One of the great things WandaVision did for the MCU Phase 4 is to teach fans to temper their expectations. Not everything that happens in the forthcoming films and TV series can rival Avengers: Endgame. That’s a once-in-a-decade experience for Marvel and something other studios have never been able to recreate. Hopefully, Marvel will build up to another crescendo worthy of Endgame, but we need to get back to the basics for that to happen. And the basics are shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as well as upcoming films like Black Widow and The Eternals. Feige’s recent note that TV shows aren’t mandatory for understanding the movies is something I constantly bring up as a reminder that the TV series are not designed to deliver major MCU developments. We won’t see big villain reveals or major new superheroes. Still, the TV shows will advance character arcs, offer more background information, and include plenty of Easter eggs that link these properties to the movies.
Tempering expectation is what makes watching Falcon a much better experience after WandaVision. There are other reasons why the Falcon/Bucky team-up might be more exciting to fans than the Wanda/Vision show. But not expecting any big reveals and just enjoying the show for what it relieves some of that pressure that was felt during WandaVision. That said, we are now approaching Episode 5 of Falcon, which won’t just be highly emotional, it’ll also deliver a massive Marvel cameo. And now, we might know more about it — mind you, several spoilers will follow below.
Four episodes in and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has delivered on various levels. We got to really meet Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and we got to see the world after the devastating events of Infinity War and Endgame in a way that the movies weren’t able to depict. That’s my biggest gripe about Endgame — that we never saw what the “happy end” meant for people who aren’t superheroes.
We also got to experience a few fantastic “bad guys.” Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and John Walker (Wyatt Russell) aren’t perfect villains, but we might see more of them in the MCU’s future. There’s speculation that another major MCU superhero team-up is forming as we speak: the Thunderbolts. Zemo and Walker will likely be in the group. And let’s not forget about the Flag-Smashers, whose ideals aren’t quite villainous either — we should highlight Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) as the group’s protagonist, who is also a character that has potential for future stories. Not to mention there’s an actual villain lurking in the background whom we may or may not discover by the end of the series. That’s the Power Broker, although many people think they know who it is — former SHIELD agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp).
Add to that Rhodey’s (Don Cheadle) cameo, the gentle introduction of Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson), who will be a future Young Avenger, and Steve Rogers’s long shadow over the entire show, and Falcon basically becomes a great Marvel movie that was split into six hourlong episodes. We don’t even need any big cameos for Episode 5 or the finale to enjoy the rest of the series. But a big cameo is coming, and two separate sources have seemingly provided more details about the character.
First up, we have SlashFilm’s new report that offers an important tidbit about the surprise cameo. It’s somebody brand new, and a very well-known actor apparently plays the part:
/Film can confirm that this surprise character is not one that we’ve seen in the MCU before and not one who is primed to appear in an upcoming film. However, we have learned it is an existing Marvel Comics character who is played by a well-known performer. And this guest star must have knocked it out of the park for [Malcolm] Spellman to hype up this upcoming episode so much.
Marvel insider Charles Murphy offered a similar description of the surprise character on Twitter:
On this #FalconAndWinterSoldier surprise actor/actress:
-It's someone I would never have expected to be in the MCU.
-It's someone I personally am a huge fan of.
-Everyone is WAY overdoing it
I'm not talking about it anymore until after next week.
— Charles I Don't Know About That Trailer Murphy (@_CharlesMurphy) April 9, 2021
This Marvel superhero’s actual identity isn’t known, and we have no idea who will play the role. But the tidbits above should at least help — and I’m going to repeat it — temper expectations.
Spellman’s own teasers about Episode 5 raised those expectations in the first place. The showrunner talked about the upcoming episode a few weeks ago in a couple of interviews. He told ComicBook that he’s most excited about Episode 5. “Hands down, five, it just gets real,” he said. “And five, you’re going to cry.”
As for the cameo, he teased it in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes TV. “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,” Spellman said. “The personality is so strong, it’s the episode five character. I’d love to see that character with Thor.”
Episode 5 premieres on Friday, April 16th on Disney+ — here is the official synopsis:
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All eyes are on the shield, as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier decide to team up—or rather, work together—when a new global threat launches them into an unexpected mission that may hit too close to home