Five episodes in and Marvels’ hit new miniseries The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has finally given us a mid-credits scene! So let’s dive in and explore what led to the scene and what it means for the finale.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier sees the return of Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes as the two team up on a global adventure. Amongst other things, one of their biggest problems at this point in the game is Wyatt Russell’s John Walker, a soldier turned into the U.S. government’s own personal replacement Captain America. What initially began as a pretentious, shield-wielding annoyance to Bucky and Sam soon turned into a full-blown major issue when Walker obtained the last remaining vial of Dr. Nagel’s Super Soldier serum and murdered one of the Flag Smashers in the final moments of episode 4, “The Whole World Is Watching.”
In addition to the physical enhancements granted by the Super Soldier serum, it also magnifies other parts of a person. For example, Steve Rogers was quite literally the definition of what it means to be a good man, even before he underwent his transformation. Thus, upon becoming Captain America, that part of him shined brightly, forever guiding his decisions as a hero. But as for Walker? In episode 2, “The Star-Spangled Man,” his partner Hoskins told him, “You can’t just punch your way out of problems anymore, you know?” So not only is this man arrogant at his core, but he also has a tendency to be aggressive, which is something that carries over from his Marvel Comics counterpart.
If there was any question as to just how unhinged Walker has become now that his rage has been amplified alongside his strength, his wild fight with Sam and Bucky in the opening scene of episode 5, “Truth,” made it clear. At one point, when he had Bucky pinned, he began to yell in a crazed tone, “Why are you making me do this?” If he had gotten his way in the industrial building they found him in, he likely would have further defaced the shield that day and painted it in Sam and Bucky’s blood as well. However, ever an efficient team, Sam and Bucky managed to take control and reclaimed the shield.
If there was any chance Walker was going to back down after he was stripped of the title of Captain America and discharged, that likely flew out the window when he was paid a visit by a surprise character — Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Despite the fact that he was verbally chewed out by his superiors just moments before, Valentina made sure to assure him that she supports his decision to take the serum and to avenge Battlestar’s death. And as for the shield? It doesn’t belong to the government, it’s a legal grey area.
So what happened in the mid-credits scene?
As the series’ animated portion of its credits came to a close, we were shown a brief scene of Walker hard at work hammering, welding, and painting away in a garage. Just before the scene fades to black, we see a dissembled version of Captain America’s shield. If John Walker can’t have Steve Rogers’ shield, he’s going to make his own now that he likely feels justified for his disturbing actions.
What does this mean for the finale?
In the mid-season sneak peek trailer released earlier this week, there’s a nighttime clip where Walker is seen walking through a city carrying what appears to be an alternate version of the shield — we now know this is indeed his DIY project. This coincides with clips of Bucky fighting the Flag Smashers in a similar setting. More than likely, Sam and Bucky will attempt to stop the Flag Smashers from causing chaos in New York City during the GRC meeting, and Walker will show up with the shield with further plans for revenge against Karli and her followers.
Will his knock-off shield even work? Will they solve this Walker problem once and for all? Or will this all possibly lead in to Walker going rogue, staying in the MCU, and taking on his comic mantle of U.S. Agent instead? Given his conversation with Valentina, it sounds like there may be bigger plans for him ahead. After all, Super Soldiers aren’t easy to come by.
The finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will premiere exclusively on Disney+ next Friday, April 23. In the meantime, make sure to follow along with our episodic recaps, reviews, theories, and more, as well as our recent interview with series composer Henry Jackman.