Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5, “Truth.”
The Falcon & the Winter Soldier episode 5’s post-credits scene sees John Walker forge a new Captain America shield. John Walker had always considered himself a real American hero. He was the first man in history to be awarded three Medals of Honor, and he was confident he could do the job of Captain America. Unfortunately, he proved to lack Steve Rogers’ self-control and sense of discipline.
As Captain America, Walker murdered a man in cold blood, and over the course of Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 5 he learns there are consequences to such an action. He caused an international incident, tarnishing the shield by using it as a murder weapon, and Sam and Bucky strip him of the shield – symbolically taking his Captain America identity from him. It’s not long before their actions are confirmed by the U.S. government, who advise it is only because of his record that he isn’t being court-martialled for his actions. Needless to say, Walker doesn’t take rejection well – and in the episode 5 post-credits scene viewers see that he still intends to suit up as Captain America.
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Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 5’s post-credits scene sees John Walker forging a new Captain America shield, which he spray-paints in the color pattern of the Star-Spangled Man. No doubt this shield won’t be as strong as Steve Rogers’; there’s absolutely no way Walker has gotten his hands on any Vibranium. Still, in the hands of a super-soldier who has trained with Captain America’s shield, it will be a deadly weapon – and it’s clear just how Walker intends to use it, given his preference for using the first shield as a blunt instrument to kill with. Notice the brightness of the colors, which suggest Walker still considers himself Captain America; in the comics he eventually took up the identity of US Agent, but the color scheme he adopted in that incarnation wasn’t so bright, so presumably the MCU isn’t at that part of Walker’s story just yet.
Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 5’s post-credits scene makes it clear that John Walker is unshakably convinced he is worthy for the mantle of Captain America, and he refuses to let go of that part of his identity. Oddly enough, Walker feels as though he too may have been listening to Sharon Carter’s eulogy for her great-aunt Peggy in Captain America: Civil War; “Compromise where you can. But where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move… it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in their eye and say ‘No, you move.’” Walker is rejecting the judgment of the U.S. government in stripping him of his title, and of Sam and Bucky in taking his shield; he’s choosing to become an illegal vigilante and break the Sokovia Accords, just as Steve Rogers did.
But John Walker’s motive is very different. Steve Rogers was unable to stop being a hero simply because he couldn’t help himself; “If I see a situation pointed south,” he explained to Tony Stark, “I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.” In contrast, Walker’s conversation with Lemar’s parents proves he is motivated only by revenge, because he’s already said he can’t accept a world where the woman who killed Battlestar – Karli Morgenthau – is still breathing. While it is true Falcon & Winter Soldier episode 5 parallels Steve Rogers and John Walker on a philosophical level, Walker is a funhouse mirror inversion of everything Steve represented, a version of Captain America who is the antithesis of what Captain America should be.
This is not, of course, the first time a Marvel character has forged themselves into a superhero. But when Tony Stark created the Iron Man armor in a cave in Afghanistan, he was unknowingly reforging himself. John Walker’s cave is emotional rather than physical, and he is not ready to create a new identity for himself. It’s almost certain The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will end with him becoming the US Agent of Marvel Comics lore, but the brightness of the colors on his new shield in episode 5’s post-credits scene proves he is not ready to do that just yet; Walker still thinks he’s Captain America.
Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Sep 03, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
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