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‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ has a mystery cameo the showrunner refuses to reveal

Published Mar 29th, 2021 10:33AM EDT

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It plays like a buddy-cop action movie full of hilarious banter in trailers, but those clips barely scratch the surface of what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is supposed to be. We’re now two episodes in, and Falcon’s action and humor take a back seat to what Kevin Feige & Co. want to achieve here. We know from Feige’s previous comments that Marvel’s Disney+ TV shows will not be mandatory to understand what happens in MCU movies. These mini-stories will contain Easter eggs linking them to the main storylines, but they’re meant to allow us to explore MCU characters who do not have time to shine in those massive blockbuster films and who don’t have standalone stories of their own. WandaVision and Falcon are both proof of that.

We might not see any significant storyline developments in these series, but we’re going to get some surprises. The newest teasers come directly from the Falcon and the Winter Soldier showrunner, who said in separate interviews that Episode 5 is the one to watch. It’s not going to feature a surprise character, but it’s also going to make you cry. If all of this seems familiar, that’s because we dealt with a similar line of marketing for an MCU TV show just a few weeks ago — the Paul Bettany teasers.

Before we get into it though, I’ll warn you that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision spoilers follow below.

Just as WandaVision started, Paul Bettany teased fans that the show will include an actor he always wanted to work with. Bettany and the unnamed individual supposedly had great chemistry during their scenes together. As we approached the end, it turned out that none of the fan theories were correct. Bettany was talking about himself, as the actor played a different version of Vision in the final episodes. White Vision is probably going to appear again in the future of the MCU.

It’s now time for Malcolm Spellman to make similarly exciting claims about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He’s the showrunner and head writer, so we can safely assume that Spellman isn’t talking about himself when he mentions an “episode five character” who might make you cry.

The first two Falcon episodes stuck to the teasers in the trailers, delivering action sequences that are on par with Captain America movies as well as hilarious exchanges between the two protagonists. But what the trailers do not tell you is that we’re about to explore Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s characters in more depth than ever before.

They don’t tell you that Falcon will tackle issues that will immediately resonate with people, including racism and socio-economic inequality. They don’t warn you of the highly emotional scenes peppered throughout the show that will give you goosebumps. One minute you’re laughing at another stupid staring contest, only to be completely shocked when you find out the real reason why Bucky is angry with Sam. One minute you’re enjoying Mackie’s charged delivery of that “black kid” joke, and the next you witness him realizing that there was a black superhero well before him who could have easily have taken the Captain America role, had the government done the right thing.

Having seen that, I already expected The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to deliver more emotion in the coming episodes, but now I’m wondering what’s going to happen in Episode 5 that will make us cry.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier poster. Image source: Marvel Studios

Spellman talked to ComicBook about what it was like to make the TV show and how they build the story to highlight the parts of Sam and Bucky that were unseen in Marvel movies. Spellman also touches on Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), who will probably be the main villain of the show. It’s after the Zemo bit in the interview that Episode 5 comes up (emphasis ours):

ComicBook: I look forward to seeing Baron Zemo in this show. We know he’s going to get a fully realized comics accurate purple mask. When that kind of moment happens in the MCU, they always kind of justify it. They explain how it fits organically. Can you tease it all, how you delve into an evolution for Zemo after since we last saw him in Civil War?

Malcolm Spellman: It is, it is, it’s all front and center. And it’s funny because as we did different iterations of this, all the stuff you’re talking about, who Zemo is, what he did in his past for his country, where that mask came from, all just became tangled into one personal storyline of a man whose country, city, and family were destroyed by superheroes who he views as villains, right? And so Zemo believes he’s a hero in this series. You know what I’m saying? And all of that is tethered to something very very personal for him and I got to say, man, Daniel Brühl, like, you know Sebastian and Anthony can take everything out of the park but Daniel Brühl was like I’m going to steal every scene I’m in if I can. He was great.

CB: I can’t wait to see it. Which episode are you most excited for everybody to see?

MS: Hands down, five, it just gets real. And five, you’re going to cry.

That’s not to say that Zemo’s personal life will bring on the waterworks, although Spellman did say in a different interview that we’ll get to understand Zemo better. We expect to see Zemo in other MCU films and shows down the road, so Falcon will also help Marvel build his arc beyond what we saw in Civil War.

But Episode 5 will apparently be special, with Spellman addressing the same installment in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes TV. When asked what sort of pairings he’d like to see aside from the Sam-Bucky duo that he helped mastermind in this show, the writer indicated that he’d like to pair a down-to-earth character like “the episode five character” with Thor:

There are characters in our series who I would love to see partnered with like – it’s a very, very grounded character — partnered with one of the big world-shakers like Thor or someone like that… The personality is so strong, it’s the episode five character. I’d love to see that character with Thor.

Who could that character be? We have no idea. But between now and Episode 5, we’ll probably see various fan theories come up attempting to guess who it is. All we know is that it better not be Vision again. Also, it’s unclear whether it’s because of this character that we’ll cry in Episode 5, but that particular episode sounds like a major highlight for the show.

Spellman’s full interview with ComicBook is available at this link, while the Rotten Tomatoes TV interview follows below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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