‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Who Is the New Villain, U.S. Agent?

Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finally has a release date — March 19, 2021 — on Disney+ after a long delay. Originally slated for August 2020, the series was forced to stop shooting due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It now takes its place on a sizable slate of Marvel originals coming to the service this year.

The series will pick up after Avengers: Endgame and follow the titular heroes played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan as they grapple with the legacy of Captain America. Appropriately for that sort of story, the series will also feature a villain from one of the stranger chapters of the good Captain’s history.

[Spolier alert: Potential spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ahead.]

The cast of Marvel's 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.'
The cast of Marvel’s ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’ | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Wyatt Russell will play a Marvel villain with a twisty path

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Wyatt Russell confirmed back in 2019 that he would be playing John Walker, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Set photos have since emerged with Russell sporting a costume very similar to his comics counterpart, per the DisInsider.

Walker first appeared as the militaristic and anti-immigrant villain, Super Patriot. The character later reappeared as U.S. Agent, a government-sanctioned replacement for Captain America. This story began during a period where Steve Rogers, disillusioned with the U.S. government, gave up his traditional alter ego and became Nomad.

Based on prerelease materials, it appears that Walker will be a version of his U.S. Agent persona in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Aside from the costume, trailers have also shown him appearing at a bombastic halftime show-esque event, hinting at his role as a PR prop.

The story of the Marvel series also lends itself well to the introduction of Walker. While Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) chose Sam Wilson/Falcon (Mackie) as his successor, it stands to reason that the American government would have its own designs on the superhero identity it helped create.

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ boasts many returning stars

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In addition to Mackie and Stan, as well as newcomers like Russell, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also features a strong cast of returning Marvel Cinematic Universe favorites.

Daniel Brühl is set to reprise his role as Helmut Zemo, the surprisingly impactful main villain from 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. While Walker is likely to physically butt heads with the heroes more often, Zemo once again appears to be the story’s primary puppetmaster. The character is also set to don his trademark purple mask from the comics.

Emily VanCamp is also set to return as Sharon Carter, niece of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter and sometimes love interest for Steve Rogers. The MCU has so far struggled to find a solid role for Sharon Carter, so it will be interesting to see what the series has in store for her.