Spoilers for the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier -- “New World Order” -- lie ahead.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was primed to bring a number of new elements to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of those is Wyatt Russell’s John Walker a.k.a. the new Captain America. Given the massive love for Steve Rogers, it was fair to assume fans wouldn’t take kindly to Walker taking up the mantle and, since his debut in the premiere, that has definitely been the case. Russell is well aware of hate for his controversial character, and he gave a solid response when asked about it.
John Walker makes his debut during the closing moments of the Falcon and The Winter Soldier series premiere, during which the government formally introduced him as Cap’s successor. Given the mostly negative reaction to Walker wielding the shield, one would think Wyatt Russell would be a little down. However, he believes these reactions mean the show is doing just what it’s supposed to do:
People are probably going to hate it, and some people are going to love it. [Movies and TV shows] are there to make people feel emotions, and I'm hoping that that's what this show can do for people. Hopefully they don't hate me too much, [but] it would be an honor, I guess, to be disliked in the Marvel universe.
You honestly have to appreciate Wyatt Russell’s recent comments to USA Today, as he’s certainly taking the disdain for his character in stride. He also makes a good point in that the goal of TV and film is to draw emotional responses from viewers and, in this case, that speaks to the emotional investment fans have in the MCU.
While Wyatt Russell’s John Walker was announced early on, Marvel Studios has mostly kept the character’s role shrouded in mystery. Walker has somewhat villainous origins in the comics, which likely has some fans (including myself) believing there will be a major twist in his arc. Could things take a dark turn for the new Sentinel of Liberty? Only time will tell.
One thing we can gather from the final scene of the premiere is that things will likely be awkward between Sam Wilson and John Walker when they cross paths for the first time. It’ll be interesting to learn how he figures into Sam and Bucky Barnes’ journey -- and how long Walker ends up carrying that shield.
Regardless of how you may feel about John Walker right now, Wyatt Russell is a welcome addition to the MCU. He’s sure to give a balanced performance and wear his “disliked” badge with honor.
Find out what happens with John Walker next when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier returns with a new episode this Friday on Disney+.