The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuted on Disney Plus last week, and its premiere episode ended on a moment that made Marvel fans furious. After Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson decided that he didn’t feel up to taking on the mantle of Captain America, he was shocked to discover that the government had chosen their own person for the job. The newcomer went unnamed in the episode itself, but fans know it’s John Walker AKA U.S. Agent.
As you’d expect, Walker immediately became Public Enemy No. 1 amongst Marvel fans online, as folks were not ready to accept this pretender as the next Sentinel of Liberty. Actor Wyatt Russell seems to have known what he was getting himself into with the role, though, and he revealed while speaking to USA Today that he’s fully aware his character is going to receive a lot of hate for daring to replace Steve Rogers.
“People are probably going to hate it, and some people are going to love it,” Russell said. “[Movies and TV shows] are there to make people feel emotions, and I’m hoping that that’s what this show can do for people. Hopefully, they don’t hate me too much,” he adds. But “it would be an honor, I guess, to be disliked in the Marvel universe.”
An honor it may be, but Russell also attempted to defend his part against the haters, going on to explain what makes Walker a fascinating person to have wearing the stars and stripes as he comes from a very different type of background and ethical standpoint from Chris Evans’ renowned boy scout.
“I don’t think there’s really been many MCU characters who’ve had quite the dilemma he’s had in terms of trying to fit into this sort of moralistic superhero world,” Russell says of Walker. “He’s been thrust into this role as Captain America and he’s going to do it his way, and he wants to do it right. But his way is a very specific way that he has learned through being basically a trained human hunter. I mean, that’s what Marines are. They’re not Steve Rogers, they’re not the same. They’re not like Boy Scouts anymore. They’re a little bit more gnarly.”
It’ll be interesting to see if we get to know Walker a little better in episode 2, though we’re also expecting a couple of other major players to be factored into the plot. So far, we’ve yet to see main villain Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) and Emily VamCamp’s Sharon Carter, two characters who haven’t featured in the MCU since Captain America: Civil War. The premiere also kept Sam and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) apart, so they’ll have to join forces in this week’s episode.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – which only has six outings in contrast to WandaVision‘s nine – continues this Friday, March 26th on Disney Plus.