After WandaVision, we know better than to expect big reveals and cameos from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That’s unlikely to happen, as Marvel’s boss Kevin Feige made it clear that the Disney+ TV series aren’t going to advance any major arcs from the movies. Marvel will use its upcoming films to move the action forward and allow the audience to slowly discover the new storyline, the brand new superheroes, and all the new villains. But the TV shows will provide more context and allow us to explore some of the upcoming heroes who do not have any history in the MCU. We’ll also get to enjoy more action from some of the Avengers who didn’t headline their own movies.
That said, there are some indications that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier might feature a few important Easter eggs for the MCU that could make it a show you’ll need to see. For starters, Episode 3 delivered an incredible breakout character. That’s Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo, who has the potential to become the Loki-like antagonist of MCU Phase 4. Without spoiling any of it, Episode 3 did more for Zemo than the entire Civil War movie, and I wouldn’t mind watching more of Zemo in the future.
Now, a brand new leak now tells us that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will introduce a “rudimentary” version of a superhero team-up that’s not the Avengers. Mind you, some spoilers follow below.
A person who goes by Professor Hulk and has had some accurate Marvel scoops in the past posted this revelation:
By the end of Falcon And Winter Soldier we'll have a rudimentary version of the Thunderbolts.
It won't be Ross that assembles them though . . .
— Nick "Professor Hulk" Santos (@ProfHulk_THS) April 5, 2021
If it’s accurate, Falcon could indeed deliver us a version of the Thunderbolts. We had expected that much even before the pandemic. Rumors back then said that Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) would actually form the Thunderbolts in Black Widow, and that would directly set up The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which would have been the first MCU TV show to premiere on Disney+. For those unaware, the Thunderbolts are a team of Marvel superheroes who are entirely separate from Marvel’s most famous superhero squad, the Avengers.
But could this “rudimentary” version of the Thunderbolts get a name drop in Falcon? That would break Feige’s rule for Marvel TV shows, but there is a more straightforward way to do it. The new team-up would not get an official name in the show, and the Thunderbolts’ big reveal could arrive in a future movie. Whether the leak is accurate or not, Falcon will facilitate the meeting of various characters who could become Thunderbolts later.
Who better than Zemo to take command of such a team? After all, he has the wits, power, and finances to support such an endeavor. The Thunderbolts aren’t the Suicide Squad equivalent of the MCU. They’re powerful individuals who are supposed to do good, although not all of them are truly superheroes. Some of them could be antagonists who are either looking for redemption or who want to masquerade as superheroes.
Who could be in Zemo’s early version of the Thunderbolts? We already have a few individuals who are either villains, shady, or willing to bend some rules. We saw Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) in the first episode and John Walker (Wyatt Russel) will likely become US Agent, dropping the Captain America mantle and passing it to Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Then there’s Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett), who could become Battlestar. Not to mention of the Power Broker, whose identity hasn’t been revealed — or has it, Sharon (Emily VanCamp)?
Let’s also not forget that Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is trying hard to be the person that Steve hoped he was. But he’s also looking to do whatever is necessary to accomplish the mission, even if that means breaking the rules. It’s worth noting that The Winter Soldier is a member of the Thunderbolts in the comics.
Finally, I’ll remind you of a somewhat old rumor that said Miki Ishikawa could play Jolt, a Thunderbolts team member under Baron Zemo in the comics. It’s unclear whether she’ll become Jolt, but the actress will appear in the three remaining episodes. Ishikawa plays Leah, Bucky’s date from Episode 1. That said, there are no guarantees that Zemo’s Thunderbolts will form in any way in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But, again, Zemo is absolutely a breakout star of the show so far, and we assume we’ll see him again as the leader or one of the leaders of the Thunderbolts.
It’s also unclear how the hype surrounding Episode 5 ties into this Thunderbolt claim. We expect that particular episode to be highly emotional and deliver some sort of mysterious cameo. We’ll have to wait more than a week for that, though. Episode 4 premieres this coming Friday on Disney+.