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Why The New Captain America From The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Looks So Familiar

Contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1

Marvel's second Disney+ television event, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, has finally dropped, continuing the saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most patriotic hero, Captain America.

As Marvel's third phase came to a close with the enormous 2019 crossover event Avengers: Endgame, the original Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) retired from his heroic post after saving the world from Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his Infinity Stone-studded gauntlet of destruction. After returning the stones to their correct timelines, Steve makes the decision to live out his life with his long-lost love, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), in the past, returning to the present timeline briefly to pass his shield on to his good friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), also known as "the Falcon."

Alongside Steve's century-old best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Sam sets out to carry on Steve's legacy with the famous shield in his possession — but before he can debut as the new Captain America, the United States government presents their own option just as the first episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes to a close. Though the new Captain America, John Walker, is only seen in the hero's distinctive mask and just for a moment or two, he's played by a pretty famous face. Here's why Wyatt Russell, who plays the new Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, looks so familiar.

Wyatt Russell's big breakout role was in a goofy comedy sequel

The son of superstar performers Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell — and half-brother of starlet Kate Hudson — Russell was originally an athlete, playing for multiple amateur and professional hockey teams early in his career before quitting hockey due to multiple injuries. Perhaps thanks in part to his family legacy, Russell then turned to acting, appearing in small roles in movies like 2011's Cowboys and Aliens and 2012's This Is 40, he finally scored his breakout role in 2014 in the comedy sequel 22 Jump Street.

In the sequel to the 1980s reboot 21 Jump Street, which was released in 2012, two bumbling cops, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) return to their undercover beat, heading to college to figure out who's distributing dangerous street drugs throughout campus. Russell plays Zook, a football star who forms an immediate bond with Jenko (much to Schmidt's dismay) and is a main suspect for the pair. Ultimately, it turns out that Zook's not actually behind the drug distribution, but just a customer. Russell isn't the star of the film, but he makes a huge impact as Jenko's new best friend, and it set him up for some huge appearances going forward.

Wyatt Russell has appeared in some great indie flicks

Besides blockbusters like 22 Jump Street, Russell's film career has mostly relied on acclaimed indie movies, but he's certainly become a recognizable movie star thanks to these opportunities. After his success in 22 Jump Street, Russell joined the cast of Richard Linklater's breezy sports comedy Everybody Wants Some!! in 2016 alongside stars like Zoey Deutch, Blake Jenner, and Glen Powell, and overall, the film earned positive reviews.

In 2017, Russell played a vital supporting role in the dark satire Ingrid Goes West alongside his future MCU co-star Elizabeth Olsen (whose character, Wanda Maximoff, kicked off the MCU's television projects with 2021's WandaVision), playing Ezra, the husband of Olsen's influencer Taylor Sloane. Eventually, Ezra and Taylor are entranced by Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza), a mysterious new stranger desperate to invade their lives.

Russell then went on to appear in the crime thriller Shimmer Lake and the romantic comedy Table 19 that same year. Soon, he's set to appear in the buzzy new literary adaptation The Woman in the Window, joining a cast that includes huge names like Amy Adams and Gary Oldman — as well as his Falcon and the Winter Soldier co-star Anthony Mackie — which premieres on Netflix on May 14, 2021.

The small screen has been great to Wyatt Russell

Russell has built up a solid film career, but beyond The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he's shone brightly on the small screen. After appearances in the 2013 Walking Dead webseries The Oath and the 2013 Arrested Development reboot, Russell took center stage in a popular 2016 Black Mirror episode, "Playtest," where Russell's Cooper agrees to test a new implant that allows for gamers to place themselves within video games.

Two years later, Russell won over audiences and critics with a leading role in AMC's sadly short-lived series Lodge 49 as former surfer Sean "Dud" Dudley, who stumbles across the mysterious "Lodge 49" and finds himself sucked into the cultish lifestyle. Most recently, Russell appeared in the miniseries The Good Lord Bird, which stars Ethan Hawke, in a recurring role as Confederate Army lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart.

You can see Russell going forward in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which airs new episodes every Friday at midnight PST.