Now that WandaVision is over, Marvel fans are waiting as patiently as they can (not very) for the next Disney + exclusive series. A new Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer dropped this week that gives all those theorists suffering from Mephisto withdraw something to chew on.
In the footage, Falcon / Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) take on masked criminals trying to take over a train. In a key moment, Falcon remarks: “These guys use brute force… They’re strong. Too Strong.”
It is an easy-to-miss line that falls in between hilarious quips about whether Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is really just a wizard without a hat. It is also worth mentioning that Falcon’s “big three” included android, a nod that the White Vision (Paul Bettany) from WandaVision is out there somewhere.
The question becomes what makes the Flag Smashers seen in the trailer so strong? And are they connected to the government’s Captain America replacement US Agent / John Walker (Wyatt Russell)? We know that Wilson and Barnes will team up with Sharon Carter/ Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) who is still on the run for breaking the Sokovia Accords in Civil War.
Related: Chapek: ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Is a “Cinematic” Experience
Super Soldier Serum History
Considering that after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019) Falcon has Captain America’s shield the most likely culprit for the super-strength shenanigans is the Super Soldier Serum. Both Falcon and the Winter Soldier took on the mantle of Captain America at different points in Marvel comic book history, so a lot of this series will be cast in the shadow of Captain America.
The Super Soldier Serum was created by Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) using Vita Rays for Project Rebirth. However, when Steve Rogers (Chris Evan) underwent the procedure, Hydra attacked killing Erskine and losing his research forever.
Since then, villains and heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have attempted to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, where Hulk / Bruce Banner was then played by Edward Norton, the government is working on the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project. When trying to recreate the serum Banner is exposed to gamma radiation and becomes the Hulk.
The serum also appeared in the first season of Agents of SHIELD when they uncovered Hydra’s attempt to create more super-soldiers with the Centipede Project. And in Netflix’s Luke Cage, the title character played by Mike Colter, was experimented on with another version of the serum.
The Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America will never go away for long. The ever-delayed Black Widow movie will introduce the Red Guardian / Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour). The Red Guardian’s comic book origin is the result of Russia’s attempt to create its own Captain America.
And even the Weapon X Program that gave Wolverine his adamantium claws was an attempt to make super soldiers out of mutants.
How It Relates to US Agent
Based on everything that has been released so far about Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the new Marvel series will probably feature a conflict straight from the comics between Falcon and US Agent. After Falcon becomes Captain America in the comics, the government commissioned US Agent to get the shield from Sam.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Walker will most likely get his super strength from yet another version of the Super Soldier Serum. In the comics, he gets his powers from the Power Broker but with Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) already confirmed to return and the conflict with the Flag Smashers it is doubtful that director Kari Skogland and head writer Malcolm Spellman will also introduce the Power Broker.
The version of the serum used on US Agent in the new series may be one from the comics that has yet to appear in the MCU. AVX (Acetovaxidol) is a patch created based on Captain America’s Serum to enhance physical strength and stamina. It requires continuous doses of the drug to maintain the effect but has degenerative mental side effects.
In Marvel Comics, the AVX was used to create a villainous version of Captain America known as Anti-Cap. If US Agent is connected to Helmut Zemo or the Flag Smashers in the new series, Marvel Studios could combine the two characters and take Walker down a path similar to Anti-Cap.
Disney already announced that Falcon and the Winter Soldier series will tackle more serious topics in between the jokes and fun chemistry of the leads that was established in Captain America: Civil War (2016). It even received an age 16+ rating. Setting up US Agent, a character symbolic of extreme American patriotism, to first appear heroic but ultimately revealed as a villain could be exactly what they have been teasing.
One of the more obscure theories around the plot of the new series is that it could reintroduce the Inhumans. The idea began circulating after the dormant Twitter account for the not-well received ABC mini-series The Inhumans tweeted a promo for Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Are you ready? Watch the brand-new trailer for Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and start streaming the Original Series March 19 on @DisneyPlus. #FalconAndWinterSoldier pic.twitter.com/M2e3I2xxDh
— Marvel's Inhumans (@theinhumans) February 8, 2021
Notably, this account has been in hiding since the show was dropped onto Disney +. It has not been used in promotion for any other upcoming Marvel property. While The Inhumans series might be one of the worst things Marvel ever produced for the MCU, the race of super-powered humans had a much more successful arc on Agents of SHIELD.
And while both shows currently exist in a sort of canon-adjacent limbo for now, the Inhumans are still popular comic book characters that Feige might want to introduce on his own terms. They will certainly come back for the upcoming Ms. Marvel series. It might be worth setting them up again for MCU fans who either missed SHIELD or repressed the events of The Inhumans.
It is clear from other trailers released that Falcon and the Winter Soldier will involve Sam and Bucky chasing down some sort of biological weapon. Whether this is the Super Soldier Serum, AVX, or some sort of Terrigen related compound we will have to wait and see.
Whatever the weapon is, it will clearly have fallen into the wrong hands if the Flag Smashers are powered up using it. How Zemo and US Agent are related to this biological weapon is also yet to be determined.
Let us know in the comments below whether you think US Agent will be a hero or a villain.