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Biggest Unanswered Questions In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

The finale of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is here, and it doesn't disappoint. Almost all of the series' heroes and villains show up in New York City to either disrupt the Global Repatriation Council's (GRC) resettlement vote, save the endangered GRC representatives, or to serve their own power-hungry agendas from the shadows. We learn the ultimate fate of Karli Morgenthau and her enhanced Flag-Smashers, the identity of the Power Broker is revealed, and Sam Wilson triumphantly takes on the role of Captain America. 

But if you're looking for a finale that doesn't leave any loose threads, look elsewhere. Episode 6 of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" leaves a lot on the table. The penultimate episode introduced a character whose agenda and identity are still mysteries, and earlier in the series, we met a couple of characters who — judging by the source material — have the potential to become Marvel superheroes. There's a super soldier who may or may not still be in hiding, another who's about as stable as a pile of dynamite left next to a bonfire, and still another who could be dead or on the moon as far as we know. For more specifics, keep reading to learn the biggest unanswered questions we still have after the finale of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier". 

(Be warned — there are spoilers below.)

What turned Sharon Carter into the Power Broker?

Sharon Carter's transformation from an idealist willing to break the law in order to do what's right to an international crime lord is the biggest reveal in the finale, though it isn't particularly unexpected. Fan speculation made her the top pick for the Power Broker, her brief appearance in Episode 5 practically confirmed it, and the finale makes it official. Not only do we learn who she is, but we witness her murder one of the enhanced Flag-Smashers, Karli Morgenthau, as well as Batroc.

So what exactly inspired Carter's transformation to the Power Broker? We get implications that a lot of it has to do with the aftermath of 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." Specifically, we learn Sharon is still considered a traitor while people like Sam and Bucky Barnes are free to go where they will. Along with expressing a new negative outlook toward superheroes in Episode 3, when Sam comments on her wealth, she says, "At some point, I thought if I had to hustle, I might as well enjoy the life of a real hustler." And in the finale, when Sharon confronts Karli, the Flag-Smasher says, "You wanted to control the world that hurt you."

But those are the broad strokes. What really happened to Sharon in Madripoor? Going from being disillusioned to becoming an international crime lord is a big leap. We're betting a lot more happened to Sharon than we know, and that's a story worth hearing.

Did Sharon have a neighbor in Madripoor who was also a grumpy Canadian with an eyepatch?

It's pretty much a guarantee that a lot of Marvel Comics readers watching Episode 3 of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" were thinking about two names — Wolverine and Patch. That's because while the fictional island of Madripoor first appeared in 1985's "New Mutants" #32, it's best known as the initial home of Wolverine when his first ongoing solo title launched in 1988. Meaning to operate incognito, Wolverine wears an eyepatch in Madripoor, where the inhabitants know him as "Patch." It would be revealed years later, however, that his secret identity was never quite as secret as he assumed.

Fans were no doubt looking for a grumpy guy with an eyepatch as Sam, Bucky, and Zemo made their own attempt to fool the crooks of Lowtown into believing they were other than what they appeared. Of course, Wolverine isn't revealed in Episode 3, but that doesn't mean he isn't there. While theories about how mutants will be introduced to the MCU will likely continue to multiply on a daily basis, we still don't know how and when that will happen. It could very well be Logan was in a Lowtown bar while Zemo made his famous dance moves in Hightown. We'll just have to wait and see.

What will become of the Flag-Smasher movement?

As far as Karli Morgenthau and her enhanced soldiers go, the Flag-Smashers are just about dead. Of those who survive to see the finale, Sharon murders two of them — including Karli — and Zemo's loyal butler, Oeznik, kills four more with a car bomb. Unless there's one running around we don't know about, all of the Flag-Smashers' enhanced soldiers are dead.

However, whether you want to call them terrorists or activists, there are plenty of grass roots organizations in both the real world and the MCU who operate without a squad of superpowered soldiers at the helm. From the very first episode, we see the Flag-Smashers have plenty of recruits who don't have anything to do with the super soldier serum, but they're just as dedicated to the organization's cause. Not to mention that "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" has made it clear the infamous Blip created some complex problems. Granted, by the end of the finale, the GRC steps back from its resettlement plans. But there's plenty of reason to think that the kind of people recruited to the Flag-Smashers still have some valid complaints.

Perhaps the Flag-Smashers will develop less extremist tactics, or perhaps — without anyone with super powers to help them — they'll become more violent. Maybe they'll morph into a completely different organization. There are plenty of possibilities, but there's no reason to think they'll just vanish.

What is going on with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine?

One of the most intriguing new characters "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" introduces is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She's funny, she knows way more than she should, and she's so mysterious that she makes Nick Fury look like a used car salesman. Unlike the senator who browbeats John Walker in Episode 5, she knows Walker no longer has the Captain America shield. She validates Walker's homicidal actions, and in the finale, she hints that she has something to do with the murders of the final four Flag-Smasher super soldiers.

In the comics, Val is a high-ranking member of SHIELD, but that organization's status is still a little ambiguous in the MCU. Regardless, she clearly has something to do with either a government organization or a private one with its teeth deep in Washington D.C., since she not only has access to an intelligence apparatus but the power to put John Walker back in a costume as U.S.Agent. 

One tantalizing possibility is that this has something to do with the Thunderbolts. Back in January 2020, rumors circulated that "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" would introduce the team to the MCU, but perhaps rather than introducing the team, the series has just planted the seeds. After all, while he may not technically be seen as a supervillain, John Walker would certainly fit in a group of criminals possibly seeking redemption.

What is the importance of Zemo's mask?

When he meets with Sam and Bucky after breaking out of prison in Episode 3, Zemo finds a mask on the dashboard of one of his many expensive cars, and he treats it with care and discretion. While it featured heavily in the series' promotion, we only see him wear it once in the actual story — when he causes an explosion to save Sam, Bucky, and Sharon from the Madripoor bounty hunters. He's removed it by the time he picks up the others in a stolen car, and we never learn exactly why it was so important to him, why he seems to want to keep it secret from Sam and Bucky, or why he bothers to wear it at all.

Zemo is better known as Baron Zemo in the comics, where he wears a similar mask. But Zemo's MCU origins and motivations stray significantly from the source material, so that doesn't answer anything. One likely possibility is that it has something to do with his past as a colonel in Sokovian intelligence. Perhaps in the right circles, Zemo's mask is as recognizable as the Winter Soldier's metal arm. That would explain his hesitation to show it to Sam and Bucky or to wear it in front of them.

What's going on with John Walker?

In one sense, this question has been answered — John Walker has gone from being a disgraced Captain America to U.S.Agent, the same alias he uses in the comics. He's working for Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, though it isn't clear exactly what he'll be doing or even who Fontaine really is. Apparently, the government is okay with this, as no one arrests him for showing up to fight the Flag-Smashers in New York City.

Still, it's clear not all is well with John Walker. While he's thrilled to get a second chance, he still hasn't taken any kind of responsibility for his actions. To Sam and Bucky, and later to Congress, Walker justifies murdering the surrendered Flag-Smasher and never backs down from his position. He even lies to Lemar Hoskins' family, telling them the man he murdered is the one who killed Lemar. Not to mention that as far as we can tell, he still hasn't told anyone about using the super soldier serum.

Emotionally speaking, Walker is a time bomb. Between his actions, his lies, and the impact of the super soldier serum, U.S.Agent probably has another major meltdown on the way, and it's going to be ugly when it hits. 

What's Isaiah Bradley's legal status?

Toward the end of the finale, Sam gives Isaiah Bradley and his grandson, Eli, a wonderful surprise. He brings them to the Smithsonian, where he reveals a new addition to the Captain America exhibit — one honoring Bradley and the other Black men who were experimented upon in the hopes of creating more super soldiers. The exhibit includes a statue of Isaiah and an accompanying description that reads, "Isaiah Bradley is an American hero whose name went unknown for too long." The moment is overwhelming for Isaiah, who embraces the same man he angrily kicked out of his house a few episodes earlier.

Does this mean Isaiah Bradley no longer has to live as a man presumed dead? In the penultimate episode, he tells Sam he'd be killed if he ever went public with his story, and yet that story is now public knowledge. Presumably, Sam did something as the new Captain America to make sure Isaiah would be safe, otherwise Isaiah would probably have a much different reaction to seeing his life story literally on display. But whatever Sam does, we never hear about it. Perhaps Sam figures that once the story is public, that alone will safeguard Isaiah since it might be considered pointless to assassinate him when the proverbial cat is already out of the bag. However, that would seem a pretty big risk to take with someone else's life.   

With Eli Bradley, have we met a future Young Avenger?

Marvel has yet to officially announce any kind of film or TV project revolving around the Young Avengers, but they've been planting the seeds for years, including in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." In Episode 2, we meet Isaiah Bradley's protective grandson, Eli, played by Elijah Richardson. In the comics, the young Bradley becomes the superhero Patriot, one of the founding members of the Young Avengers. 

Initially, Eli lies to his teammates, telling them that his grandfather's abilities passed on down the family line. In 2005's "Young Avengers" #8, however, it's revealed Patriot never had any powers, and instead, he's been using a drug called MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone) to temporarily give himself enhanced abilities. After this is discovered, he quits the team in disgrace but soon rejoins. Not long after, his early lie becomes the truth, due to both his heroism and his grandfather's love. In 2006's "Young Avengers" #11, Patriot takes a shot from a Kree soldier meant for Steve Rogers. In the following issue, his grandfather agrees to donate his blood for a transfusion, and Eli develops super soldier abilities shortly afterward. 

We have no idea if Elijah Richardson was cast with a future "Young Avengers" project in mind, but with more and more of the team popping in the MCU, it certainly seems likely.

Why does the show still refer to Bucky as 'Winter Soldier?'

Just before the final credits, the title card displays something a little different from what we're used to. It reads "Captain America and the Winter Soldier," honoring that Sam has taken on the role of Cap. But we have to wonder why it doesn't instead read "Captain America and Bucky." Or, if "Bucky" doesn't have a superhero ring to it, they could've used the name given to him in Wakanda — "Captain America and the White Wolf". 

While "Winter Soldier" may sound cooler than "Bucky," it's not a name Bucky or anyone in his circle uses except when discussing the brainwashed Hydra puppet of Bucky's past. Whenever Bucky says that name, it's with guilt and shame, like in Episode 5 when he tells Sam his continuing nightmares are a sign that "a part of the Winter Soldier" is still in him. 

By the end of the finale, Bucky has finally given his heartbreaking confession to Yori, and judging by the book he leaves his therapist, that was only one of many similar conversations he had off-camera. But it may be that his unchanged name in the title is a sign that he still has some work to do before the Winter Soldier is truly dead.

What happened to Steve Rogers?

At the end of 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" Steve Rogers is clearly not the young man he once was, but after the events of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," no one can seem to agree on whether or not he's alive. He's referred to as being "gone" multiple times, but no one ever refers to him being dead. The Avengers could've lied about his death to the public to give him a well-earned quiet retirement, he could be in another timeline, he could be on another planet, or he could be on the moon like Joaquin Torres' buddies seem to think. 

All the possibilities on the "Steve is alive" side of things might sound like ridiculous wishful thinking, but plenty of fans are pulling for it. Some of them theorize, for example, that Rogers is hanging out with Nick Fury and the Skrulls from the post-credits scene of 2019's "Spider-Man: Far from Home". 

It's not far-fetched to speculate that, in spite of the unlikelihood of Chris Evans returning to the role of Steve Rogers, Marvel is being intentionally ambiguous just in case. At the end of the day, we are talking about a superhero narrative adapted from comics where anything is possible. Not to mention that Tom Hiddleston's Loki has died not once, not twice, but three times in the movies, and yet his solo miniseries is the next one down the pipe on Disney+. So never say never.  

Will Joaquin become the Falcon?

Joaquin Torres, played by Danny Ramirez, practically screams "cool sidekick," and there's a good reason for that. Torres' comic book counterpart first appears in person in 2015's "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #3. Experimented on by the mad scientist Karl Malus, Torres is a human/bird hybrid who becomes the next Marvel superhero known as the Falcon. 

The makers of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" couldn't have hinted any more loudly that their Torres will likewise take up the mantle that Sam Wilson leaves behind in the finale. In the penultimate episode, Sam tells Torres to keep the wings that John Walker tore up earlier. With a little technical know-how, Torres could be joining Captain America in the sky soon and, assuming he's still partnering with Sam, making Bucky very jealous on the ground. 

While it's only speculation, it seems likely that should Torres become the Falcon, Marvel Studios will skip the human/bird hybrid story. For one, having Torres simply say something like, "You told me to keep the wings," takes less time. For another, the MCU's Karl Malus died in Season 2 of Netflix's "Jessica Jones."  

Will there be a second season?

After watching the finale, it definitely seems like this show will be getting a second season. After all, the new title in the end credits feels like a strong hit that there will be a Season 2, and more than that, "Captain America and the Winter Soldier" feels like a series positively begging for more.

While the Marvel shows on Disney+ were initially announced as miniseries, the concept of this "Captain America and the Winter Soldier" doesn't seem as finite as some of the others. It may seem silly, for example, to expect a Season 2 of "WandaVision" since, you know, how many times is Wanda Maximoff going to unintentionally transform small towns into classic sitcoms? But in contrast, the story of "Captain America and the Winter Soldier" doesn't feel complete. There's so much about characters like John Walker, Sharon Carter, and Baron Zemo yet to be explored. Others like Eli Bradley and Joaquin Torres have the potential to take more central roles and possibly "super" ones. And who among us doesn't want to see more of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Val?

Not to mention, of course, Sam and Bucky have an infectiously fun friendship that we want to see more of, especially outside of a team movie where they'd have to make room for other characters. We could, one day, finally see Sam and Bucky move their seat up for the other, and that should be in their own series.