The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Explained: Episode 1 Easter Eggs

Dept. of Easter Eggs and Wild Speculations


If you’re looking for our spoiler-free review of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, click here. If you’ve seen the first episode and have questions that need answering, read on!

Unlike WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier isn’t a puzzle box waiting to be solved. This series is, for lack of a better description, a lot more straightforward. It is one part spy thriller, one part action adventure, and one part buddy cop comedy. Unlike WandaVision, it also isn’t littered with Easter Eggs and comic book callbacks. Don’t get us wrong, they are there, just not in every single frame.

In fact, this series, which picks up months after the events of Avengers: Endgame feels like it’s charting its own narrative course by building new elements that are unique to the MCU.

So let’s get into what all of that is…

Season 1 | Episode 1: “New World Order”50 minutes
Director | Kari SkoglandWriter | Malcolm Spellman
Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes realize that their futures are anything but normal.

Who Are the L.A.F. and Are They in the Comics?

  1. It seems that there is a new shadowy cabal in town and they call themselves the L.A.F. In the opening moments of this first episode, Sam is sent on a mission by the U.S. Air Force to prevent the kidnapping of one of their men by agents of the L.A.F., one of whom happens to be Batroc the Leaper, who we last saw facing off with Steve Rogers at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. In the comics, Batroc has been something of a gun for hire, working for everyone from Hydra, to Baron Strucker, to Wilson Fisk. So it should come as little surprise that he’s teamed up with yet another criminal organization here.
  1. Now, We’ve read a LOT of Captain America comics and the criminal/terrorist organization referred to in this series, the L.A.F., is unique to the MCU.

Who or What Are the Flag Smashers?

  1. In this series, the Flag Smashers are a terrorist movement that believes the world was better off after “the snap.” They want to disrupt the status quo by creating a world without borders. Their name, and motivations, are directly inspired from the comics.
  1. Flag Smasher was a Cap bad guy who first appeared in Captain America #312 by writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Paul Neary. The original Flag Smasher the alter ego of Swiss born terrorist Karl Morgenthau, who blamed the concept of nationalism for the death of his father, who was killed in a riot at a Latverian embassy in Switzerland.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. A staunch “anti-patriot,” Flag-Smasher would found an organization called U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind) whose sole purpose was to destroy the very concept of nationality and government, which Flag-Smasher believed to be the root of violent supremacy movements.

Is Captain America Dead?

  1. We don’t think so. But we’re not the only ones wondering what happened to Captain America. Even Sam’s military handler has his fair share of conspiracy theories as to where Steve Rogers might be. Now, while we don’t believe that he’s hanging out on a secret base on the moon, we definitely think that the mystery of Cap’s whereabouts will play a role throughout this series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. Remember that we don’t know what happens to Steve Rogers at the end of Avengers: Endgame. That movie left things pretty open ended. After Steve gives Sam the shield and shakes his hand, we get a brief flashback to his life with Peggy, before the movie ends. We know that Steve is now an old man. We know that he had a happy life with Peggy. We know that he’s retired. But where did he go in the months between the end of that movie and the start of this series?

Was Nakajima’s Son Really in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time?

  1. If there’s one thing we know about The Winter Soldier, it’s that he doesn’t kill indiscriminately. He’s an assassin. He gets sent on missions with very clear objectives. He doesn’t just mindless kill for the sake of it. So what was going on in that flashback sequence? Was he just eliminating an eye witness to the crime? Or is there more to that story?

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Names in Bucky’s Book of Atonement

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. From what we can make out, they are: A. Rostov, P. W. Hauser, F. Gannod, I. Tahlazar, H. Zemo, H. Henrikson, N. Sari, T. Osman, L. Kaminski, M. Kaminski, C. Kusnetson, L. Atwood, R. Nakajima, C. Holbein.
  1. H. Zemo and R. Nakajima we know. But who are the other names on the list?
  1. A. Rostov could be a reference to Colonel Andre Rostov, better known as the Red Barbarian in the comics. He first appeared in Tales of Suspense #42.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. P.W. Hauser is likely a reference to Wilhelm Hauser, a member of Hitler’s SS Elite Corps who faced off with the Howling Commandos. He first appeared in Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos #36.
  1. L. Kaminski could be a reference to the Marvel writer and editor Len Kaminski.
  1. We couldn’t find any comic book references for F. Gannod, I. Tahlazar, H. Henrikson, N. Sari, T. Osman, M. Kaminski, C. Kusnetson, L. Atwood, or C. Holbein.

Who Is John Walker and Why Is He the New Captain America?

  1. At the end of the episode, we are introduced to the government’s “new” Captain America. While he hasn’t officially been introduced in this episode, we know from Disney marketing that it is indeed John Walker under that mask. We don’t yet know why he was choses to take on the mantle of Captain America, but the one thing that’s clear is that Sam got screwed over by the Department of Defense.
  1. In comic book canon, John Walker (who first appeared in Captain America #323 as Super Patriot) was “appointed” Captain America when Steve Rogers abandons his costume and identity which he felt was no longer a symbol of American Exceptionalism and had instead been reduced to nothing more than a political tool. In their debates on who should be the next Captain America – both Nick Fury and Sam Wilson were frontrunners – the Commission on Superhuman Activities went with John Walker because they felt Fury was too old and that the United States wasn’t ready for a Black Captain America. (Nick Fury was still white in the comics at this time.)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. This might go some way to explaining why Walker was chosen to wield the shield in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It could open quite a few narrative doors with regards to addressing issues of race and just who qualifies to be an American symbol.
  1. Walker’s Captain America has been known to be a far more brutal take on the character, often using lethal force when dealing with his opponents.
  1. Following his stint as Captain America, Walker then goes on to become the U.S. Agent.

Other Easter Eggs and Wild Speculations

  1. In the opening few moments of the episode, we see that Sam still keeps the shield in that well worn leather bag that Steve gives him at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  1. We learn from Sam’s speech at the Smithsonian that all of this takes place a few months after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
  1. Did you know what Don Cheadle was in this? We didn’t.
  1. If you look carefully at the Smithsonian Exhibition, you can see that it doesn’t just cover the history of Captain America, but also the history of “almost” everything that happened in the MCU.
  1. Look kids, it’s the cover of Captain America #1.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

I had a little calm in Wakanda. And other than that I just went from one fight to another for 90 years.

  1. We learn that Bucky is 106. Avengers: Endgame takes place in 2023. So, depending on how many months have passed between the end of that movie and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky was born in either 1917 or 1918. 
  1. Bucky’s three steps towards redemption are: 1) He can’t do anything illegal, 2) He can’t hurt anyone, and 3) He has to confront those whom he’s wronged and proclaim: “I am no longer the Winter Soldier, I am James ‘Bucky’ Barnes, and you’re part of my efforts to make amends.”

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