If you’ve been keeping up to date with Marvel’s latest trailer, that was revealed during the Superbowl, you’ll know that The Falcon and Winter Soldier will be one of the three titled releases coming to Disney+. In particular, there was a shot of what initially appears to be Captain America. Upon closer inspection however, you’ll notice that his uniform…isn’t quite right.
You’ll see that the logo is a modified version of Captain America’s star to include an ‘A’ motif. This, my friends, is US Agent.
Who is US Agent? Well, he was first Super Patriot
Created in the pages of Captain America in 1986 by Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary, John Walker was inspired to join the military after his brother’s death in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately for Walker, he never had the chance to see combat and according to his word, “didn’t feel like a hero”. Walker then found out about and approached someone who was basically a mad scientist, Power Broker. The Power Broker program gave him super-strength. Strength, which by the way, actually out-classes Captain America’s. Afterward, he began his superhero career as the corporate-sponsored Super-Patriot.
As Super Patriot, he had set out to replace Captain America, claiming that his ideals are superior to the outdated mindset Steve Rogers carries. Super Patriot stages a speech to publicly criticize Captain America and had staged “Captain America extremists” attack s against himself. Captain America confronts and ultimately ends up in combat with Super Patriot, but neither man went down. It was here that Captain America doubts his capabilities when compared to Super Patriot’s superior strength and stamina.
Themes of Racial Tension
When Steve Rogers decided to retire as Captain America, the United States government began looking for a replacement. Super-Patriot at this point had recently taken out a terrorist who had threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb (and by taken out, we mean he actually killed the guy).
To note, Super Patriot was not the only candidate. The government had also considered Nick Fury and Falcon. However, Nick Fury was too old and too much of a lone wolf, while Falcon was looked over because the government thought that the world was not ready for a black Captain America.
Walker was subsequently given Captain America’s costume and shield, along with a “Bucky” of his own, Lemar Hoskins. Lemar was an African-American who underwent the Power Broker program as well. However, due to the fact that American slaveholders often referred to male slaves as “bucks”, being the fifth Bucky can be seen as demeaning. Thus, he changed his name to Battlestar.
Stealing the Mantle: A More Vicious Captain
Walker actually replaced Captain America briefly. Inspired by his new costume, Walker tried to emulate Captain America’s ideals. He even trained with Taskmaster to learn how to properly use Captain America’s vibranium shield. Ultimately, Walker fails to deliver because of his vicious nature and poor emotional control. He consistently brutalizes his enemies and ends up killing them. After a disastrous campaign against The Red Skull, the shield was taken from him and returned to Steve Rogers.
Finally, US Agent
This wasn’t the end of Walker’s story. He remerged sometime later, under the codename “U.S. Agent”. As U.S. Agent, Walker became a government-appointed member of the West Coast Avengers, much to the chagrin of their leader, Hawkeye, who had no choice but to tolerate Walker’s arrogant and unpleasant demeanor. Though U.S. Agent was disliked by many of his teammates, he proved to be a capable member of the team who aided them in many of their adventures.
Notably, his new uniform shown in this piece of concept art is not black and red, which might be too villainous of a color. Instead, it uses Captain America’s red, white and blue, as well as the star motif. I think this is a good change, and a bit of a reversal from the comic book’s version. We might see a “Villainous Hero” dressed in red, white and blue, as opposed to the “Heroic Misguided Villain” we see known as Super Patriot.
Taskmaster is also the main villain in Black Widow’s upcoming movie, if the trailer is anything to go of. In the teasers and trailers so far, we’ve seen him wield a bow using the same stance as Hawkeye and copied Black Widow’s kip up and posture. He even does the exact same move that Captain America did in Winter Soldier, where he kicks his shield up and catches it with his arm. It would be fascinating to see if Taskmaster makes an appearance in Falcon and Winter Soldier.
Another thing to note is that Battlestar is rumored to play a role in Falcon and Winter Soldier. If he does, racial issues, public opinion and other sensitive themes are all going to be on the table for discussion. In fact, this makes me all the more excited to see what Falcon and Winter Soldier is going to bring!