying on the journey. However, on one of these ventures, Torres was captured and subsequently experimented on by a supervillain that spliced him with animal DNA, turning him into a falcon hybrid.
The catch was that the falcon used in the experiment was Sam Wilson's own Redwing with Wilson, then the new Captain America, rescuing them both. Eventually, after adapting to his new powers, Torres would himself take on the mantel of Falcon, which went unused as Wilson wielded the shield. Torres would associate with various other heroes, including members of the Champions led by Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.
DIFFERENCES FROM COMICS
The two most immediate differences with this character from the comics are that he is a member of the Air Force as a First Lieutenant, meaning that he's at least ten years older than his comic book counterpart, which is unsurprising with Ramirez being 28 years old. It's difficult to decern if Torres is still a dreamer in this adaptation, as it isn't out of the question that he isn't, since dreamers are still allowed to join the military, which Torres could have done after leaving high school.
Although this goes against his characterization in the comics that portrayed him as very much against the police and authority and being part of a team, The Champions, that would routinely go against law enforcement and the government. The same thing happened with Sam Wilson, a social worker in the comics but a soldier in the Air Force in the films.
Additionally, while Torres greatly respected Wilson, he wasn't really a “fan” of him like Torres is portrayed in the first episode. Hopefully, it's just proximity to working with him as his intel officer, but it'd certainly feel repetitive if all these younger heroes are super fans of their heroes. Something that's meant to be more certainly to other characters like Kamala before it's deconstructed.
FUTURE OF THE FUTURE FALCON
It's only the first episode, but this change in career for Torres has certainly rubbed fans of the character the wrong way. Someone who was conceived in the comics as a helper for those seeking a better life is now part of the United States military instead. Hopefully, at the very least, Torres' backstory in the show will be explored that confirms him having once been a dreamer but joined the military to gain naturalized citizenship.
It's possible that future episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldider could touch on how the military-industrial complex prays on the young and poor, especially with recruitment declining. But, again, that's wishful thinking, which won't likely be touched on the show and be so critical of the military. Hopefully, Ramirez's Torres continues to develop and grow as a character as the series progresses until he gets wings of his own in this show or the future.