The following article will include spoilers for the latest episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Only continue at your own risk if you haven’t seen it yet.
Marvel Studios has made an essential move with the latest episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier. At one point, it was going to be the first Disney+ show based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe to release. As fate wanted it, WandaVision took over that position and gave us a very experimental series exploring grief through unconventional ways. It opened up the question of what Sam and Bucky’s story might add to expand the ever-expanding world. The latest episode may have set a new potential within the universe that could echo throughout other shows and films. We were introduced to the first legacy character to go off the deep end.
The MCU is no stranger to the concept of legacy characters. Hank Pym passed on the mantle of Ant-Man to Scott Lang to ensure his research wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Lang was a thief, but he was a good person at heart. The entire point of Spider-Man: Far From Home was for Spider-Man to escape the legacy that the world was trying to force upon him. In a way, he was his protégé. It made sense that he could take on the mantle, but he was Spider-Man, not Iron Man. Avengers: Endgame was the first official passing of a torch when Steve gave Sam his shield.
Yet, just like Peter, Sam didn’t want the legacy. His unwillingness led to the mantle landing in the hands of John Walker. In reality, it landed in the hands of the government. It was a new legacy getting continued without any involvement of the old. John Walker didn’t know or interact with Steve. There is a reason he wanted Sam to join his side. He’s not carrying the legacy of the person. In his hands is only the symbol. They don’t have much say in their carrier. They can easily become a means to an end. Yet, they also have weight. Without the guidance of those that came before, it can easily pull one down. It was very evident that the title of Captain America did that.
The echoes of this misdeed will besmirch the shield and what it stands for. Yet, it also sets a precedent that the heroes’ iconic titles aren’t safe. Kate Bishop’s upcoming role in Hawkeye does not exclude the possibility of her facing some demons along the way. It won’t be as easy as Scott stealing the suit and getting welcomed to take on the role long-term. It’ll be a harrowing journey for some. It also opens up the possibility that not every legacy character will carry on the mantle in a positive light. We’ve been theorizing that Black Widow would see Florence Pugh‘s Yelena Belova take on Natasha’s title. Yet, it doesn’t mean she will become an Avenger. She may have a darker road ahead of her than we might expect at first. Her paths might even cross with this newly formed agent of the United States.