Things to Know About Sam Wilson, the New Captain America

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Sam Wilson as The Falcon

Credit: Marvel Studios / Marvel Comics

So, you think you know all there is to know about Sam Wilson? Well, think again.

We’re here to break down everything you need to know about the Falcon, the Avenger‘s hero in the sky.

From his military background, his comic book depictions, to his relationships with the Winter Soldier and Captain America, here’s everything you need to know about Sam Wilson. Make sure you know your stuff ahead of March 19th, when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier launches!

Related: Feige Says ‘Falcon and Winter Soldier’ Will Be Shorter Than Expected

Origins of Sam Wilson in MCU

When did Sam Wilson first appear in the MCU?

Sam Wilson
Credit: Marvel Studios

Wilson first joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe way back in 2014, when he was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The flying hero quickly demonstrated the importance of superheroes that aren’t armed with magical abilities or super high-tech suits (although some reports say Iron Man will heavily inspire Wilson’s new suit).

Since his appearance in The Winter Soldier, Sam has since become a crucial part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and appeared in five other movies as well as a cameo picture in Spider-Man: Far From Home. These include huge crossover films like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

He’s clearly made an impact as fans can get a ton of Falcon merchandise! Sam Wilson has become a beloved part of the Marvel family, so it’s no surprise he’s soon set to star in his own Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

How does Sam Wilson’s origins in the MCU differ from his origins in the comic books?

Broadly speaking, the character of Sam Wilson is pretty similar to his comic book counterpart. However, his backstory is wildly different and pretty interesting! Long before he takes up the Captain America mantle, comic book Sam starts off life as a criminal after growing up in a rough neighborhood where both of his parents are killed. He works for the mob and takes the name “Snap”.

Eventually, he ends up crashing on an island where a long-time Captain America foe, The Red Skull, was hiding out. Red Skull aims to use the hero as a pawn to get to Steve Rogers, using a cosmic cube to grant him the ability to talk to birds (in particular, a falcon named Redwing). Captain America ultimately frees Wilson from the Skull’s mind control, and the two team-up.

Falcon Marvel comics
Credit: Marvel Studios

From then on, Sam takes on the mantle of The Falcon. He even gets given a harness by fellow Marvel hero Black Panther which helps him to fly. Notably, Wilson’s past as a criminal was later ret-conned by Marvel, who revealed that The Red Skull created his “Snap” personality to manipulate him, and he was never a criminal at all.

In the MCU, however, Sam Wilson is pretty different. The hero is introduced as an ex-American Air Force pilot during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He retired from the armed forces after his partner Riley was shot out of the sky in front of him. Notably, Falcon’s suit is part of his backstory in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as, along with Riley, he was the test pilot for the EXO 7 Falcon wings.

When did Sam Wilson become an Avenger?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Series coming soon to Disney+
Credit: Marvel Studios

As mentioned, Sam Wilson helps out Steve Rogers during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, it isn’t until his next Marvel movie appearance that he’s officially considered an Avenger. After chasing down Bucky Barnes, Steve and Sam end on good terms, and he’s seemingly invited to join the team between the events of Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In the final scene of Age of Ultron, Sam is introduced as one of the team’s new members. The film concludes with the formal introduction of Vision, Falcon, War Machine, and Scarlet Witch as members of the team for the first time.

As such, it’s fair to say that Age of Ultron marks the first time that Sam is officially considered a member of the Avengers, despite helping out in the previous movie. MCU fans were overjoyed to see him appear during the film‘s climax, and he’s become a core part of the team ever since. Disney would eventually expand on the relationship between him and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) after they got off to a rocky start during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Related: ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Receives TV R-Rating

Introduction of Sam Wilson as Falcon

How does Sam Wilson meet Captain America?

sam wilson bucky barnes interrogation
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson first encounters Captain America during the events of The Winter Soldier. Sam has now returned home to America after his time in the US Air Force and works as a counselor for war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He meets Steve Rogers in a pretty amusing way as the two men are both out for a morning jog in Washington DC. Wilson is obviously incredibly physically fit, having served in the Air Force for several years. However, even he can’t keep up with the super-soldier himself, and Wilson becomes frustrated with Cap, who laps him again and again, saying “on your left” each time.

The two strike up immediate chemistry and bond over their mutual difficulty readjusting to society after serving on the field. He invites Captain America to come along to one of his support sessions before Steve is whisked off on a mission by Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff. However, the two are thrust together as Steve and Natasha go on the run after finding out that SHIELD is secretly being run by HYDRA agents. Sam Wilson plays a vital role in helping the two fugitives as they go on the run. As he says:

“Dude, Captain America needs my help. There’s no better reason to get back in.”

new falcon suit
Credit: Marvel Comics

Why was Sam Wilson so important in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

marvel concept art falcon and winter soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson will play a key role in the new Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As with all Marvel movies, there are bound to be several references to past events such as Thor and Captain America‘s battle with Thanos and the second snap (enacted by the Incredible Hulk).

However, undoubtedly the most crucial part of the series will be Sam’s adoption of the Captain America mantle. We’ve already discussed how season two of the series might change the title to Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Sam is set to be the main driving force of the narrative as he comes to terms with the responsibility of becoming the world’s most patriotic hero. Indeed, things aren’t going to be easy for the character as it seems the Government has other ideas about who should be Captain America and how he should be used.

John Walker / US Agent will become the Government’s new “Captain America“, and the character is thought to be playing an antagonistic role against Sam and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Additionally, the two will have to deal with Baron Zemo‘s return, a character who played a huge role in Captain America: Civil War and who brainwashed Bucky and almost divided the Avengers forever.

The stakes are high for both Sam and Bucky in the new Disney+ series, and both will play a huge role in the way the narrative concludes. Disney has certainly given the two a lot of obstacles to overcome!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Source: Wikipedia

Who plays Sam Wilson in the MCU?

Falcon and Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel/Disney

The delightful Anthony Mackie plays Sam Wilson. Mackie boasts a plethora of exciting acting credits, including an episode of the popular dark sci-fi show Black Mirror and as Martin Luther King Jr in the HBO drama All the Way.

Mackie has proven his talent repeatedly, and he also boasts lovable chemistry with co-star Sebastian Stan.

However, Mackie has also been critical of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past. He spoke out on the company’s hiring policies in an interview with Variety, saying:

“When The Falcon and The Winter Soldier comes out, I’m the lead. When Snowpiercer comes out, you’re the lead. We have the power and the ability to ask those questions.”

“It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.”

“But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, you have a Black costume designer, you have a Black stunt choreographer […] And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”

“Hire the best person for the job. Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men.”

anthony mackie star wars
Credit: The Late Late Show With James Corden

However, Mackie later clarified his comments and backtracked to some extent:

“I’ll say this: I don’t think what’s happening is a racism problem. I think it’s an unawareness problem. With Marvel, I really think with most companies, they feel like they’re doing what they should be doing. In no way, shape, or form, is it enough.”

“My big thing is, put your money where your mouth is. You can’t cast a Black dude as one of your main superheroes and not expect him to have that conversation. It’s just in my DNA to have that conversation [.[…] It’s a huge opportunity for me to be part of the Marvel universe, so it’s my job to make sure the Marvel universe is as good as it can be.”

Related: ‘Captain Marvel 2’ to Introduce New Villain – But WHO?

Sam Wilson’s missions as Falcon

What was Sam Wilson’s first mission as the Falcon?

anthony mackie as Sam Wilson
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson has been on his fair share of missions within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Falcon first joined Captain America, Nick Fury, and Black Widow to take down HYDRA after it was revealed to have infiltrated SHIELD from the inside. As Steve clashes with his old friend Bucky Barnes — now going by the Winter Soldier — Sam provides air support during the Battle at the Triskelion.

He then comes face to face with Brock Rumlow, otherwise known as Crossbones. Sam engages in a brutal fist-fight with the HYDRA-loving soldier but is ultimately bested by him. However, as a Helicarrier hurtles towards the building, Sam sprints for his life as an overconfident Rumlow is crushed by the falling building’s debris.

Sam next appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron in a pre-credits scene. He doesn’t actually take part in the mission to take down Ultron, and his appearance is more a signifier of his new status as an Avenger. Furthermore, he pops up in Ant-Man, defending the New Avengers facility from Scott Lang. Though, this can’t really be classified as a mission as it wasn’t exactly expected!

Sam’s next big appearance comes in Captain America: Civil War, where he sides with Steve Rogers. The film concludes with him being released from The Raft by Captain America.

Sam Wilson Steve Rogers Natasha Romanoff
Credit: Marvel Studios

After his escape, Sam teams up with Steve and Natasha Romanoff once more as the team takes a mission from Nick Fury to track terrorist cells in Syria using alien weaponry. The three then live on the run for several years, doing good where they can, but unwelcome by the US Government.

However, Sam’s biggest mission was yet to come. He returns alongside a bearded Captain America and blonde Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War as the pair save Vision and Scarlet Witch from Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glade (two agents of Thanos).

He then takes part in the Battle of Wakanda alongside half of the Avengers. (The other half were on Titan fighting Thanos alongside most of the Guardians of the Galaxy). The battle is tough, but the tide changes when Thor arrives with Groot and Rocket Raccoon. However, the sudden appearance of Thanos himself shakes the team, particularly after he murders Vision to obtain the mind stone.

Sam tries in vain to stop him, but with the power of the infinity gauntlet, the Mad Titan rips through him like paper. Then, in a moment that silenced every movie theatre, he snaps his fingers and wipes out half of all life in the universe. Unfortunately, Sam Wilson is one of the victims of the “blip” and he vanishes in front of War Machine.

However, as well all know, this isn’t the end. After the Incredible Hulk snaps his big green fingers during Avengers: Endgame, Sam triumphantly returns to aid the Avengers in the final battle against Thanos. In fact, it is Sam who signifies that they’ve all returned, as he contacts Steve and repeats his iconic line back to him: ‘on your left’.

Doctor Strange then opens up many portals as the “snapped” Avengers all return in one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history.

Avengers portals scene
Credit: Marvel Studios

What side does Sam Wilson fight on in Captain America: Civil War?

Sam Wilson Civil War
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson sides with his long-time friend Steve Rogers. He plays a pivotal role in the opening, where the Avengers once again clash with Crossbones in Nigeria. This is also where we’re formally introduced to the MCU version of Redwing, a Falcon drone.

Later, Sam agrees to help Steve locate Bucky Barnes and he even attends Peggy Carter’s funeral to support his friend. Steve and Sam locate Bucky, who now has more of his former personality once more. However, this comes crashing down when Zemo once again brainwashes him using his Winter Soldier programming. This, along with the controversial introduction of the Sokovia accords to curtail superheroes acting without Government guidance, creates a civil war within the Avengers.

One side is led by Captain America, while the other follows Iron Man. Sam sides with Cap alongside other heroes like Hawkeye, Wanda Maximoff, and Ant-Man. The battle is long and fierce and both Sam and Bucky end up going toe-to-toe with a new face: Spider-Man. However, they realize that it’s a losing battle and Steve and Bucky make their escape on a Quinnjet.

Things take a tragic turn when Vision fires a beam at Sam, who quickly dodges it. The attack then strikes War Machine / James Rhodes who hurtles towards the ground in a suit without power. Rhodey is left unconscious and paralyzed from the waist down. When mournful Sam apologies, Iron Man blasts him away.

He’s then imprisoned with all of “team Cap” at the Raft prison, where he verbally spars with Tony Stark. If you want to see a slightly less tense version of these events, check out these Civil War bloopers!

Sam Wilson in Captain America Civil War
Credit: Marvel Studios

What military background does Sam Wilson possess?

steve rogers giving sam wilson captain america's shield
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson reminds us why we love superheroes. This amazing character has no powers to speak of, but he gets into the battle anyway. He shares this distinction with fellow Avengers Hawkeye, Black Widow, and (to a lesser extent), Iron Man.

However, what the Falcon possesses is a super-high-tech set of wings and a ton of military training. As previously mentioned, Sam is a US veteran as he served in the Air Force before the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Wilson is thought to have gone on many missions and he even served in Afghanistan. He is notable for working with a “Wingman” named Riley who was sadly killed in front of Sam’s eyes while on duty. As he tells Steve when he asks him if he’s lost, someone:

“My wingman, Riley. Flying a night mission, standard PJ rescue op. Nothing we hadn’t done a thousand times before. ‘Til an RPG knocked Riley’s dumb ass out of the sky. Nothing I could do. Like I was up there just to watch.”

After the death of Riley, Sam retires from active duty. However, he stays involved with the military and works with fellow veterans suffering from PTSD.

The Falcon
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Sam Wilson’s powers and abilities

What powers does the Falcon have?

falcon anthony mackie
Credit: Marvel Studios

As mentioned, the future Captain America has no powers to speak of. However, his EXO 7 Falcon grants him several abilities in combat, similar to the Iron Man suits used by Tony Stark and James Rhodes.

The most obvious ability the Falcon has is flight. He is incredibly agile in the air and provides essential air support for the Avengers alongside other airborne teammates such as Vision and Iron Man. Furthermore, the suit allows Sam to leverage his body weight to deliver powerful attacks that can knock down superpowered foes with ease.

Additionally, the EXO 7’s combat goggles offer Sam greater vision and the ability to see things from a great distance. All of these “powers” make Sam a phenomenal scout and an excellent addition to the Avengers.

However, Sam’s abilities don’t end there. His military background also gives him a plethora of useful skills such as being a master tactician and pilot. The latter skill will undoubtedly be essential when Wilson takes on the Captain America mantle, as he’ll become the Avengers leader.

Finally, as with most members of the team, Sam Wilson is a skilled warrior. He’s both a fantastic hand-to-hand combatant and an expert in firearms, both of which make him a valuable addition to any Avengers lineup. These skills will undoubtedly make a big difference to his and Bucky Barnes‘ chances of beating Zemo in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Guide to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

How do Sam Wilson’s powers in the MCU differ from the Falcon’s powers in the comic books?

Falcon Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Studios

Sam Wilson’s powers and abilities in the comics are a little different from what we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is mainly due to his backstory being so different, as in the comic book Falcon was trained by Captain America, not the US military. As such, he’s been trained in several different forms of martial arts including karate and judo. This time has also seen him trained to be at peak human strength.

Additionally, his wings are slightly different in the Marvel comics. While in the MCU they are a piece of military equipment, in the comics they are supplied by Black Panther. Additionally, they are eventually fully upgraded by Tony Stark to be completely made of vibranium, the near-unbreakable metal found in Wakanda. Otherwise, the wings are much like the EXO 7 Falcon wings, albeit with a bit more of a cartoonish design.

However, the biggest difference to the movies is undoubtedly comic Sam’s power to speak to birds telepathically. He was granted this ability after he was exposed to the cosmic cube by Captain America‘s arch-nemesis, The Red Skull. He mainly uses this to command his Falcon companion Redwing (replaced by the drone in the MCU adaptations). However, Sam has been shown to be able to control all kinds of birds. Needless to say, this ability has never appeared in the MCU and likely never will, as this is essentially a Star Wars-style force power.

Yet it is worth noting that rumors have it that Sam may end up being more superpowered in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, should the Captain America super serum return. However, we don’t want to see Sam turning into another version of Abomination!

Falcon and the winter soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

What will Sam Wilson do with Captain America‘s shield?

new falcon suit
Credit: Art Station – Aiko Aiham

Sam Wilson has already been spotted wielding Captain America‘s iconic shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer. As a quick reminder, the hero was given the shield by an old Steve Rogers who had gone back in time to spend his life with Peggy Carter.

Sam is now set to become the new Captain America, which is incredibly exciting for fans of the series. It’s worth noting that this change is straight out of the comics, as Falcon has been Captain America for quite a few years on the page.

However, it also reflects a push for more Marvel diversity, something that actor Anthony Mackie is clearly passionate about. Having a Black Captain America is a fantastic step for the MCU and reflects a real attempt to foreground more heroes of color.

As for what Sam will do with Cap’s shield? We’d be surprised if he’s using it straight away, as the trailers seem to suggest that he will have to struggle against John Walker for the mantle before ultimately becoming the new Cap. It’s probably more likely that we’ll see scenes of both he and Bucky Barnes training with the shield before he ends up donning a new costume and using it in the finale.

We love Sam Wilson regardless of what mantle he’s using. The Falcon has become a beloved side-character across many classic Marvel movies. We’re thrilled that he’s now stepping into the limelight and leading his own Disney+ series as the] main character.

Falcon Captain America
Credit: Marvel Comics

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