'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier': Why John Walker May Not Be the Real next Captain America

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 1 ends with an epic cliffhanger, with John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell) unveiled as the new Captain America. As Marvel comic book fans and anyone who has paid attention to interviews with the cast and crew of the Disney+ show know, however, things might not be as they first appear.

A little history on the character: In the comic, the character began life as Super-Patriot, a super who tries to out-America Captain America after Steve Rogers becomes disillusioned with his role.

The character then becomes Captain America after Steve abandons the post and simply becomes Captain. After a series of violent retaliations against his enemies, the new Captain America is confronted by Steve, leading to Walker being disgraced.

Though The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has abandoned most of this storyline, the sense that Walker may not be up to the job seems to be an integral part of the Disney+ show.

new captain america falcon winter soldier
John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as the new Captain America in 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.' Disney+

This was teased by Wyatt Russell (the son of Marvel alum Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) himself in a USA Today interview, where he said, "John Walker wouldn't be in this series if he was causing everything to go well. There's a dynamic he adds that somewhat complicates the relationship of everybody involved."

In the series, Walker is a marine who the U.S. Government chooses as the next Captain America. Per the show's creator, Marc Spellman, he is there to represent the potentially uncomfortable side of a superhero who is meant to represent the U.S.A. in 2021.

He told USA Today, "Walker speaks to this idea of American exceptionalism and the necessity we have in questioning it."

This was also the role he takes in the Marvel comics. As Super-Patriot, he was a kind of dark mirror image of Cap whose actions were often as a result of his extreme patriotism, which tipped into nationalism.

After stepping down as Captain America, he became U.S. Agent, a government operative. Crucially, in the Captain America: Sam Wilson series, he became the antagonist of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier co-lead Sam Wilson, aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie). In this series, he was tasked with retrieving Captain America's shield from Wilson, leading to the pair fighting.

Though The Falcon and The Winter Solider is clearly taking some inspiration from this series, Captain America: Sam Wilson does also include Steve Rogers as a Hydra agent, so clearly the Disney+ has made some changes.

The comic books, however, do suggest that we could be heading for a WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier crossover: one of U.S. Agent's many missions saw him taking on the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) after she turns evil.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier airs Fridays on Disney+.