Sam Wilson is Captain America. The longtime Marvel character (played by Anthony Mackie) finally assumed the iconic superhero mantle in the finale episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and quickly established himself as the right man to take over for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
That’s not to say that Sam is following completely in Steve’s footsteps though, as one subtle Easter egg in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale deftly proves.
A Familiar Set-Up — TikTok user @joeburnettttt recently spotlighted a moment in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s final episode that acts as an interesting callback to a famous Steve Rogers moment in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.
The moment in question comes during Sam’s climactic fight with Flag-Smasher leader Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), when Karli knocks Sam onto the ground and orders him to stay down. The moment is structured in a very similar way as the iconic moment in Civil War when Steve stands back up during his fight with Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and says, “I could do this all day.”
But Sam doesn’t say “I could do this all day.” He just stands back up and says, “No.” It’s a scene that — as @joeburnettttt points out — not only acts as a way for Sam to show his strength and resilience but also as a way for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier writers to subtly communicate to the viewers that Sam won’t be exactly like Steve. He’s his own man, with his own way of doing things.
A Different Kind of Captain America — Steve Rogers never actually showed up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but his presence was nonetheless felt through the entirety of the series. Through characters like Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), and John Walker (Wyatt Russell), the Disney+ series thoroughly investigated how it felt for the remaining heroes of the MCU to live in Steve’s shadow.
However, part of the charm of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the way that it committed to exploring the Captain America legacy from multiple sides all while also showing why Sam is the right character to take on the mantle moving forward. The series showcased Sam’s heroism and humanity and firmly established the key similarities and differences between him and Steve, which ultimately defined his take on Captain America as seen in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale.
What’s even more impressive, is that the series managed to do all of that without also coming up with a convoluted way to give Sam superpowers. He’s still the same guy he’s always been, just with a new title and suit.
The Inverse Analysis — This Falcon and the Winter Soldier Easter egg is just further proof of how well-built the MCU is. Marvel continues to find moving and subtle ways to link its characters and titles together, and that was especially true in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The series took the time to show Sam Wilson’s journey towards becoming Captain America, and the MCU is all the better for it.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming now on Disney+.