The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has fans of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes hyped for the next six Fridays, but the Disney+ series will also feature new characters whom viewers are going to get to know for the first time.
One of them is John Walker, a Marine who ends up having to work alongside Sam and Bucky as they aim to take down a new international threat.
NEW DYNAMICS AND OLD INFLUENCES
A new image from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier features John Walker in his military uniform with a woman standing beside him with her hand on his shoulder. Fans are speculating that this image is depicting Walker before he dons the new Captain America suit .
Speaking on the new-to-the-MCU character in an interview with USA Today , head writer Malcom Spellman said that “Walker speaks to this idea of American exceptionalism and the necessity we have in questioning it." He cited Black Panther as an inspiration for the series, saying “It proved that Marvel fans don't mind substance.”
In the same interview, actor Wyatt Russell described how the "dynamic [his characters] adds" affects the course of the series.
“John Walker wouldn't be in this series if he was causing everything to go well. There's a dynamic he adds that somewhat complicates the relationship of everybody involved.”
The iconic Captain America shield itself also played a key part in the show's development. Not only was it a physical presence amongst the writers as they worked on the series, as Russell phrases it "It represents what somebody puts on it."
“The shield doesn't itself represent something that's singular. It represents what somebody puts on it,” he says. “So one guy puts his own version of what Captain America is on it and another person puts a version of what it is.”
THE MEANING OF THE MANTLE
In Marvel comics, John Walker is known as US Agent and takes on the mantle of Captain America at one point. As evidenced by the trailers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , he seems poised to do the same in the MCU. This is surely going to be a major cause of conflict and drama, as Sam Wilson was the person Steve Rogers personally passed the shield on to.
Russell's quote that the shield "represents what somebody puts on it" is definitely going to be a big deal in the series. People have different ideas as to what the mantle of Captain America means and what the shield represents. Spellman's mention of Walker representing American exceptionalism likely means that it will be a crucial part of his vision for Cap.
There's also the element of race that the creators have said the show isn't going to shy away from. With one white Captain America candidate and one Black one, there are sure to be discussions of the different meanings and receptions given to the shield when it is held by each of them.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 's first episode premieres on Disney+ March 19.