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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Who Is The Power Broker?

Warning: spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are ahead.

The wait is over – The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is finally available, and like WandaVision before it, the show is staggering each episode release by a week. Episode 1 set the stage, complete with superpowered anarchists known as the Flag Smashers, a new hero (Wyatt Russell) who is Captain America in name only, and Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barns (Sebastian Stan) trying to make sense of it all. Trailers implied Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) would adopt the mantle of main villain, but according to the end credits, that title might truly lie with another character.

If you pay close attention to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's end credits, you'll find a list of everyone who brought the show to life. But, the credits also hide a few secret messages and Easter eggs in the form of posters and graffiti. The one that has audiences talking features the words "PowerBroker" and "watching." Just who is the Power Broker? Is he or she a Big Brother character who keeps tabs on everything and everyone, and will they eventually appear in the show? You might be able to glean answers from how the character has appeared in other Marvel media.

Superpowers, now in surgical form

While the identity of Power Broker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a mystery, in the comics, he is a capitalist who sells the most sought-after commodity in the Marvel Universe, more valuable than vibranium and The Ultimate Nullifier: superpowers.

Power Broker, real name Curtiss Jackson, started life as a career criminal. Eventually, he formed his own company, Power Broker Inc., which started small by augmenting wrestlers to give them super strength. But, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs — or in Jackson's case, make an army of super wrestlers without creating a few corpses. Superpowers aren't an exact science, you know.

Anyone who survived the process owed Jackson a huge debt, and Jackson used them to fix matches. If he told one of his wrestlers to take a dive, they had to if they wanted to keep their powers. Eventually, Jackson and Power Broker Inc. moved on to bigger and badder faces. His patented augmentation process created the Power Tools villain team, as well as heroes such as Battlestar, Hardball, and one of the many, many Ms. Marvels. Oh, and Jonathan Walker (aka The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's new Captain America).

Since Jackson dipped his fingers into the superhero and villain pies, he had a lot of experience manipulating people. Did one of his customers kill your family? He could offer you powers to get revenge, and thus perpetuate the cycle of carnage and profit.

New face, same name and game

In the Marvel Comic Universe, you can't so much as sneeze without making an enemy or five, and since Curtiss Jackson/Power Broker could hypothetically give people the ability to turn their sneezes into tornados, he made more enemies than most superheroes. To ensure his safety, Jackson used his augmentation process on himself, which kind of went horribly wrong. He was so desperate to get rid of his own powers that he partnered with the Red Skull. While this deal with the Nazi devil eventually benefitted Jackson, as he indeed returned to normal, he probably wished he hadn't since powers might have prevented the Punisher from killing him.

However, nature abhors a vacuum, and a new man settled into the hole left by Jackson's death. This new Power Broker provides the same service of offering people superpowers for the low price of 70% of all their future profits, but he also evolved with the times and produced the mobile app "Hench" (or Hench X, depending on who you ask). Criminals in need of a superpowered possie can use Hench to hire anyone who has received powers from the new Power Broker.

So, the question remains, which version of Power Broker will appear in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Will they resemble the original Jackson iteration or the newer one? Or perhaps some combination of the two? Or, will the show's Power Broker take on a new form? We will have to wait and see.