Who is the villain in Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? The Disney+ series has set up a number of possible antagonists in its first two episodes, with the introductions of the Flag Smashers, Wyatt Russell’s John Walker (also known as U.S. Agent in the comics), Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo, and the mysterious Power Broker.
As of now, it’s looking like the Flag Smashers — a super-powered group of global anarchists — pose the biggest immediate threat for Sam and Bucky, but new comments from one of the show’s cast members suggest that Marvel fans have yet to meet the real villain of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The News — In a recent interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, Falcon and the Winter Soldier actress Indya Bussey, who stars as one of the show’s Flag Smashers, hinted that the super-powered group may not be the villains that fans think they are. Bussey teased that the Flag Smashers are standing for “the people who can’t” and said that the Flag Smashers aren’t heroes or villains, but just some super-powered people standing up for a cause they believe in.
Across its first 2 episodes, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has established the Flag Smashers as a group to be reckoned with, but the show has been less explicit about the group’s standing as a possibly villainous entity.
It’s clear that their methods leave a lot to be desired and their “Thanos was Right” inspired philosophy about The Blip is misguided at best, but are the Flag Smashers themselves villains? That question remains unanswered for the time being, but Bussey’s comments here and the Robin Hood comparison that was made about the group in the show’s second episode seem to indicate that they’re not the villains we initially thought they were.
The Real Villain — Of course, if the Flag Smashers really aren’t the villains that they’ve been set up to be, then that raises the question of who the main antagonist of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is. There’s the potential that Wyatt Russell’s John Walker could emerge as the show’s primary villain — especially if Walker does get superpowers in a future episode — but the more likely candidate right now seems to be someone else entirely: the Power Broker.
This mysterious figure is heavily set up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s second episode and introduced as the person responsible for the super-soldier serums that were stolen by the Flag Smashers. As of now, the character’s identity is still a mystery, and it’s entirely possible that The Power Broker could end up being the same character he is in the comics or a character that already exists in the MCU (Thunderbolt Ross? Justin Hammer?) who has been brought in to fill the role.
Either way, the conflict between the Flag Smashers and the Power Broker is already shaping up to be one of the more interesting storylines of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and one that could totally change the way viewers see the anarchist group.
The Inverse Analysis — Given the Power Broker’s role in John Walker’s comic book origin story, it’s not a major surprise that the character has a presence in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. What may be surprising, though, is just how large of a role the Power Broker ends up playing in the show’s overall story. Will he turn out to be its main villain? Or just another minor antagonist included in the narrative?
It’s impossible to know the answer to those questions right now, but if the Flag Smashers actually aren’t the villains, then it certainly seems possible that The Power Broker is.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming now on Disney+.