Marvel Studios The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has finally premiered and while the episode itself introduced some pretty great new characters to the MCU. Danny Ramirez’s Joaquin Torres seems set to be Sam’s man-in-the-chair throughout the series and we met the group that appears to be the series’ main antagonists, the Flag-Smashers, comprised of Erin Kellyman’s Karli Morgenthau, Desmond Chiam’s Dovich, Indya Bussey’s Dee Dee and Dani Deette’s Gigi. We also got a couple of cameos from returning characters with Batroc and Rhodey showing up to remind us just how vast this connected universe has become over the last 13 years. And on any other day, message boards and social media would be abuzz with theories about how any or all of those characters are going to play into the series; however, in this case, it’s a couple of characters referenced in the episode’s end credits (not even in the typical Marvel Studios mid-credits/post-credits reveals!) that deserve the attention.
Obviously, there are spoilers below so if you haven’t see the episode yet, please proceed at your own risk.
During the end credits to episode one, we are treated to references to 2 characters who will certainly have a MAJOR impact on the series: Isaiah Bradley and the mysterious Power Broker. First at 43:31, we see a shot of actor Carl Lumbly as part of a case file brought up from a search log. That shot proceeds a frame at 43:54 that includes the words “POWERBROKER WATCHING” alongside a couple of vials of what is most definitely Super Soldier serum (if the blue color didn’t give it away, you can put it together with the fact that Chiam’s Dovich is clearly juiced up). While it’s surprising that Marvel Studios reveals these characters, who do not appear within the run time of the episode, it’s also an incredibly tantalizing tease of what’s to come.
Late last January, we collected some evidence that suggested that we might just see Isaiah Bradley in this series. Our suspicions were furthered when Lumbly was announced as part of the cast just about one month later. Even at 69 years old, Lumbly is still a physically imposing man who fits the bill as Bradley. Given how the series will explore what it would mean for a Black man to take on the mantle of Captain America in modern times, it always made a ton of sense for Marvel Studios to find a way to work Bradley, a Black man who took on the mantle in the past, to meet up with Sam while he struggles to make the choice. The search log for Lumbly’s character names him “subject #02656” and mentions experimentation. Given everything we know about the series, this is the last bit of evidence we need to know that Bradley will appear in the series. And as we mentioned here, Isaiah Bradley showing up in the series opens the door for his grandson, Eli Bradley, a member of the Young Avengers, to enter the MCU as well. Just a couple of months ago we connected some more imaginary dots that lead us to believe actor Elijah Richardson had been cast as Eli Bradley, and right now the evidence is definitely all pointing to that coming to fruition as well.
The inclusion of the Power Broker (and the tease that this character is the one who is juicing up the Flag-Smashers) is equally exciting. Back in August, we explored how the Power Broker would fit really well into The Falcon and The Winter Soldier given both the themes surrounding Steve’s legacy, the Super Soldier serum and the fact that the mid-1980’s Captain America run by Marvel Comics legend Mark Gruenwald was a major source of inspiration for the show and that many of the characters from that run, including John Walker, were making their MCU debuts here. This end credits tease confirms the impending arrival of the Power Broker in the series while still shrouding the identity of the character in mystery (I will tell you that the correct identity of the Power Broker is in the article linked above, however).
For a studio that prides itself on its ability to keep secrets, Marvel Studios has let the proverbial cats out of their bags here with these two teases. Of course there’s still the beauty of watching it play out and the mystery around who the Power Broker is and why he or she is doing what he or she is doing for us all to enjoy and watch unfold over the next 5 episodes.