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Falcon and Winter Soldier theories: 6 Marvel villains who could be The Power Broker

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ biggest problem might be a very familiar one.

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Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is bringing another new villain to the MCU with the introduction of The Power Broker.

The mysterious new character is verbally referenced in the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and it’s suggested that he’s the one responsible for the creation of the super-soldier serums that the Flag-Smashers have taken into their possession. Given the character’s history in the Marvel comics, fans have already begun to speculate about the character’s real identity.

The Power Broker has yet to physically appear in the Disney+ series, but it’s likely that the character’s official screen debut isn’t far away either, and there are a number of different Marvel characters who could fill the role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Here are just a few of the most exciting options.

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Thunderbolt Ross

William Hurt as Thunderbolt Ross in Captain America: Civil War.

Marvel Studios

One of the most popular Marvel fan theories circulating online right now is that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Power Broker will turn out to be none other than William Hurt’s Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. It’s not a bad idea either.

For starters, Ross has the kind of militaristic power and influence to make him the kind of person even the Flag-Smashers would be afraid of crossing paths with. The character also has an established history of trying to recreate the super-soldier serum, thanks to his involvement in the program that resulted in Bruce Banner becoming The Incredible Hulk. Combined, those two facts make Ross a very viable choice to be The Power Broker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Justin Hammer

Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2.

Marvel Studios

Marvel fans have been speculating for some time now that Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer could have another MCU appearance in his future. There was speculation that he could be a mysterious character in WandaVision, but it’d make a lot of sense if he was The Power Broker. As a military contractor, it’s well within his wheelhouse to traffic in the creation and sale of a new super-soldier serum, and it’d be in keeping with his power-hungry, opportunistic personality to run into conflict with a group like the Flag-Smashers.

Plus, it’s about time that Marvel started taking more advantage of having an actor as talented as Sam Rockwell in their roster.

Norman Osborn

Marvel Comics

Who better to fill the role of a powerful and vengeful military scientist than Norman Osborn? As both the head of Oscorp and a maniacal supervillain in his own right, it’d make sense for Osborn to be in control of a super-soldier serum and he’d be an obvious target for an anti-establishment group like the Flag-Smashers.

Given all the growing rumors that Marvel Studios could be building towards the introduction of the Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, or H.A.M.M.E.R. — all entities that Osborn is connected to — it certainly seems like Osborn’s MCU debut may not just be a faraway dream anymore either.

On the surface, it seems unlikely that Marvel would want to introduce a character as powerful as Norman Osborn for the first time in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, rather than in a future Spider-Man or Avengers film. But on closer inspection, remember Spider-Man’s MCU debut was also through a Captain America property. It would be very fitting for Spidey’s number one bad guy to make his MCU arrival in similar fashion.

Red Skull

Ross Marquand as The Red Skull in Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel Studios

Like Ross, the Red Skull is a character in the MCU who has an intimate history with super-soldier serums. We also know, thanks to Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War, that the Red Skull is still alive in the MCU. However, given his overall personality and the nature of his current existence as it was established in the most recent two Avengers films, it seems unlikely that the Red Skull has somehow found his way back to Earth and is running around as The Power Broker.

At least, it’s the kind of twist that would require a big explanation on Marvel’s part, which is another reason why we find it hard to believe it’ll happen in a show as tightly constructed as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Arnim Zola

Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Marvel Studios

While it’s believed that Arnim Zola was finally, completely killed with the destruction of Camp Lehigh in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it wouldn’t be surprising if the HYDRA villain somehow managed to survive. And he’s certainly a plausible candidate for The Power Broker as well, given his history with super-soldier serums, which includes the creation of the variant serum that was used to turn Bucky into the Winter Soldier in the first place.

So it is, at the very least, totally possible that Zola is still around and possibly even working on plans to create more super-soldiers like Bucky. It’d be a logical continuation of the villain’s MCU story and could tie in nicely to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s explorations of Bucky’s past.


Marvel Comics

April Fools! Of course, The Power Broker isn’t Mephisto.

... Or is he?

Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — In the Marvel comics, the Power Broker is Curtiss Jackson, who runs a corporation called Power Broker, Inc. that uses strength augmentation technology to give paying customers superpowers. And it is entirely possible that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will stick to the Marvel comics lore and the Power Broker in the show will end up being Curtiss Jackson. However, it seems more likely as of now, that the character will either be someone who already exists within the MCU or a more notable villain from the comics.

No matter who The Power Broker turns out to be, though, fans should at least expect to see the character cross paths with Wyatt Russell’s John Walker at some point in the near future. As of now, all signs are pointing towards The Power Broker giving Walker superpowers in the series, as he does in the Marvel comics.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming now on Disney+.

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