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The Improvised Captain America Moment That Made It Into The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2 ahead!

Sometimes all it takes it one moment from an episode of television to get people fired up on the internet, and the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had that in abundance. After the events of Avengers: EndgameCaptain America (Chris Evans) decided to go back in time to have a more down-to-earth life with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). As such, he passed the shield onto Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) with the expectation he would take on the mantle. Of course, Sam didn't exactly feel up to the challenge, and the first episode ended with the big reveal that the United States government had appointed John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new Cap. 

It was a big change-up, and one that hasn't sat well with Sam or his partner-in-crime, Bucky Barnes a.k.a. Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) — as evidenced by the events in episode 2. They were both close to Steve Rogers, and for much of the episode, they see him as an imposter wearing the costume. As much as John tries to show he's willing to get into the thick of it, even saving the two from a sticky situation against a group of Flag-Smashers, there's just something ... off, and it likely all starts from that smug, jerky wink he gave in his opening appearance.

The wink is the kind of touch one would expect to be scripted — a subtle nod that the audience needs to keep their eye on this guy. As it turns out, it was a completely spur-of-the-moment decision from Russell to throw it in.

Wyatt Russell improvised the wink during Captain America's entrance

Winking may be seen as flirtatious to some, but in the wrong context, it comes across as cocky and weird. If there's one thing Steve Rogers never was, it's cocky, so with a single gesture, John Walker immediately differentiates himself from the Cap we all know and love. While it may not have been in the script, it was just too good to leave on the cutting room floor. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland spoke with Empire about the big moment and how Russell's added bit played perfectly: "You don't really get to know him, right? You see his back and you see the shield. It's just the nature of how we did it, and then of course, there's the television of it. It's all about, who is this? What is this? And then — boom — you know, that wink." 

Skogland went on to explain, "That was completely a moment that Wyatt brought to the party, and that was fantastic. All the actors brought lots of moments like that to the story, because once they once they got inside their character, they were able to play. Out of that comes brilliance." Just the name "John Walker" is enough to rouse suspicions in anyone familiar with the comics, seeing as he normally holds the mantle of the villainous U.S. Agent. With this in mind, it's almost as if the wink signifies, "Hey, remember who I am."

The show could obviously take liberties with the source material, but it's hard not to make theories based off of it. Wyatt Russell knows what happens to his character, while we're still in the dark, but perhaps a few weeks from now the moment will take on greater significance once we see how all of this plays out.