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Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s surprise Avenger cameo was just spoiled

Published Mar 16th, 2021 12:37PM EDT

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If there’s one thing Marvel fans should know going into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (FATWS), it’s that they should temper their expectations. WandaVision should have taught them as much. Fan theories are fun, given what Marvel is supposedly building with its MCU Phase 4, but the TV shows can’t possibly match them. Moreover, Kevin Feige’s recent comments about MCU TV series, in general, are incredibly revealing. He says that watching them isn’t mandatory to understand the movies. It’s a massive “spoiler,” if you will. It basically means no major Marvel event can happen in the TV shows. The TV series will explore various characters rather than showing the next major villain or offering significant clues about the main storyline. Easter eggs will likely be present in all the shows that will launch on Disney+, but they’ll be more subtle. And they won’t be anywhere near as crazy as some of the fan theories and supposed spoilers we’ve seen.

With that in mind, we’ll show you the first major Falcon leak from season 1. A beloved Avenger will join the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in Episode 1, and this leak is 100% confirmed. Mind you, spoilers follows below

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s marketing campaign is in full swing. Marvel released the final trailer along with additional clips and featurettes, just as the first interviews with the crew and cast have started dropping online. Reviews for the first episode are also already out, which means several people have had access to the show. The Avenger leak comes from one such review.

Comicbook mistakenly published an interview with the director of FATWS, who confirms that War Machine (Don Cheadle) appears in the first episode. The interview was pulled, but not before the Marvel Studios Spoilers community caught wind of it.

It’s unclear what Rhodey’s purpose in the episode will be. Like Sam and Bucky, Rhodey is one of the MCU characters who deserve more on-screen time, and we’re going to get some of that in the upcoming Armor Wars TV show.

But unlike Sam and Bucky, Rhodey is one of the Avengers who did not turn to dust in Infinity War. He was there to witness the horrors of the five years leading up to Endgame, and he was part of the group of surviving Avengers who helped manage the planet. He was also part of the time heist plan in Avengers: Endgame, and he’ll likely continue to play a role in helping the world get back to some sort of normalcy now that the blipped people are back. That might involve managing some of the superheroes who returned to life, including Sam and Bucky.

This is all speculation, as the leak did not reveal any specific details about Rhodey’s role in the series. But this is the type of cameo that Marvel can offer fans without impacting the bigger storyline. It’s likely a satisfying moment, but not a major revelation for the MCU.

The Falcon trailers have made it clear that Sam will not be the new Captain America — or that he won’t accept the role. We do see at least three ceremonies in these trailers addressing Captain America that involve the presence of other government officials. We have Sam speaking at a formal event that looks very much like a Steve Rogers memorial. Steve isn’t dead at the end of Endgame, but Far From Home implies that’s the official story. We then have an unnamed official talking about the need to preserve symbols like Captain America. There’s also a football game scene where the new Captain America makes an appearance. As we’ve established already, this is US Agent (Wyatt Russell), not Sam, who tries to fill Steve Rogers’s shoes.

Those scenes all imply that the government wants a new Captain America now that Steve Rogers is gone. And that sort of transition will involve military men. James Rhodes definitely qualifies.

Let’s also note that Sam and Bucky will embark on the kind of fight where losing is not an option. This is the kind of mission that someone like Rhodey might assign. With three Avengers out of the picture and others having just departed Earth, who would Rhodey trust if not Steve’s closest friends, who also happen to be former soldiers and superheroes? Again, this is just speculation, as the leak does not explain Cheadle’s cameo.

With other leaks, I’d tell you that nothing can be confirmed at this time. However, given the way this information was revealed online, I’d say that Don Cheadle is locked in for the first The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode. After all, we’ve known for weeks that he will appear in the show; we just didn’t know he’d be in the premiere. Here’s what Cheadle let slip by in an interview with BroBible more than a month ago:

That’s some of the fun of the MCU, that we all get to show up in each other’s stories, and there are ways that we’re cross-platforming these characters, and they become storylines, sometimes, in the movies. And then these storylines in the movies become storylines in the shows.

It’s really a fun and interesting and, by all imagination, completely open-ended — this can go anywhere. It’s great, I can’t wait to get in the room with the writers and figure out how all those things [connecting Armor Wars to the MCU] happen. You know, Rhodey shows up in Winter Soldier and Falcon’s show. So, it can be a lot.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

debuts on Disney+ this Friday, March 19th.

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.