Is U.S. Agent a bad guy in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

*Spoiler Alert!*

It’s quite an odd and unsettling feeling to know that Steve Rogers won’t be representing Captain America anymore. After all, the iconic character brings all the good feels to the foreground as a righteous, compassionate, and kind of debonair Marvel Superhero. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made its Disney+ debut with all the gusto and fanfare that one would expect from a Marvel Show, except this time we can be certain that Steve Rogers won’t be returning as Captain America. Instead, we see the focus shift to two peripheral characters who have now gained essential status thanks to their own show.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is thrills, chills, and pure Marvel goodness. If the first episode is anything to go by, then the show is closer to what we have come to see and typically expect from the MCU, with tons of exciting action and major drama. Unlike WandaVision that we can now safely confirm as the exception and not the norm, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s narrative has begun to give clear indications right from the very first episode.

Before we speculate about the U.S Agent and whether he is a bad guy in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, let’s first understand the background of this particular character and how he fits into the picture both from a comic as well as MCU perspective.

Who is the U.S Agent in the comics?

The U.S Agent is the name that Sam Walker chooses as his Superhero name in the Marvel comic universe. Things are not as simple when it comes to this character. Unlike Steve Rogers, John Walker had been dabbling on the dark side before choosing to come over to the good side.

To build context, in the comics, the U.S Agent was initially introduced in the Captain America #323 issue all the way back in 1986 as the villain SuperPatriot. He was similar to Captain America except that he embodied his patriotism in a very negative way and he absolutely detested everything Captain America stood for.

SuperPatriot went as far as to call him outdated and even picked fights with him to prove himself the better patriot. He started a brawl during a rally in Central Park with three Buckies (Captain America’s ardent supporters) among other things as part of his villain agenda.

But things took a turn in the positive direction when he managed to take down Warhead in Washington D.C. In classic irony,  after Captain America put down his shield and semi-retire (he chose to report to the Commission on Superhuman Activities now), the U.S Government approached John Walker to become Steve Rogers’s replacement. From then on, he proceeded to become the next Captain America before eventually embracing the U.S Agent name.

Who is the U.S Agent in MCU?

Image Courtesy: Marvel Entertainment

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the first time that we are seeing even a mention of the U.S Agent in the MCU. In the Disney+ show, John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell) is introduced as a character who will replace Steve Rogers to become the new Captain America. He hasn’t even been christened as U.S Agent in the show yet, however, it is very much a possibility, should we speculate based on what we have read and seen in the comics.

The U.S Agent in Episode 1 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

As of now, there has been no background provided on who the U.S Agent/ New Captain America is or if the new Captain America is even bound to become the U.S Agent in the future. The show is still too fresh for us to do anything but speculate.

However, here’s what we do know about the U.S Agent from Episode 1. John Walker is definitely the pick of the U.S Government to succeed Steve Rogers as the symbolic hero of America. Consequently, he has also inherited the Captain’s shield that was supposed to belong to Sam Wilson who was chosen by Steve Rogers to succeed as Captain America.

One thing is for sure, Marvel has been super hush-hush about the U.S Agent’s background and character reveal. Honestly, we only see a sliver of him in the very last scene before the credits take over.

Is U.S Agent a bad guy in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier?

Despite the impression created both by the comics and the initial episodes, the U.S Agent is not a bad guy in the show. According to Malcolm Spellman, the head writer of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, there has been an alteration in the character on the show compared to what he was in the comics.

The character in the comics was brash and volatile, not an ideal candidate for the role of the Cap in both the comics and the show. From what we’ve seen, Spellman tempered the character of the U.S Agent by giving him an element of loss. After his friend Lemar Hoskin dies, the U.S Agent goes through a kind of vengeful phase before reconciling with his loss. When John saves the jeep full of people, Marvel humanizes his character a bit, while simultaneously establishing him as a superhero who is separate from Captain America.

The U.S Agent and White Vision: A new league of duplicate heroes?

A rather interesting pattern that one will notice is the emergence of duplicate heroes. While this is not something new, as anyone who is an avid fan of the comics will notice, the fact that we’re seeing the emergence of these heroes is indicative of more than just the end of a phase. In the comics, the duplicates existed almost in tandem with their original renditions, often having some form of clash or another.

But it’s different in the shows from what we’ve seen so far. For one thing, Red Vision is more or less gone and so is the original Captain America.

The duplicates are already being thrust into kind of successor roles and despite all the villainy we expect from them, it’s very clear that they are having personal struggles and are not inherently bad or evil. The blip has left a big void that needs to be filled and these duplicate heroes will play an important role in fixing the void.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has certainly been an interesting journey. It has stayed truer to the comics than most other MCU content but with just enough changes to bring us some fresh and solid content. There is no doubt that we will miss the sincere and earnest Steve Roger rendition of Captain America now that he has moved on, but it is undeniable that Sam Wilson is more in tune with the beat of the times. Indeed, the second Marvel show of 2021 has been an amazing game-changer and we look forward to what Marvel brings us next.