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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Character Who's More Important Than You Think

Contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a human-bird-vampire hybrid! Well, when talking about Marvel's Falcon, he's all of the above.

All right, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is probably not taking Falcon the way of his comic counterpart — we'll get to the human-bird-vampire-hybrid thing later — but the Marvel comics do provide a pretty big clue as to the importance of one of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's characters. While the newest Disney+ series has already proven its personal focus on the titular two, with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) visiting his family and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) getting some much-needed therapy, there's one newcomer to the action who will probably shape up to be more than just a piece of the background: First Lieutenant Torres, played by Danny Ramirez.

In the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, when Sam tangles mid-air with members of the criminal organization LAF, Torres is on the ground, doing a form of extreme birdwatching. He keeps his eyes on Sam, clearly impressed with the Falcon's fancy flying. While two sit for tea in Tunisia, we learn more about Torres: He's a technologically savvy intel officer using social media to gain information on criminal groups. Right now, he's after the Flag-Smashers.

Already, Torres is developing a close relationship with Sam, jokingly asking if Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was sent to a secret base on the Moon, and proving that he's willing to get into hairy situations (read: knocked out) to obtain important intel. He's clearly got the moxie to be a hero, and a link to the pages of Marvel Comics suggests he just might become one by the end of the series' six episodes.

In the comics, Sam saves Joaquín Torres, who then becomes the Falcon

First introduced in the Captain America: Sam Wilson comic run, which began with its first issue in October 2015, Joaquín Torres is a teenager from Arizona who was kidnapped and experimented on. Infused with DNA from Sam's sidekick Redwing — a bird who eventually becomes vampiric, not the drone from the Marvel films — Torres is turned into a falcon-human hybrid, with a little bit of regenerative vampirism thrown in for good measure. He has a psychic link with Redwing, like Sam does, so the two of them communicate through the bird while they fight the criminal coalition known as the Serpent Society. Joaquín then takes on the Falcon identity, as Sam is already going by Captain America at that point.

Right off the bat, there are several differences between comic-Torres and MCU-Torres: the age difference, how he meets Sam, and the complete lack of feathery wings. However, despite a differing backstory, it isn't a huge leap to theorize that the screen version of Torres will take up the Falcon mantle by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Sam's own journey is about his struggle to assume Captain America's moniker, but if does pick up the shield, it sure would be a waste to let the awesome Falcon gear go unused.

Phase 4 of the MCU is shaping up to be all about the new generation of Avengers: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is training Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), while Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is passing the baton to Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). For now, however, we'll simply add "Torres is Joaquín Torres, who will become the Falcon" to the growing pile of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier theories.