We are officially halfway through The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. And with this milestone, we are talking about the major theories, predictions, hopes, and dreams we have for this season. Three more episodes remain of the series, with Episode 5 reported to be a huge turning point according to writer Malcolm Spellman, there is still a lot of story left on the table. Who survives the series? Who gets powers? Who gets the shield? Who is the Power Broker? And will we see Mephisto?
Avery Kaplan and I discuss predictions for the back half of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Will John Walker take the serum? Could he be redeemed?
Therese Lacson: I feel like it’s a given that Walker will take the serum. (I refuse to call him Cap). But, in the comics he gets a bit of a redemption arc in the end and I don’t know if I see them having the time for that in the next three episodes.
Avery Kaplan: I definitely see Walker taking the serum, or making a Faustian deal with the Power Broker for what he believes to be the equivalent… but I definitely can’t see him making it all the way through the subsequent redemption arc in just three episodes (especially with Ayo entering the chat).
Although I do wonder if, between the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ship of Theseus’d Vision (Paul Bettany), and now U.S. Agent, we might not be seeing the lineup for the West Coast Avengers coming together…
Therese: Oh, true! West Coast Avengers and Young Avengers. But, yeah, I think desperation will lead Walker to take the serum. Perhaps he’ll get locked up after going on a rampage and get rehabilitated during capture? Maybe there’s some growth in store for John Walker.
Will we get a flashback of Isaiah Bradley fighting Bucky back in Korea?
Therese: This is more of a wish on my behalf. When they introduced Isaiah in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode two, I felt like it would be such a good cinematic moment for us to see Isaiah in the suit and shield, punching out Bucky and taking his arm. Maybe we could still see it, maybe in one of Bucky’s nightmares/flashbacks?
Avery: I would love to see this… or alternatively, a spinoff series centered on Bradley’s personal history. While it wouldn’t be possible to directly adapt Truth: Red, White & Black (since the comic is largely set in the European theater of World War II rather than in Goyang during the Korean War), we’ve seen some glimpses of the superpowered history of the MCU over the past eighty years, and I’d very much like to see how Bradley’s secret history might fit in with some of the historical exploits of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Therese: I think his own series would be great, especially as it could be a springboard for Elijah Bradley too. I just think it’s a shame we got so little of Carl Lumbly, even though I think we’ll see him again with Sam. I don’t think he’s in the mood to take on a mentorship with Sam but it could be interesting to see the dynamics with Elijah if he ends up getting powers.
Will Sharon get her pardon?
Therese: I’m not saying I don’t trust Sam, but the Avengers sure did forget about her even though Sharon was the one who did the work in getting Cap back his shield. I hope we get this at the end of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but there might also be something afoot with her in Madripoor?
Avery: I’m pretty suspicious of Carter’s last lines in episode three… I don’t think she’s been entirely forthcoming with Wilson and Barnes, and I wonder whether she might be harboring a grudge and/or a supervillainous plan. And honestly… she is totally justified in that! Between Wilson’s money troubles and Carter’s legal issues, it’s starting to seem like fighting the good fight is just not that great a deal, at least speaking on a personal level…
Therese: She made her stance pretty clear when she was talking with the guys at her apartment, the hero thing is bullshit to her. But, she’s been a spy before, so perhaps there’s multiple layers to this? Alternatively, she could have ties directly to the Power Broker. If she’s been in Madripoor all this time and the Power Broker is judge, jury, and executioner, perhaps she’s already in deep with him?
Avery: Ohh this has the ring of truth!
Therese: Or she could be the Power Broker?!
Will we see more Dora Milaje? Maybe Danai Gurira?
Therese: We’re both super excited to see Ayo (Florence Kasumba), but I’m wondering if we get Okoye in this too? We already got someone big like Don Cheadle. it doesn’t feel like getting Danai would be outside the realm of possibility.
Avery: I would love to see Okoye. One thing that I hope will come into play later in the season is the composition of the shield — it was constructed by Howard Stark using vibranium, material which was presumably stolen from Wakanda (the information in the opening scenes of Black Panther reveals that all vibranium on Earth comes from the meteorite that landed in Wakanda… at least other than Wanda’s Hex vibranium, anyway).
I think the thematic potential intrinsic to the fact that the symbol that is synonymous with Captain America is constructed of raw materials which were stolen from Africa is immense, and bringing the Dora Milaje into play gives them a chance to explore that idea in the next three episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Therese: Yes! I totally forgot about this! I do think that Howard might have gotten vibranium on his own. Given the fact that it’s a meteorite, it’s feasible that shards might have broken off while it was coming into the atmosphere and Howard never knew there was a large cache in Wakanda (or knew, and knew better than to try and steal it from them).
Then again, Howard is a Stark and I wouldn’t put it past him to smuggle some out. It would make thematic sense for it to be stolen vibranium. Or perhaps, they give Sam a new shield made of some suped-up vibranium. We know the Wakandans have developed super-advanced technology using vibranium. Maybe they’ll give Sam a special edition one?
Avery: That would be fantastic!
Will we see Torres getting powers at some point?
Therese: If Sam gets the title of Cap by the end of this, does Torres inherit the wings? Does he get a new Redwing? Again, given the runtime, I feel like we’ll only get hints at this but what do you think?
Avery: Look, I understand why Redwing 1.0 – 2.0 was adapted into a drone from a vampire-bird when he made the leap from the panel to the screen: at that point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s narrative, the more grounded technical version made more sense. But we’ve now reached a point where we have aliens, androids, and wizards appearing in the MCU on a regular basis… I think it’s time to introduce the vampire-bird, and give Torres his powers the same way he did in Sam Wilson: Captain America — via a vampiric avian blood transfusion. Let’s get weird, Marvel Studios!
Therese: Let’s not restrict ourselves to The Big Three, Marvel! I’m down for a crazy vampire-bird combination. Some kind of wild telepathic connection. We can hope, and we can dream!
Will Zemo kill Karli? Or is she sticking around for the long term?
Therese: I feel like all the Flag-Smashers are going to get shot with Zemo around. On one hand, I think Erin Kellyman has a lot of potential and, as the only female Super-Soldier, it would be kind of awful to see her die at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. She also has Young Avengers potential if we rehabilitate her a bit! On the other hand, Zemo is shooting people left and right. I don’t know if I trust him with Karli.
Avery: Here’s my theory for Karli: she’s going to join forces with Torres. In the comics, he gets his powers after he’s abducted while leaving supplies for people crossing the border between Mexico and the United States… in other words, like the Flag-Smashers, Torres has an origin in the comics that puts him in opposition to the idea of national borders. I could see this common ground being exploited, especially considering that Karli’s motives (if not her execution) are fairly sympathetic.
Therese: I really am enjoying a lot of the new side characters we’re getting with this show. I think a Torres and Karli team-up would be great. They already got a nice little first meeting in the Flag-Smashers beating up Torres while he was trying to do the undercover thing. I think by the end of the series we either have Karli dead (unlikely, but possible), taking on a fully villainous role (if Zemo starts killing more of her friends), or redeeming her and leaving her open for potential team-ups in the future. I hope for the third option, but anything is possible. I think we’re in for some tragedy.
Is Zemo going to shoot Bucky?
Therese: Again, with the Zemo factor out there, and the fact that Bucky has wronged a lot of people so far in the season (not telling Sam about Isaiah, not telling the Wakandans about Zemo) maybe he’s got a punishment coming to him? I think Stan is down for another handful of movies, so he won’t die, but there’ve got to be some repercussions when it comes to Bucky, right?
Avery: Zemo is counting the minutes until he gets to shoot Bucky (and definitely Karli as well… probably Sharon and Sam for good measure). Between Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) and Zemo, the Disney+ shows are really delivering on the comedic potential of some of the Marvel villains, and it’s never been so fun to be bad.
Therese: Give us the Zemo vs Agatha dance-off! Zemo doing the white dad shuffle, Agatha jazzercizing.
Avery: We’re so close to a Marvel Musical (in addition to Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, of course).
Who gets the shield in the end? Walker, Sam, Bucky, or is it broken?
Therese: I think it seems like it’ll be Sam, but I’m just going to say it, I think it’ll be broken and we’ll get a new shield. Maybe one crafted by the Wakandans? I feel like the current shield has too much baggage.
Avery: Well, I’m just now remembering that this isn’t even the MCU’s prime shield anymore after the events of Endgame, is it? I guess if it breaks again they can get another one from an even more different timeline… Although I will say that one of my favorite Captain America incarnations is Dani Cage, daughter of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, who becomes Captain America in 20XX — and although dialogue reveals that the shield broke in her hands, her catchphrase declares in no uncertain terms that she is the shield… Very cool symbology.
But as far as the remaining three episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, if the shield isn’t going back to Wakanda with the Dora Milaje, then I don’t want to see it in anyone’s hands but Wilson’s.
Therese: I kind of already talked about this above, but I want a new shield for Sam. This current one is from some kind of ambiguous timeline. I’m sure Cap probably did good things with the shield in his alternate timeline, but this whole season has been about him trying to balance the expectations of taking on the mantle vs the reality of the climate of America. Yes, that shield means a lot to a lot of people, but for Sam, it seems more like a burden?
I want him to take on the mantle, but I think he needs to make it his own. His version of Cap is not Steve’s and that’s important. Again, I want the Wakandans to craft him a totally new shield. Given that Wakanda has been this symbol of Black excellence and power without the trauma of colonialism, it could be a powerful symbol.
Avery: I really love this idea! And considering what we have seen of the advancements in Wakandan vibranium engineering, it would be interesting to see how they could improve on Howard’s design.
Did we miss something big? Do you have theories of your own? Sound off in the comments or on Twitter with @ComicsBeat!