Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Falcon And The Winter Soldier Will Affect Anthony Mackie's Captain America 4

With the launch of several new Marvel Cinematic Universe shows on Disney+, there's more delightful MCU content than ever. Unlike previous efforts such as Netflix's "Daredevil" or the ABC serial "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," these shows more directly affect the events we will see on the silver screen in future MCU films. While "Loki" arguably had the biggest impact on the MCU as a whole, the more grounded "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" will directly shape the events in "Captain America 4," which isĀ now officially in production.

"The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" saw Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) navigating their traumas and developing as friends in the wake of "the snap," which caused half of all beings to be erased from existence in "Avengers: Infinity War" before being brought back in "Avengers: Endgame." The show interrogated the history of racism in America, as well as the United States' legacy of interventionism and global chauvinism, and brought back fan-favorite characters such as Baron Zemo and the Dora Milaje.

Get your Sokovian dance moves on because here's everything you need to know about what the events of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" might affect "Captain America 4."

John Walker, stripped of his title as Captain America, is a wild card

In the wake of Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) retirement, he gave Sam Wilson his famous vibranium shield. Sam, in turn, gave it to a museum. But when John Walker (Wyatt Russell) was anointed as the new Cap by the United States government, they put the shield in his hands.

In the comics, Walker appears as the character U.S. Agent, a darker foil to Captain America with none of his virtue or restraint. In "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," Walker proved himself to be self-destructive and even murderous, so consumed by the desire to live up to the title of Captain America that he injects himself with Super-Soldier Serum and desecrates the shield by killing a man with it in broad daylight. He is shortly stripped of his title and disciplined by the government.

A man as proud as Walker, of course, wasn't going to take that lying down. Outside the disciplinary hearing, he seethes, and when Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine approaches him with a mysterious offer in the penultimate episode, he takes her up on it. "We aren't going to need a Captain America," de Fontaine tells him. "We're going to need a U.S. Agent." If Walker's trajectory wasn't clear from the start, this sets him up as the perfect antagonist for Mackie's Cap in "Captain America 4." What de Fontaine wants from him is unclear, which leads us to the possibility that ...

Contessa could be Madame Hydra, and she's building a team

It seems every actor in Hollywood is now obligated to make a turn in the MCU, and "Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a welcome addition, able to bring her signature comedic touch to a quirky take on one of Marvel's most mysterious villains, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Marvel Studios reportedly has "big plans" for the character, so who is she and what does she want with John Walker and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh)?

In the comics, Contessa has been used in several storylines, the most recent of which saw her in the role of Madame Hydra. (We saw a variation of Madame Hydra briefly in Season 4 of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") Now that Hydra is supposedly toppled in the MCU, she could be acting as a rogue agent for herself or any number of shady figures.

The most common theory being bandied about is that Contessa is assembling a team of villains known as the Thunderbolts. She makes another appearance in "Black Widow," where she recruits Yelena to her cause and tells her to go find Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). "Black Widow" was actually supposed to be her first appearance, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that film was pushed back.

If she is indeed assembling a team of supervillains, we would do well to heed her cryptic words to Walker. "Things are about to get weird."

The resettlement crisis caused by the snap is ongoing

Speaking of things being weird, it sure would be crazy to disappear from existence, only to reappear and find someone living in what used to be your home. According to what we know of the snap's aftereffects, that's exactly what happened to millions of people, and there is now a major refugee crisis unfolding on Earth. Things have become so bad for so many in the wake of Thanos' snap that the Flag Smashers, a group of freedom fighters (or terrorists, depending on who you ask), developed and became the primary antagonists of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." Led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and pumped up on Super Serum sold to them by the Power Broker, they waged a brutal campaign against the Global Repatriation Council (GRC), a multinational governing body established to relocate victims of the Snap and led by a board of dusty diplomats who hold little regard for the human lives with which they have been entrusted.

Karli is killed by John Walker in the final episode of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," but her movement may outlive her. Further, while the GRC does ultimately make a more humanitarian decision after some fancy speechifying by Sam Wilson as the new Cap, it is clear they don't have the strongest grasp on how to solve problems for half of humanity being displaced. This could become a major international issue for Sam's Captain America in the upcoming "Captain America 4."

The Power Broker is on the loose, and possibly some mutants, too

"The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" finally introduces the anarchic island nation of Madripoor, most famous for its appearances in various "X-Men" properties. It is, at one point, the base of operations for Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants, envisioned as a safe harbor for mutants everywhere before it is razed by sentinels. Its mere existence in the Disney+ show fueled the hype around the reported upcoming introduction of mutants into the MCU, but even more relevant to "Captain America 4" is its erstwhile leader, the Power Broker.

In the final moments of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," the shadowy, ruthless Power Broker is revealed to be none other than Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), the former S.H.I.E.LD. agent and niece of Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers' love interest who once got her own MCU miniseries. After aiding and abetting Cap in "Captain America: Civil War," Sharon is wanted by the United States and hides out in Madripoor, where she apparently uses her cunning to rise to the top of the food chain. It is Sharon who sold Super-Soldier Serum to the Flag Smashers and initiated the string of events that led to so much bloodshed.

The end of the Disney+ show finds her back on U.S. soil, her charges dropped. She's even been reinstated to her old division at S.H.I.E.L.D. But as she strides out the doors of the United States, she makes a cryptic phone call. "Super Soldiers might be off the menu," she says, "but we're about to have full access to prototype secrets, government weapons, you name it."

Sounds like the Power Broker is about to broker some serious power. With all that access, who knows what kind of havoc Sharon might create?

Bucky is trying to be a good person, but will he succeed?

Bucky Barnes, the former Winter Soldier, starts off "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" in therapy. He is trying to make up for his decades of misdeeds while brainwashed by Hydra by killing the people responsible for controlling him. But after a season spent with the eminently goodhearted and wise Sam Wilson, Bucky comes to the conclusion that, instead of hurting the people who hurt him, he should focus on healing the people he's hurt on their behalf. "Do the work," Sam tells him, and so that's exactly what Bucky does.

We last see Bucky in a heartbreaking scene with the father of a man he murdered as the Winter Soldier. He's been socializing with him all season, unable to bring himself to confess to the true nature of the son's disappearance. But although it takes every ounce of his newfound emotional maturity, Bucky does just that.

This turn to the light sets Bucky's character up perfectly to resume his role as Captain America's sidekick in "Captain America 4." It may not be alongside his childhood friend from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers, but no Cap worth his salt would be complete without a helping hand (and arm).