Wield the Shield

Who is the new Captain America? The Falcon and the Winter Soldier character explained

Ready to find out who John Walker really is?

There’s a new Captain America in town... and it’s not Sam Wilson. At least, that’s where the premiere episode of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier leaves things. So who’s this new guy with the red-white-and-blue chinstrap? Here’s everything you need to know about John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Warning! Spoilers ahead for Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 1.

In the series premiere, Anthony Mackie’s Sam handing over the Captain America shield to the U.S. government only for them to give it to someone else. It’s a real gut-punch of a twist, one that leaves Sam (and us) reeling.

The premiere only gives us a brief look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Captain America, but we already know quite a bit about the character and the actor playing him. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the man in question, John Walker, heading into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s second episode next week.

The New Captain America? Meet John Walker (aka, U.S. Agent)

John Walker.Marvel Comics

In the Marvel comics, John Walker is a young man that grows up idolizing his older brother, who was killed in combat during the Vietnam War. After receiving superhuman strength, stamina, reflexes, and durability through some dealings with a Marvel villain known as the Power Broker, Walker begins calling himself Super-Patriot.

As Super-Patriot, Walker instigates a public campaign against Captain America — claiming that he stands for the nation’s “true ideals” better than Steve Rogers. The character later takes over the Captain America mantle for Rogers, after the latter abandons the identity, only for Walker to eventually be deemed unworthy of the title. From that point on, Walker becomes known as U.S. Agent.

Like most comic book characters, Walker has an interesting and varied history, one that has seen him become a member of multiple different teams, interact with countless other characters, and even come into conflict with some notable Marvel heroes from time-to-time.

But what role will the character serve in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

Who is John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in Marvel?

Wyatt Russell in Lodge 49.AMC

Marvel is predictably keeping plot details from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier close to its chest, so it’s unclear exactly what Walker’s impact on the show’s story will be right now. However, his introduction in the premiere, which comes as a major blow to Mackie’s Sam Wilson, does seem to suggest that he’ll serve an antagonistic function in the series (even if the character himself isn’t necessarily villainous).

Notably, the character is played Wyatt Russell in the series, an actor who has been building up an impressive filmography for himself in recent years.

The son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Russell’s performances in films like Everybody Wants Some!!, Ingrid Goes West, and Overlord, as well as his lead turn in the criminally underseen AMC series, Lodge 49, have made him one of the most promising up-and-coming actors working today. Seeing what he does with his performance as Walker should be an interesting experience, one way or another.

It’s yours, Sam. If you want it.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — Russell has previously said that John Walker is a “complicated character” in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which may mean that Sam isn’t the only one having a complicated time dealing with the Captain America legacy in the series.

Knowing what we do about Walker’s comic book history as well, it seems only inevitable that the two characters will butt heads over ownership of the mantle at some point in the series. Finding out how that conflict plays out, though, is already one of the biggest things fans have to look forward to from the next five episodes of Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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

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