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Characters In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier With More Meaning Than You Realize

In the blink of an eye, six glorious episodes of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" are now behind us, during which we saw the adventures of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes just a few months after the events of "Avengers: Endgame." The series followed the massive success that was "WandaVision" and even beat out its predecessor in terms of viewership, with "FaWS" pulling in more viewers in its premiere episode according to Deadline, while also becoming Disney+'s most-watched premiere ever on the platform.

We were introduced to a handful of new characters in the series, many with a rich history in the Marvel comics. We were also reintroduced to some familiar MCU faces, heroes and villains alike. Since it's nearly impossible for MCU properties to give their viewers the entire backstory on the characters used in each project, the weight these individuals actually carry in the comics can be easily overlooked

Many of the new characters in "FaWS" have extensive backgrounds in the comics that weren't touched on in the series, but a deep dive into their history could explain what we might see from here moving forward. Learning the backstory to these characters is also valuable, as it helps viewers understand the characters better, especially since the writers of MCU properties do heavy research to make the on-screen versions as authentic as possible. Let's take a look into some of the "FaWS" characters we've come to know over the season, and why they mean more than you might think.

Karli Morgenthau

We first met Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) in Episode 1 ("New World Order") as a masked Flag-Smasher with what appeared to be superhuman skills. She proved to be a super soldier in Episode 2 ("The Star-Spangled Man") and we found out she was the leader of the Flag-Smashers, a group trying to get the world back to the way it was before the blip. When it comes to Karli in the comics, well, there's no such person — at least not directly.

Karli was based on a comic book character with almost an identical name — Karl Morgenthau — aka Flag-Smasher. Karl's first appearance in the comics was in "Captain America" #312 and he was a violent opponent of nationalism. Unlike Karli, Karl was not a super soldier, only highly skilled in martial arts, especially karate.

While we could have seen a lot more from Karli, given Karl's history in the comics, she met her end in Episode 6 ("One World, One People") by the hands — or gun — of Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp). Unfortunately for the Flag-Smasher, super-soldiers are not immune to bullets, and Karl's legacy in the MCU is now over.

John Walker

We meet John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in the conclusion of Episode 1 as he's being introduced to the world as the new Captain America. Fans had a hard time accepting the new Cap, especially when he became a murderous lunatic in Episode 4 ("The Whole World is Watching").

We did get a bit of redemption for John, though: he checks himself during Episode 6's big fight scene, where he opts to save the GRC hostages from falling to their deaths rather than beat up on some Flag-Smashers a little more. We see him finally become U.S. Agent at the end of the episode, officially given the title by the charismatic Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

In the comics, John first appears in "Captain America" #323. He is first introduced as Super Patriot, who later becomes Captain America, and is eventually named U.S. Agent — the name he now holds in the MCU. U.S. Agent is more of a morally ambiguous character in the comics, living in shades of gray, sometimes helping our heroes and sometimes fighting against them. He also works directly for the government, but that doesn't appear to be the case for the character in the MCU, since we still don't really know what Valentina's deal is. He did once lead the West Coast Avengers ("West Coast Avengers" Vol 2 #44-45), a possible future role for our MCU character.

Lemar Hoskins

The death of Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett) is definitely one we didn't see coming, and it was just a devastating blow to the viewers as it was to John Walker. Okay, maybe not as devastating, but one of the only people keeping Walker in line was Lemar, who we assumed would have a solid future in the MCU, as he's got a solid comics history to work with.

First appearing in "Captain America" #323, Lemar was a wrestler who, like his friend, was granted superhuman abilities by the mysterious Power Broker. After John is dubbed the new Captain America, Lemar becomes the new Bucky Barnes, a loyal sidekick to the so-called hero. He eventually takes on the moniker Battlestar, a force for good who was a part of several superhero teams including the Underground, the Ducky Dozen, and Silver Sable's Wild Pack.

It looks like Lemar's inclusion in "FaWS" was as the sacrifice that would ultimately push Walker over the edge, and we're now left with the thought of what could have been since he was a solid hero during his stint in the comics. While Battlestar might not have as complicated a history as his friend John in the comics, he could have kept the U.S. Agent in check, and we suspect he'll need to be kept in line again in the future.

Joaquin Torres

Joaquin (Danny Ramirez) has been a ride-or-die ally to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) since Episode 1. We always suspected he was going to have a future in the MCU given his substantial — albeit relatively new — history in the comics, and when Sam left him his old broken down wings, we knew it was just the beginning. We only got a brief glimpse of him in Episode 6 as he listens to Sam's speech to the Senators in the GRC, but it's definitely not the last we'll see of him.

The character was first introduced in "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #1, as a teenager who was kidnapped and experimented on with DNA from Falcon's Redwing — an actual bird in the comics. This turns Joaquin into a falcon-human hybrid, with him eventually taking on the mantle of Falcon after Sam becomes Captain America. It was clear this is where things were going after Sam left his old wings for his new pal behind, and Joaquin's comic past could hint at him joining the MCU's rumored Young Avengers team. Now that Sam is officially Captain America at the end of Episode 6, it's time to name his replacement as Falcon.

Georges Batroc

We first met Georges Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" as an adversary of Captain America on the hostage-occupied SHIELD ship. The two men fought hand-to-hand, Cap tossing his shield to the side, with Batroc coming out on the losing end. He was back in all his villainous glory in Episode 1 and reappeared in Episode 5 to give Karli and the Flag-Smashers some high-tech weapons for their upcoming attack on the GRC. Batroc is only interested in killing Sam Wilson, and gets his chance in Episode 6. He is unsuccessful, and is himself later shot and killed by Sharon.

Known as Batroc the Leaper in the comics, the villain first appeared in "Tales of Suspense" #75. Batroc is a mercenary, and former member of the French Foreign Legion, who excels in savate, a form of French kickboxing that focuses on the feet. Mostly an adversary of Captain America, Batroc has worked for HYDRA and has kidnapped Sharon Carter, and also briefly working for Zemo.

Batroc has some altruistic moments in the comics where he actually works alongside Captain America and Falcon ("Tales of Suspense" #85) but is, for all intents and purposes, mostly is a villain.


Unlike so many other characters we met in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and the Doral Milaje were not new to us. First appearing in "Captain America: Civil War," Ayo was the fierce guardian of T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), now traveling the world to bring Zemo (Daniel Brühl) to justice in "FaWS." While her first appearance in the series is calm, her second is decidedly not: she lays the smackdown on John Walker and Lemar Hoskins with two other Dora Milaje, a group we also first saw in "Black Panther."

In the comics, the Dora Milaje ("Black Panther Vol. 3" #1) are a small group of female warriors who are the personal guardians of the current Black Panther. Ayo, Nakia, and Okoye have all served in the prestigious group, though the latter two are no longer in it in the comics. Ayo is currently a member of the Midnight Angels, a sub-group of the Dora Milaje who first appeared in "Doomwar" #5 in 2010. This group joined Deadpool in combating Victor von Doom, a notable Fantastic Four villain who is rumored to appear in the MCU going forward. This could mean this isn't the last we see of Ayo if the Marvel Studios writers keep with her comic history.

Isaiah Bradley

Isaiah Bradley's (Carl Lumbly) story in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is just as devastating as that of his comics counterpart. Isaiah gives Sam Wilson a crash course on his life as a soldier in the United States Army, where he was experimented on and became a super-soldier himself and actually fought the Winter Soldier in 1951.

First appearing in "Truth: Red, White & Black" #1, Isaiah was one of 300 Black soldiers experimented on in an effort to perfect the super-soldier serum that was a success on Steve Rogers. Only a handful of men survived including Isaiah, and he eventually stole a Captain America uniform and escaped to Europe to fight in the war. He was imprisoned by the U.S. government for his "treasonous" actions and served 17 years in solitary confinement before he was released and pardoned by President Eisenhower.

Isaiah's backstory in the comics is based on the real-life Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a racist and scientifically unethical medical study conducted by the United States government. It saw 600 Black men tricked into thinking they were receiving free health care to treat "bad blood," when in actuality they being observed to see how their syphilis would progress in an attempt to study the disease. Then men who were sick with syphilis — 399 of them, as 201 men were in a control group — were left to suffer without treatment, causing many to go blind, insane, with some even dying as researchers looked on.

Eli Bradley

Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson) made brief appearances in three episodes of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" — when Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes when to meet Isaiah Bradley in Episode 2, and when Sam went back to Baltimore in Episodes 5 and 6. Not much is said about Eli in the series, as he sort of just looms in the background, but Eli's story from the comics is quite an impressive one. There is definitely a chance we see more of Eli moving forward in the MCU, possibly in connection with the rumored Young Avengers.

First appearing in "Young Avengers" #1, Eli is the grandson of Isaiah and Faith Bradley and the son of Sarah Gail. Since Sarah was born before Isaiah received the supersoldier serum, Eli is without superhuman ability, but that doesn't stop him from becoming a hero. Eventually given the name Patriot, Eli founds the Young Avengers, which includes Speed and Wiccan, the children of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) we met in "WandaVision" as Tommy and Billy. The Young Avengers also includes Kate Bishop, who is to be played by Hailee Steinfeld in the upcoming Disney+ "Hawkeye" series.

Just a brief appearance of Eli in "FaWS" could mean big things for the MCU moving forward, stoking the fire of the rumored Young Avengers storyline that could launch in Phase 5.

Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine

In a move virtually no one saw coming, Episode 5 of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" introduced us to Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, aka Val, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. After giving John Walker a brief talking to, Val takes off not to be seen in the series again, but we know it's not the last we'll be seeing of her, especially since she mentions she'll be calling John.

Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine first appears in "Strange Tales" #159 from 1967. Once a former sleeper agent of the Russian Leviathan, Valentina eventually became an agent of SHIELD and the lover of Nick Fury. She also led the Femme Force, a group of elite female agents who were introduced in "Captain America" #144, and were formerly led by Sharon Carter.

Valentina's background is complicated, with her being a triple agent working for the Leviathan, SHIELD, and HYDRA at one point. She has even been dubbed "Madame Hydra" in the comics, but her loyalties were never to the famous organization, and where her true loyalties lie remain foggy. In "FaWS," Valentina is just as mysterious, as she appears to be a villain. In Episode 6, she dubs John Walker the U.S. Agent and leaves just as mysteriously as she arrived.

Sharon Carter - The Power Broker

Sharon Carter's (Emily Van Camp) presence in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" seemed odd and many believed she was the Power Broker from the get-go. It turns out all the theories were true as Sharon was revealed to be the mystery character in Episode 6 — we think. Some are suggesting she isn't, as she never confirms Karli and Batroc's comments, so we'll just have to keep guessing until we see her again.

Nevertheless, the Power Broker is a Marvel comics character with quite the rap sheet. First appearing in "Machine Man" #7, the Power Broker — aka Curtiss Jackson — is the leader of The Corporation and later his own forms his own group: Power Broker, Inc. His business was strictly to profit off making super-soldiers. He is killed by the Punisher, another character who might rejoin the MCU one day.

First appearing in "Tales of Suspense" #75, Sharon Carter has no connection to the Power Broker in the comics. She is a force for good but has once worked for General Thunderbolt Ross ("Captain America" Vol 9 #1), a character many had also suspected to be the Power Broker throughout the season. If these two are working together remains to be seen, but their ties in the comics suggest it's a definite possibility. Ross could very well be on the other end of the phone in Episode 6's end-credits scene.

Baron Helmut Zemo

We have not seen the last of Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), and that's a fact. The last we saw of the dancing menace was in Episode 6's finale when he was catching up on some reading in his Raft cell. He seems happy to hear over his radio that the remaining Flag-Smashers had been murdered, putting an end to all super-soldiers on Earth. Interestingly enough, it was his adorable butler Oeznik (Nicholas Pryor) who planted the bomb inside the armored car that was transporting the remaining villains to the Raft.

Based on what we know of Zemo's backstory from "Captain America: Civil War" and what we saw in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," we can make some educated guesses on where his story might be heading. First appearing in "Captain America" #168, Zemo's got quite the backstory in Marvel Comics. Two of his biggest roles in the comics include his position of leader of the Masters of Evil ("Avengers" #273-274), and founder of the Thunderbolts ("Incredible Hulk" #449). The Masters of Evil were a true terror for both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Zemo's Thunderbolts actually housed former Masters of Evil members. The Thunderbolts are a team of reformed criminals that turned on Zemo and became heroes in "Thunderbolts Annual" from 1997. It's possible that Zemo will create the Thunderbolts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which might lead to his own downfall.