The second episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier was released on Disney+. The series explores Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes‘s lives amidst a whirlwind of political twists and intrigue. For Marvel fans, we have a plate full of references and easter-eggs to the comics and other films in the universe.
Here, you can see some of those connections. Get ready to discover new heroes or re-encounter dangerous villains as we embark on a journey through the easter-eggs and references in Falcon and the Winter Soldier!
At the end of the first episode, we had already been introduced to the newest Captain America, hand-picked by the US government. Now we get to know a little more about the man behind the shield: John Walker, known as the U.S. Agent in the comics. There he emerged as a villain to Captain America and eventually became an anti-hero.
In the series, we see some of his origins as an officer in the US Army. He has a fantastic physique and intense military training, even though he does not possess the super-soldier serum (as far as we know). In the episode, we also meet John’s wife, Olivia, and his best friend, Lemar, who is even the next entry subject.
Lemar Hoskins, the Battlestar
Lemar Hoskins is introduced as John Walker’s best friend and sidekick. In the episode’s intro scene, we see him giving his ally a boost just before a public appearance as Captain America. Later, he appears fighting alongside John, taking on the name Battlestar.
However, in the comics, this character also exists and has a very close relationship with John Walker/U.S. Agent. He was once the leader of an urban guerrilla but has also worked as a mercenary. His fighting style is inspired by Steve Rogers‘ since he has been trained by Taskmaster, a villain who copies his opponents’ moves.
Captain America, a Symbol of Propaganda
In the conversation between John Walker and Lemar Hoskins, we see how John is still not very comfortable in his public appearances. However, Lemar reminds him that this is part of the job. Later, John appears as Captain America at an American soccer game, where he grants an interview.
While walking to the interview site, John takes pictures with the audience, sees the posters with his name on them, and even autographs boxes of action figures. It is a very symbolic scene that shows how Captain America has always been, since his origin, a symbol of advertising and propaganda for the USA.
Tony Stark and Bruce Banner
During the interview, John Walker quotes the names of two crucial members of the Avengers when asked about his fitness: “Look, here’s the thing, uh, I’m not Tony Stark; I’m not Dr. Banner, okay? I don’t have the flashiest gadgets; I don’t have super strength. But what I do have is guts. “
Tony Stark sacrificed himself at Avengers: Endgame‘s climax to defeat Thanos and his armies. As for Bruce Banner, the Hulk, he was responsible for bringing the dead back to life and has not returned since. However, he has already been confirmed in the She-Hulk movie.
Later, we have the first meeting between the Winter Soldier and the Falcon in the series. The two discuss and go on a mission to capture the Stateless Persons. However, before the task, we get some pop culture references when Falcon suggests that the villains could be robots, aliens, or warlocks.
That’s when the Winter Soldier quotes Gandalf. Confused, Falcon questions his ally about how he knows Gandalf, to which Bucky replies, “I read The Hobbit in 1937 when it first came out.” This joke was already revealed in one of the recent trailers, but it’s a great way to explore the Winter Soldier’s age.
In the same scene where Bucky quotes The Hobbit, we get another little mention of another Marvel hero. When the Winter Soldier says no such things as wizards, the Falcon replies by simply saying “Doctor Strange.” Bucky then argues that he is a sorcerer and not a wizard.
Doctor Strange was also last seen in Avengers: Endgame as an essential ally in the fight against Thanos. He will return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where he must team up with the Scarlet Witch to take on powerful enemies.
When they are already in pursuit of the Stateless Persons, the two heroes are in a plane preparing to land in the middle of the fight. Falcon goes first, and then the Winter Soldier follows, jumping out of the aircraft without a parachute’s aid.
It’s a good mood scene focused on Bucky Barnes, who snaps as he falls into several trees. However, the scene mirrors one of the opening sequences of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Steve Rogers jumps out of a plane without a parachute to investigate a looted ship.
The White Wolf
While he keeps exchanging barbs left and right with his partner, Falcon says he has spent too much time in Wakanda and became the “White Panther,” making a joke with the African nation’s regent. However, the Winter Soldier rebuts by saying that, in fact, he is White Wolf.
This name had already appeared previously in a post-credits scene of Black Panther, being Bucky’s name while in Wakanda. In the comics, White Wolf is the title used by T’Challa‘s adopted brother, who becomes a warrior and mercenary in the nation’s service.
“Have you Ever Jumped on a Grenade Before?”
Another simple but very effective connection to the previous Sentinel of Liberty films happens when Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson meet John Walker and Lemar Hoskins. The interaction between the pair is tense because of the Falcon’s resentment toward the new Captain America.
This is when the Winter Soldier questions whether he has ever jumped on a grenade. It’s a subtle but straightforward reference to Captain America: The First Avenger. We see Steve Rogers throwing himself on a grenade to protect his platoon from an explosion during military training. It is one of the scenes that best defines the hero’s personality.
Another character introduced in the episode is Karli Morgenthau, one of the Stateless members, who faces the Winter Soldier and the new Captain America on equal terms. Later on, we find out that she is not a villain and that her motivations are much more complex.
In the comics, there is a male version of the character named Karl Morgenthau. He is the Stateless figure (since in the comics it is not an organized group as in the series) and has similar goals as his television counterpart: to extinguish the world’s territorial limits.
Civil War Memories
After being defeated by the Stateless, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier retreat to return to the United States. Onboard the plane, Bucky Barnes talks about how they should steal the Vibranium shield from John Walker’s hands so that it can return to the hands of its rightful owner – namely, Sam Wilson himself.
However, Sam recalls when they tried to steal the shield before. At this moment, we get a brief recap of Captain America: Civil War’s events, when Sharon Carter became an international fugitive, and the rest of the heroes who opposed the Sokovia Accords were classified as stowaways and outlaws.
This is one of the most powerful moments in the series. In their civilian identities, Falcon and the Winter Soldier go after Isaiah Bradley, an American hero who received the super-soldier serum back in the 1950s. He meets Bucky Barnes because of a confrontation the two had together when Bucky was still under the influence of Hydra.
In the comics, Isaiah’s story is not much different. After the “death” of the original Captain America, the US government conducted experiments on several black men to recreate the super-soldier serum. Isaiah was one of the only successful guinea pigs, becoming the first black Captain America. However, he was forgotten by time and history.
Eli Bradley, the Patriot
Still, in Isaiah’s scene, we have a more than special appearance that may significantly affect the future. Isaiah lives with his grandson, Elijah “Eli” Bradley, a grumpy kid who, despite his few words, is always willing to defend his grandfather.
In the comics, Eli is the Patriot, one of the founding members of the Young Avengers. He is inspired by his grandfather and initially uses special hormones to achieve endurance and super-strength. Still, after an accident, he ends up receiving part of the super-soldier serum due to a blood transfusion from Isaiah.
During the episode, we see that someone or some organization is pursuing the Stateless Ones. This is only revealed at the end when several black cars show up to ambush them before they leave on a plane. At this point, one of the characters mentions the name Power Broker.
In the comics, the Power Broker is Curtiss Jackson‘s identity, a significant criminal in John Walker and Lemar Hoskins‘s story. Basically, he was responsible for giving both of them powers through experiments with volatile serums. We don’t know yet if something similar will happen in the series.
Right at the end of the episode, Bucky Barnes talks about how he needs to go after one of his most important “acquaintances,” one of the only people who knows much about his past as a HYDRA pawn. He is talking about Helmut Zemo, the villain who has been incarcerated since Captain America: Civil War.
That’s where we get a brief glimpse of Daniel Brühl back in the role of the character. We know that he will be an essential figure in the plot and that at some point in the series, he should get a look very close to his classic costume in the comics, with a purple mask.