The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is done (for now anyway) at Disney+ and, while Marvel fans don't have quite the number of questions they did at the end of WandaVision, there were some who questioned where the series ended up. One major question for some was how John Walker went from disavowed Captain America to semi-hero all in the course of an episode, and head writer Malcolm Spellman has an answer.
CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg spoke to Spellman about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale and how the series may have defied some's expectations by not having John Walker go full-villain after he killed a Flag-Smasher in front of the world. Spellman shared the approach he and the rest of the staff took towards the characters in the show and why they went that direction with Walker specifically:
We never judged our characters and I think that is really resonating with fans. You know what I'm saying? We never showed up saying 'You're going to be the bad guy.' Zemo, Karli, John, they're all antagonists, but they aren't the bad guy. We didn't want to show them like that. Thanos is an amazing villain because he believes what he's doing is right. What Thanos is doing is understandably wrong, carte blanche right? What Karli is doing, what Walker is doing, what GMO is doing. When they explain it to you, I would argue that it's very thoughtful and understandable their points of view. And we never want to do that. We want the storytelling to be natural and when that moment came that John was forced with continuing to get revenge and act on emotions and outrage right in the face of a bigger threat. The fact is John has been a hero in his past, and probably will be a hero in the future even if he does awful shit, right? In the moment, that felt like the right decision for John. We wanted to make it difficult because these people killed his best friend. But the right thing is the right thing.
Solid response from Malcolm Spellman, who may have reminded any Marvel fans who forgot who U.S. Agent is. Historically, the character's morals have always been a lot grayer than the likes of Captain America, and that's just a part of who he is. He still has the capacity and wants to be a hero, but he's likely never going to be as squeaky clean as some of the other Marvel heroes who don't kill.
Based on the quote above, it seems that it was intentional on the part of Malcolm Spellman and the writers of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to make viewers feel conflicted about John Walker's actions. The same is true of Baron Zemo and Karli Morgenthau, in that judgment was reserved for the viewer and not the staff.
What's most interesting about what Malcolm Spellman said is about John Walker potentially becoming a hero yet again. Fans have speculated that Walker's true villainous streak will be revealed after his team-up with Contessa Valentina de Fontaine, though we have no real idea what her motives are yet in the MCU. While it is true that Valentina has been known to be a villain, she's also done a lot of noble things. Is it possible audiences misjudged both her and Walker?