[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2.]
Marvel Studios’ second Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier kicked into high gear in Episode 2, following a debut episode that was largely checking in on the two titular characters as they wrestle with PTSD and other fallout from the events of Avengers: Endgame. The end of the first episode introduced a new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) – much to Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky’s (Sebastian Stan) chagrin – and Episode 2 further delved into this Marvel Comics character by introducing one of his longtime companions, Lemar Hoskins.
Clé Bennett plays Lemar Hoskins in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the character has a deep and rich comics backstory as Hoskins and his alter ego Battlestar. That backstory and the superhero moniker were both teased in Episode 2, and viewers of the show would be forgiven for being a bit confused as to how, exactly, this connects to the events of the Disney+ series. So who is Battlestar and what does he do? Let’s dig in.
Who Is Battlestar/Lemar Hoskins in the Comics?
Lemar Hoskins first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1986, but at the time he was a pretty anonymous character. Eventually, however, he becomes a character of note when he and his Army pals – including John Walker – are given superhuman strength by Dr. Karl Malus, a mad scientist working for someone called the “Power Broker.” In the comics, Lemar and his friends become known as the BUCKies – Bold Urban Commandos – and are involved in some shady dealings with Walker when Walker is known as Super-Patriot. Indeed, Hoskins accompanies Walker when Walker is selected to become the new Captain America after Steve Rogers steps down, at which point Lemar assumes the name “Bucky” just like Bucky Barnes. That is, until another Black man points out to him that “Bucky” is a demeaning name, and he switches to Battlestar.
So the long and short of it is Lemar Hoskins is quite literally the Bucky to John Walker’s Captain America. As Battlestar, Hoskins is a skilled fighter with superhuman strength and works largely as a force for good, teaming up with characters like Falcon in the comics.
Who Is Battlestar in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe rarely adapts the Marvel Comics 100% faithfully, and indeed the Lemar Hoskins in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is slightly different with some key similarities. For one, he’s still John Walker’s right-hand man, and he appears to be quite strong. He’s also clearly the Bucky to Walker’s Cap, a dichotomy that’s mirrored in Bucky and Sam’s relationship in contrast to Walker and Hoskins.
In Episode 2, we see that Walker and Hoskins are working for the U.S. Government to track down the Flag-Smashers – the same group Bucky and Sam are hunting. But whereas Walker and Hoskins are tethered by rules of engagement and U.S. conduct codes, Sam and Bucky operate in the shadows, and are keen on continuing their mission separate from Captain America and Battlestar.
But beyond the technical reasons, it’s clear Sam and Bucky have some disdain for Walker’s acceptance of the Captain America mantle, not only because it was given to Sam first, but because he’s a stranger, someone wholly unaware of the character that made Steve Rogers Captain America.
There are some hints here and there in Episode 2 that maybe something more sinister is going on with Battlestar and Captain America, but perhaps not. Perhaps they are just trying to do the job they’ve been tasked with. Even if that’s not the case, Battlestar is traditionally a good guy in the comics, so he may end up being an ally to Sam and Bucky as the season progresses.
How Does Battlestar Fit Into the MCU?
It’s possible that Battlestar as a character is just a supporting role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but there were some hints in Episode 2 of the series that Battlestar and John Walker could have some secrets they’re hiding. In the comics, Battlestar is given his powers by the Power Broker, a villainous character who is also mentioned by name in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. When the Flag-Smashers group are loading up their medicine (super soldier serum?) on a plane, they’re alerted that “the Power Broker’s men” have found them, and they flee.
It’s possible the story being set up here is that the Flag-Smashers are not actually the bad guys, but instead it’s the Power Broker who is the main villain. In that case, did the Power Broker give Battlestar and John Walker their powers? If so, are they actually antagonists? We’ll have to wait to find out, but it’s an intriguing prospect rooted in the comics.
For now, the Walker/Hoskins dynamic is a fascinating contrast to Falcon/Bucky. The series is not shying away from the racial ramifications of the decision to hand the Captain America mantle to a white man even though Steve passed it on to Sam, and it’ll be interesting to see how that dynamic unfolds as the series progresses.
Things just got interesting.
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