Thus far, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier has mostly operated in what we could call the Captain America Sector of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Obviously the two eponymous heroes were introduced through the Star Spangled Man’s trilogy, but it has also made use of iconography (ex. the shield), supporting characters (ex. Sharon Carter and Baron Zemo) and plot elements (ex. super soldiers). That remained true through most of Episode 3, titled “Power Broker,” but the end of the chapter delivered a nice big surprise that ties the six-part miniseries to Black Panther and the world of Wakanda.
There isn’t much context provided for the tie-in actually featured in the episode, as it is designed specifically as a cliffhanger, but it makes all the sense in the world when you look back on past events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In recognition of that, let’s do a quick venture through the history of the franchise before prognosticating what is to come from The Falcon And The Winter Soldier in the back half of the series.
How Baron Zemo And Winter Soldier Connect To Black Panther And Wakanda
One of the big events that happens in the latest episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is Baron Helmut Zemo’s big jailbreak. He has information that Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes need to track down the origins of the modern super soldier serum. He winds up being surprisingly helpful, as his resources and connections let the heroes find what they’re looking for… but what is important to remember is why Zemo was imprisoned in the first place.
The villainous murderer was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War, established as a Colonel with the Sokovian Armed Forces before Sokovia was destroyed by the titular psychopathic android in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Zemo believed that it was the fault of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that his beloved country was obliterated, so he set about doing deep research into all of Hydra’s operations in the aim of dividing the team.
It’s specifically in how he went about doing the latter that gets us to the crux of what this feature is about. Zemo recognized that the existence of The Winter Soldier as his connection to Captain America was the weak spot in the Avengers organization, and so the Sokovian soldier framed the brainwashed assassin as the perpetrator of a horrendous crime: bombing the United Nations’ Vienna International Centre and killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda.
Baron Zemo was ultimately successful in his goals, as the Avengers fractured following the revelation that The Winter Soldier killed Tony Stark’s parents – but Zemo’s victory didn’t include freedom. While the mastermind behind the plot initially planned to kill himself, that effort was stopped by King T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther, and the sly antagonist was forced to pay for his crimes with imprisonment.
Which brings us to The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, and why it is entirely, 1000 percent reasonable that the nation of Wakanda would be over-the-top furious that Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes would conspire to free Baron Zemo.
What To Expect From The Dora Milaje’s Arrival In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
While most nations don’t seem to have the resources necessary to quickly find Helmut Zemo following his prison break, Wakanda is definitely not most nations. With the extra incentive of wanting to see the killer of one of their country’s kings stay behind bars, it’s hardly surprising that they were able to find him in Riva, Latvia faster than anyone else could.
The woman that Bucky Barnes calls out at the end of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s latest episode is Ayo (played by Florence Kasumba), a member of the Wakandan royal guard a.k.a. the Dora Milaje. Based on her past appearances in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War, she is well-trusted by T’Challa, so it makes sense that she would be sent to take care of such an important mission. Unfortunately, she doesn’t hide her kimoyo beads for spying quite well enough to miss Bucky’s attention, hence her being discovered.
Clearly Ayo was preparing for some kind of operation that would result in Zemo being captured and put back in custody – but what happens now, and what this means for Sam and Bucky are massive, looming question marks. As far as the former goes, will she be unyielding in her efforts to ensure Zemo’s incarceration? And in terms of the latter, will she excuse the law-breaking actions of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier given their heroic contributions to the world, or will she ensure they meet punishment as well?
What particu;arly rubs salt in the wound here is the close relationship between Bucky and Wakanda – who is known in the African nation as White Wolf. The man formerly known as The Winter Soldier was a fugitive at the end of Captain America: Civil War, still vulnerable to Hydra’s hypnosis, but T’Challa gave him permission to stay in his country, and it was there that Bucky was able to rehabilitate and get better (it’s why Zemo’s recitation of the command words don’t work). The fact that he directly helped the killer of King T’Chaka is most assuredly not going to sit well with anybody, and as a result Ayo may not feel compelled to show him any leniency, regardless of his explanation for his actions.
Presumably this cliffhanger will at least be partially resolved within the first moments of next week’s episode… but what will happen? Will Ayo be diplomatic? Will the action start immediately? And is it possible that she brought back-up from Wakanda?
We won’t know what’s actually in store when it comes to the Dora Milaje in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier until the next chapter arrives on Disney+, but the good news is that event is now less than seven days away. Episode 4, which won’t reveal its title until it is available, will be online to stream on April 9 at midnight PST/3am EST.