The series finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has now released, and it did the job in more ways than one. Despite the series having a slow start, the closing couple episodes managed to deliver on all the intriguing conversations and dynamics fans were hoping for back when it was first announced, particularly in relation to the idea of legacy and the many forms that can take.
Of course, one of the more pivotal characters to emerge from the Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes Variety Hour was John Walker, a combat veteran thrust into the spotlight as the U.S. Government undermined Steve Rogers and Sam and made him the new Captain America.
As fans won't need reminding, Walker - although a capable soldier - isn't Captain America material. He's been chewed up and spat out by the U.S. military and the pressure of living up to the mantle proves too much for him to bear, leading to a shocking confrontation with the Flag Smashers in Latvia, that ends with Walker beating a member of the group to death with Cap's iconic shield.
But this isn't the end for Walker. Having taken one of the last vials of super soldier serum, he's able to emerge from his other than honourable discharge from the military having yes, lost the Cap mantle, but also with a new ally in La Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine (or Val, for short), played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Val intimates that she has plans for Walker, and we see them come to fruition in the series finale.
In the final episode of the series, Walker takes his first steps on his path towards redemption, choosing to save the lives of the GRC members as opposed to going after Karli to take revenge. It's the most "Cap thing" he's done since assuming the mantle, and it marks a clear shift for the character.
He helps Sam and Bucky take down Karli afterwards, and clearly accepts the former as the new Cap. We then get to see him with his wife and La Contessa, with the big reveal coming in the form of his new costume, a black, white and red version of the iconic star spangled Cap suit, which is obviously also the infamous garb of U.S. Agent, Walker's identity in the comics.
La Contessa gives him his comic book title too, but not before teasing his wife and the audience that she was behind the car bombing of the surviving Flag Smashers. This act serves one very obvious purpose in that it informs us just how much of a ruthless operator the character will be, but there are also other implications that may hint at La Contessa taking a leaf out of Nick Fury's book, and starting a team of her own.
I am of course referring to the Thunderbolts. Rumours of the team's impending arrival to the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been doing the rounds for a good few years now, but this definitely feels like our most concrete indication yet that Marvel Studios are gearing up to introduce them, or at least a team of their ilk. The prospect was also brought up when La Contessa was introduced in the previous week's episode, but seeing Walker fully suited and booted - with title - certainly lends further weight to the idea that it may be happening.
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