Tonight saw the launch of the Falcon And The Winter Soldier finale on Disney+, but while the episode brought the six-episode miniseries to an end, what’s particularly interesting about what happens from a Marvel Cinematic Universe standpoint is where it leaves all of the characters for the future. A lot goes down in the span of 45 minutes, and heroes and villains like Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, Sharon Carter, John Walker, and Helmut Zemo are left facing interesting prospects and consequences from their respective positions.
The future for all of the characters is presently unwritten, as it hasn’t been announced where we’ll be seeing any of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s main players next in the continuity, but now that all of the show’s cards are on the table, let’s examine where everything stands and where things could possibly go in the future. And we’ll start with the big passing of the mantle that has been in progress since the final scenes of Avengers: Endgame…
Sam Wilson Is Now Officially Captain America
Sam Wilson demonstrated some extreme hesitancy in the wake of Steve Rogers choosing him to be the new Captain America, at first deciding to simply give the shield to the Smithsonian, but after the big ramp up in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 5 fans finally got to see the character suit up in the red, white, and blue. Wearing a Wakanda-built flight suit and sporting star-spangled Vibranium on his forearm, Sam leans into his new moniker in the finale, and demonstrates that just because the job is new doesn’t mean that he’s isn’t going to immediately try to create change.
Following the Flag-Smasher’s foiled attack on the Global Repatriation Council, the group’s leaders are all set to just move forward with their preset plans, but Captain America intervenes – and does so while cameras are rolling. He speaks on behalf of those suffering and have no say in what happens when the biggest decisions are made, and while he recognizes that there are no easy answers and that the situation is loaded and complicated, the only way to really solve anything is through communication. It’s one hell of a debut in the fresh suit for Sam Wilson, and surely there will be plenty of people who reject him as the new Cap (something he directly acknowledges), it’s easy to be excited about what the future holds for him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sharon Carter Is The Power Broker, And She Has Been Put In A Very Powerful Position
There is a certain balance in the finale of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, as in addition to seeing the ascension of Sam Wilson as Captain America, the show also firms up that Sharon Carter has become a very dangerous individual. We learned in the previous episode that she had gone to the dark side, as it was revealed that she coordinated the release of Batroc from prison, but she levels up in a big way in “One World, One People”… and unfortunately it’s all Sam’s fault.
While Sharon was a fugitive in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War it turns out that she made hay while the sun shined, and was able to successfully set up a criminal enterprise in Madripoor as The Power Broker. She was the one responsible for trying to recreate the Super Soldier Serum, but that’s something Sam Wilson never finds out during the series, and as such he makes good on his promise to get her pardoned by the United States government. The post-credits scene in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s finale sees her not only get her criminal record expunged, but also return to her job at the Central Intelligence Agency – a position that she clearly intends to exploit for her own nefarious purposes.
The Winter Soldier Appears To Be On The Run Again
As an adult, Bucky Barnes has never had a calm life. He enlisted with the Army during World War II, spent the majority of the 20th century as a brainwashed assassin, and since being rehabilitated he has still found himself regularly at the center of all kinds of superhero madness. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like he is going to be finding much peace after the events of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier either, as there is the suggestion that Bucky might be a fugitive once again.
Bucky definitely takes positive steps in his life through the series, ultimately crossing off all of the names in his book and creating a better relationship with Sam Wilson, but one also can’t forget the illegal things he does – the most significant being breaking Helmut Zemo out of prison (more on him in a bit). He has to make a hasty exit from the attack on the GRC, and Yori’s reaction seeing him definitely gives the impression that Bucky isn’t a person who can spend too much time in public places. Clearly there are safe spaces for him, like the barbeque with Sam’s friends and neighbors, but his life seems to be far from stable.
John Walker Has Been Rebranded, And Has A Seemingly Dangerous Handler
In the finale of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, John Walker doesn’t really take the scary, villainous turn that some expected. He certainly demonstrates a ferocity when fighting with Karli Morgenthau, but he winds up only being an asset as the show’s titular heroes work to rescue members of the GRC and arrest (not kill) key members of the Flag-Smashers. On a certain level he gets a bit of redemption – but what’s a cause for concern is the person in his life who now seems to be calling all the big shots: Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
While many celebrate Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, Val seeks to undermine that position by puppeteering a patriotic hero of her own, namely John Walker as U.S. Agent. She doesn’t exactly spell out what her big plans are (what would be the fun in that?), but I’m still sticking with my proposed theory from last week’s feature that she is orchestrating what will end up being a Marvel Cinematic Universe take on Dark Avengers. There has been talk online that fans will get the chance to see Val again soon, as it’s been said that she may pop up in Black Widow, so hopefully we’ll get some answers soon.
Zemo Is Imprisoned, But He’s Still Executing Super Soldiers
Fans may have thought that Baron Helmut Zemo was done after The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s fifth episode, as Bucky Barnes turned him over to the Dora Milaje so that he could be locked up in The Raft – but underestimating Zemo is never a smart call. When he sets his mind to do something, he gets it done. When he made plans to tear the Avengers apart, he succeeded; and as depicted in the finale, when he decided that all of the super soldier members of the Flag-Smashers needed to die, he ensured that it would happen.
As mentioned above, Bucky and John Walker succeed in trapping the key members of the Flag-Smashers, and they get arrested, but sadly none of them ever get to see a jail cell. We don’t really know how, but Zemo arranges it so that their transport vehicle is rigged with explosives, and the supervillain’s butler is the one who hits the switch. Will he ever be punished for the crime? Probably not – but it also doesn’t seem like he’s going to be getting a taste of freedom any time soon.
Karli Morgenthau Is Dead
Of course, it’s not just the detonated members of the Flag-Smashers who lose their lives in the Falcon And The Winter Soldier finale. Also a part of the body count is Karli Morgenthau, who dies in the midst of her attack on the Global Repatriation Council. It seems to be Captain America’s intention to take her down peacefully, as his fight with her sees him only making defensive maneuvers against her attacks, but she loses her life when she prepares to shoot Sam Wilson, and instead takes a bullet from Sharon Carter (it’s possible Sharon did it because of her friendship with the hero, but it’s more likely she didn’t want to lose her chance at a pardon, and because Karli was one of the few people who knew her identity as The Power Broker).
The silver lining is that the leader of the Flag-Smashers doesn’t die totally in vain. Sam Wilson worked hard to try and convince Karli that he understood her perspective, and while she died doubting his commitment, he proved his morals during his on-camera confrontation with the GRC in the wake of the attack. Hopefully it will result in things moving in a more positive direction for the displaced people of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Isiah Bradley Has Finally Been Memorialized
One of the best things about The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is the revelation about Isiah Bradley and his tragic time as both a super soldier and lab experiment – and it’s his story that arguably gets the happiest ending in the finale. Sam Wilson sees injustice in the world not knowing about the hero’s efforts and horrible treatment at the hands of the United States government, and so he makes efforts to see the creation of a special exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Captain America display.
Featured in its own section of the floor, there is a golden statue of the brave hero, and a plaque that delves into the dark history of what happened to the Korean War veteran both before and after his tour of duty. How the world will react to this news is not something that the show gets into, but what’s most important is that people will understand the incredible sacrifices that Isiah made.
With The Falcon And The Winter Soldier now concluded, this brings to an end my week-to-week midnight follow-ups for the series – but you can be sure that you’ll be able to find many more features and other various pieces about it here on CinemaBlend in the coming days. We’ll keep you posted in regards to when we’ll see Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and the rest of the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so be on the lookout for that, and start preparing yourselves now for the launch of the franchise’s next Disney+ series, as Loki is on the schedule to premiere on June 11.