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Warning: Spoilers ahead for the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Look away until you've caught up!
The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier gave fans a lot to love when looking at how Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are handling life post-blip, and post Steve Rogers, for that matter. The last few minutes, though, saw Sam dealing with something that clearly devastated him, as the government introduced a brand new Captain America in the form of John Walker, to give the country hope in a world that had changed drastically and become scary in some new ways, yet again. But, now we know that the Disney+ series made some changes to Walker in order to bring the character to the MCU.
One of the big questions about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier prior to the premiere was how Sam was going to handle the responsibility that Steve put on him at the end of Avengers: Endgame, when he handed him his shield and let it be known he wanted Sam to take over for him. It was clear from the promos that Sam was dealing with some doubts about becoming the new Captain America, so viewers weren't completely surprised when he elected to stay The Falcon, and handed Steve's shield over to the Smithsonian to be put on display.
Obviously, the powers that be thought better of that choice, and decided to put someone else behind he shield, naming John Walker as the new Captain America. While talking with Entertainment Tonight, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's head writer, Malcolm Spellman, revealed how they changed the character a bit so that he could make his MCU debut, and said:
Walker started off much closer to the Walker in the books, and then completely morphed into something very, very, very different. For him to take the mantle and for him to be Captain America, we knew we needed to shift him to be a bit more heroic and righteous. So, just the very fact that we wanted to introduce him as Captain America, to bring that conflict to life, started to dictate the evolution of John Walker as a character. Because to carry that shield, you cannot be the guy that he was in the comics. There's traces of that there, but he's definitely much more obviously heroic. That said, he's going to have to earn it -- or not -- over the course of the series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has done a very good job of keeping many of the details about the MCU's version of John Walker a secret, leaving fans to wonder exactly how much of a good guy the new Cap was going to be. The comics have seen John act as a hero, anti-hero, and villain over the years, and, according to what Malcolm Spellman said during his interview, it sounds like audiences will be treated to a character who's going to ride the line a little bit.
But, it also seems as though there won't be any major questions as to how the government could have thought he'd be a good successor to Steve, because he will have plenty of valiant and unimpeachable acts in his background.
However, while the shot of John Walker that we see at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's first episode is only the third one we've gotten of him, and the first good look at him in costume in general, we have seen him in a quick snippet which seems to foretell that something not so great is on the way for John as he works his new gig. This scene shows John in full uniform, as he hangs his head in what appears to be a factory of some kind, and he looks super regretful. So, it's possible that he's going to do something which leads to him doubting whether or not he's right for his new position.
Whether John Walker turns out to be a great guy who makes a big mistake, or someone more sinister, remains to be seen, but, according to Malcolm Spellman, fans can count on one thing:
He's going to have a big impact on the MCU.
Can't wait to see what that means! While we likely still have a long ways to go when it comes to fully figuring out how much of a hero John Walker will be, know that if you weren't pleased to see him at the end of the first episode, you're not alone. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will soon reveal all, so keep watching as it debuts every Friday on Disney+.