The Falcon and the Winter Soldier launched on Disney+ this week and its debut episode is packed with Easter Eggs and nods to the MCU and comics.
Please note the following will contain spoilers, so if you have not yet seen this episode then we suggest you do.
The first episode kicks off with a huge action sequence but the tone calms down for the remainder. We get a bit of an insight into the two titular characters, how they are dealing with life after the blip and coming to terms with a world without Steve Rogers.
This episode was full of Captain America nods and callbacks, amongst others, so let’s get into it.
Old Cap Quote
The episode kicks off with a quote from the older version of Captain America we saw giving the shield to Sam at the end of Avengers: Endgame. This conversation has obviously been playing on Sam’s mind over the last 6 months.
“How does it feel?” Says Captain America.
“Like it’s someone else’s.” Replies Sam.
During the first major action scene of the series, Sam has a boots on the ground soldier called Joaquin Torres. This is a reference that comic fans will surely recognise. He took on the mantle of Falcon when Sam became Captain America. He was experimented on by Karl Malus who turned him into an Avian Hybrid.
While the significance of the character in the series is as yet unknown, we can assume he will be a key secondary figure, even if he doesn’t become The Falcon.
Batroc the Leaper
The action sequence gave us our first “villain” of the series and it was a character we have previously seen. Fans will recognise the villain Batroc the Leaper who fought Captain America during Winter Soldier. Batroc is leading a terrorist group called LAF.
One scene brought us back to a familiar location. The Smithsonian gallery. During this scene, Wilson donates Captain America’s shield to the gallery, after which Rhodey joins Sam to Wander through the gallery. This is the same gallery we saw previously that contains all the Captain America memorabilia including the motorbike that Rogers rode when he and his howling commandos returned in Captain America. Be sure to look out for the below items.
- A photograph of Steve Rogers training at Camp Hammond.
- Photographs of Steve Rogers and Bucky from Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Promotional artwork associated with Captain America’s PR campaign before he became active on the Front in the Second World War.
- Three key newspaper headlines, one pertaining to a mystery man saving a child from Nazis in New York; another celebrating “400 prisoners liberated,” clearly about the moment Captain America went behind enemy lines to rescue Bucky and other soldiers from Hydra and a third recounting the SSR’s campaign against Hydra, bearing the headline “U.S. bombers hit Hydra factories.”
- Captain America’s World War II motorbike, complete with his original shield.
- A list of “The Vanished” and a discussion of the Blip, meaning the exhibit has been updated to represent Captain America’s heroism as recently as Avengers: Endgame.
- Steve Rogers’ costume from Captain America: The First Avenger, now with the shield placed beside it.
A terrorist organisation going by the name “Flag Smashers” believe that the world was better during the blip. In the episode, they appear to be led by someone who is clearly more than just a terrorist. He has superhuman strength and possibly other abilities we are yet to discover.
Bucky Sleeps on the Floor
Right-back in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Sam Wilson first met Steve Rogers they discussed how Vets sleep on the cold ground and use rocks for pillows. Now they are back as civilians the mattresses and pillows are too soft.
In this episode we see Bucky Barnes, another ex soldier waking up from a dream. Only he doesn’t wake in a bed but on the floor.
Bucky’s notebook is a stark reminder of how he is the counterpart to Steve Rogers. Both characters hold a notebook to help them with coming to terms in a new age but where Steve’s book was filled with a list of films that he needed to watch, Bucky’s is filled with a list of wrongs he feels he needs to put right. The notebook is filled with the names of Hydra members but also the names of people who were killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some of these names will be recognized by comic book fans:
- A Rostov, a.k.a. the Red Barbarian, a former General in the USSR who briefly ran a gulag where Bucky was imprisoned; he was assassinated by the Winter Soldier.
- PW Hauser, likely a reference to a Nazi called Wilhelm Hauser who fought Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos in the comics.
- Helmut Zemo, the main villain of Captain America: Civil War, destined to become a force to be reckoned with in Falcon & Winter Soldier.
- L Kaminski, a Marvel comic book writer and editor whose work included stories featuring Sam Wilson and John Walker.
- C Kusnetsov, probably a reference to a scientist in the comics who created a sentient robot for the USSR.
- S Whitaker, one of the most important Marvel writers who also wrote several Captain America stories.
Avengers Don’t Get Paid
One question that has probably been on every fans lips is: “How do the Avengers get paid?”
Well, this episode shows the Stark reality (no pun intended) that being a superhero doesn’t pay. Well, not financially anyway. Sam and his sister attempt to take out a loan but are refused. This is not only because Sam has had no income for 5 years (due to being blipped away) but because The Avengers don’t get paid for saving the world. The bank representative makes an insinuation that Tony Stark paid for everything, a nice call back to Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The All New Captain America
The closing scenes of the series introduced us to the new Captain America, U.S Agent, played by Wyatt Russell. This version was not chosen by Steve Rogers but by the U.S government who feel he is the best person to represent their ideals. In the comics, he gets more and more violent until he is eventually stopped by Captain America.
This may be a little far fetched but could be a nod to another superhuman team that is rumoured to be entering the MCU. When Torres is talking to Sam about Captain America he says there are some people who believe he is being kept in a secret base on the moon. This could be a way of referencing the Inhumans, who are a secret society that lives on the moon.
Well that’s certainly not all the Easter Eggs and Callbacks in this episode but these are the ones that stood out most.
Tune in to Disney+ on 26th March for the second episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.