Tom Brady wasn't the only villain in the Super Bowl. In the "Big Game" commercial for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a new group led by a young woman in a red mask causes havoc for Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.
But who is the woman? Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe about to meet the daughter of the Red Skull? Here's everything we know about both the Red Skull's daughter from the comics, Sin, as well as the mysterious role of actress Erin Kellyman in the next Marvel series on Disney+.
What Happened? — During the Super Bowl, Disney/Marvel seized the opportunity to promote the next new series on Disney+, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The series stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan back as Falcon and Winter Soldier as they deal with the absence of Steve Rogers, who returned to his proper time at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Besides showing off almost all new footage, the "Big Game" trailer for the series included our first look at actress Erin Kellyman (Solo: A Star Wars Story), who proceeds to kick Bucky's ass. Kellyman is seen wearing a black mask with a red handprint, along with other similarly-dressed goons.
Almost immediately, fans started speculating that Kellyman — whose role has not yet been disclosed — is playing Sinthea Schmidt, or Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull.
After her first appearance in Captain America #290 in 1984, one of Sin's biggest stories was a supporting villain in writer Ed Brubaker's run on Marvel's Captain America. The series, perhaps most importantly, told of Bucky's inheritance of the Captain America mantle from an assassinated Steve Rogers.
While The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will mostly tell the story of Sam Wilson's takeover of the shield and not Bucky's, it's hard to ignore the similarities of the show from specific Captain America comics, especially Brubaker's noir thriller-inspired issues.
Who is Sin? — Born Sinthea Schmidt, Sin is the only daughter of the Red Skull, who sired a child to carry on his legacy. Artificially matured with technology, Sinthea was first introduced as "Mother Superior," a successor to Red Skull underling Mother Night and leader of a group called Sisters of Sin. Much later, Sinthea is de-aged into a woman in her twenties, where she simply went by "Sin."
In Ed Brubaker's Captain America, Sin formed a Bonnie and Clyde-type relationship with Crossbones (played by Frank Grillo in the movies). A little while after that, she claims the name of her father, Red Skull, for her own until her father's clone emerges and re-establishes Hydra.
Because of Sin's distinct red hair, fans believe Kellyman (herself a redhead) is Sin, which keeps up the theme of legacy apparent in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. What's more, Sin's history of leading groups, such as the Sisters of Sin, Serpent Squad, and Hydra, is influencing Kellyman's character, as she is clearly the leader of a group called Flag-Smashers. (More on them in a bit.) But there are some other possibilities to Kelly's role, based on what we already know about the series.
What if Kellyman Isn't Sin? — Because Kellyman's role hasn't been named, there are other possibilities about her character. In a summer 2020 report by Murphy's Multiverse, Kellyman was observed demonstrating a specific set of powers that seemed evocative of the villain-turned-hero Songbird.
Murphy's Multiverse provided the following second-hand description:
"According to this witness, Georges [St-Pierre] was filming in a park standing with Desmond [Chaim] by a bench, while Erin [Kellyman] sat between them on the back of the bench with her feet on the seat. He could not hear any dialogue but said that Erin’s character used some kind of power, unclear how, to impress the two. The power involved extras near them in a field stopping, simultaneously looking at the phones, looking up, and all walking towards them in a group and as if in a trance."
Based on the description, Kellyman's onscreen powers mirrors that of Songbird, whose sonic powers enable her to psychically manipulate people.
Alternatively, Kellyman could be Flag-Smasher. It is confirmed the group Kellyman leads is called "Flag-Smashers," as the official Zazzle store for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier includes a graphic of the Flag-Smashers logo (with Kellyman's same mask held above it.) In the comics, Flag-Smasher is not a group but an individual and another enemy of Captain America.
In the comics, Flag-Smasher leads a group called ULTIMATUM, for "Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind," an anti-America group. While it's awkward if a villain called Flag-Smasher leads a group of Flag-Smashers, the fact is, there's a recurring thing here about Kellyman and her leadership of groups that's sending speculative fans going every which way.
The Inverse Analysis — The MCU isn't above combining elements of characters or stories when convenient. While Erin Kellyman could be Sin, the Red Skull's daughter, it is possible her Sin will have a new story — one fused with elements belonging to both Songbird and/or Flag-Smasher — that is functional for this specific continuity.
While some fans might be disappointed in not getting a version of Sin who is both unhinged and "sexy" (think a less interesting Harley Quinn), the MCU rarely disappoints with character reinterpretation. Heck, this might be the start of Sin renaissance — if this indeed is Erin Kellyman's character.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will begin streaming on Disney+ on March 19.