Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Spoilers)

That’s on the young side, but you’re right, it’s entirely plausible. IRL, former 1SFOD (“Delta Force”) operator Eric Haney apparently made sergeant major at only 34. And he didn’t even get a special costume!

I still think a master sergeant would make more sense as the NCO aide to a captain, but that’s a really minor nitpick. (If nothing else, the star between in the chevrons and arcs in the SGM insignia matches the name “Battlestar”…)

Stop the car.

Part of Episode 2 revolves around Bucky & Falcon trying to figure out how the Flagsmashers had access to the supersoldier project, since they are clearly enhanced, but they seem to be ignoring where NewCap’s abilities came from (Dude can clearly throw a shield just as well as the real Captain America). The show isn’t really clear on this - is NewCap supposed to be enhanced, or is he just a “regular guy” ala Batman or Hawkeye?

I think they’re intentionally being coy about it at this point. Walker’s interview with the GMA lady was meant to suggest that the “public explanation” is that he’s just a peak physical specimen, but I suspect that what will come out is that he (and Battlestar) have, indeed, gotten enhancements (probably from the same source as the Flagsmashers).

Something I never understood about Falcon is Winter Solider says that Sam was part of an entire unit that used “experimental paratrooper” equipment (i.e. his wings). He even talked about a colleague who had died using them. So what makes Falcon special? I like the character but isn’t there an entire squad of “Falcons” with the same wings?

If I recall correctly, in Winter Soldier Sam says his wingsuit was an experimental prototype that was decommissioned as being too dangerous to use after his partner died operating it. There was only one operational prototype left, in storage, and Sam steals it to become Falcon. Basically, Sam is the only pilot who’s ever been able to get the d**n things to actually work instead of killing the pilot.

Now that they have an extensively demonstrated proof of concept, presumably the Air Force could commission squadrons of “Falcons”. But they’d still run into the problem that training pilots to fly them seems to be a process of learn-by-dying. If the training program has a 50% attrition rate (with those 50% being fatalities), the USAF may just decide its not worth it.

Or maybe we’ll see a Falcon squadron by the end of this series or in a future project. (In the Ultimates line which influenced a lot of the MCU’s depictions, I think SHIELD did wind up with a Falcon squad, and I know they eventually developed a Giant-Man squad).

Almost - Sam’s wingman was killed when he was hit by an RPG in the course of a routine mission:

“Flying a night mission, standard PJ rescue op. Nothing we hadn’t done a thousand times before. 'Til an RPG knocked Riley’s dumb ass out of the sky. Nothing I could do. Like I was up there just to watch."

Sounds like he and Riley had run multiple successful missions in the wing suits before Riley was shot down, although I suppose that “thousand times before” could refer to training missions. Still, the military didn’t stop paying Justin Hammer to make knock off Iron Man suits, even after a suit malfunction twisted an Air Force pilot in half, and that suit never even made it to the deployment phase. It’s really hard to justify there not being an ongoing Falcon program in the USAF.

Thanks for the correction - I clearly misremembered that. Still, it was always my impression, although maybe this is just fanwank headcanon, that the Falcon program was decommissioned because they were just too difficult to operate to make it worthwhile. IRL, the U.S. Army has been experimenting with various “jet packs” and flying contraptions since the '50s, and they inevitably wind up with noisy, cumbersome, slow and clumsy devices that don’t actually provide any useful operational capacity beyond being RPG magnets, when they work at all.

As to the Iron Man suits, Iron Man II makes it clear that in the MCU, a manned power armor suit has become the holy grail of military research. (Not that the MCU has been terribly consistent about that - they Yellowjacket armor seems like it should have been a game-changer on its own, but second-rate-Obediah Stane dude was obsessed with also having shrinking powers for no apparent reason). Even then, it seems like the death of the pilot actually did cause that program to shut down. (And was it a USAF pilot that was twisted? Weren’t some of the suit malfunctions Tony showed from North Korea and other national programs?) I may well be misremembering this as well, but I thought what Hammer was offering wasn’t a human piloted suit, it was remotely operated drones in the form of humanoid armor.

It wasn’t clear if the guy twisted in the Hammer suit was military or just a Hammertech guy. Hammer tried to get Vanko to make suits for him, but Vanko made drones instead (to enact his revenge on Tony).

Regard the Yellowjacket suit, remember that Ant-Man takes place 7 years after Iron Man. Tony even says that the rest of the world will eventually make their own Iron Man suits, but they’re always going to be behind. The Yellowjacket, minus shrinking tech, would have been no match for Tony’s Age of Ultron suit.

In Iron Man 2, in the middle of the Senate hearing (chaired by the now deceased Hydra member Garry Shandling), Tony hijacked the video screens and showed tests from various sites. North Korea’s suit (which looked more like the ED-209 from Robocop), took 2 steps, fell over, and machine gunned the crowd of watchers. In Iran, the suit flew up, crashed, and exploded. For Hammer’s test, the torso of the suit turned 180 degrees from the legs, but Hammer did state “I’d like to point out, that test pilot survived.”

It must have been a weird casting call. “We need a good actor with a horrible jawline.”

Kind of? Hammer wanted (and was originally trying to offer) human piloted suits. Vanko built drones instead. Hammer wasn’t pleased. But instead of canceling his slot at the expo, he hyped the drones. Things went poorly.

He was so pissed, he took Vanko’s bird.

Definitely enjoying this so far.

I really really hope that the new Captain American turns out to be precisely what he seems to be. A genuinely decent guy who is an excellent soldier and is doing his best to live up to an impossible mantle. Bluster and arrogance, but not evil or sinister. I think that would be a lot more interesting than the seemingly-inevitable “he took Steve’s place, therefore he must be a villain” twist.

I’m trying to avoid any comic information so this is all speculation:

It looks to me like they’re trying to set up the Flag-Smashers as a sympathetic group. I think the conflict is going to come from Sam/Bucky deciding to help them vs. new Cap being ordered to take them down. Which fits in with the overall Captain America arc about when to do the right thing instead of following orders.

As I mentioned upthread, what the show is doing is right in line with comics precedent. Walker means well, but he’s an egotistical hardass, so typically he blunders around and makes a mess before eventually stumbling reluctantly into the right answer. He frequently functions as an antagonist but he is not (as far as I can recall, anyway) actually a villain.

I’m loving how the show is using him, presenting him as a counterpoint view of heroism contrasted against the two leads (and Steve before them).

I’d say he was pretty villainous in his original appearances, when he was going by Super-Patriot, and staging false-flag attacks to make Captain America look bad. Once they brought him in as a replacement Captain America, instead of just part of his rogue’s gallery, they started writing him much more the way you describe, which seems to be where the show is taking most of its inspiration.

And in Dr. Strange, there’s a throwaway line about Strange not bothering with a case of an Air Force pilot with a broken spine from an accident in “some suit”.

We’re watching all the movies in order since WandaVision got my 15 year old daughter interested in the MCU and she wants to catch up. Dr. Strange was last night. GOTG2 tonight!

I thought that was pretty established to be a reference to Rhodes’ injury from Civil War.

Official Word of God is that it’s not Rhodes. Apparently, the timelines don’t line up right - if that was Rhodes in the beginning, then Strange only spends like a month learning how to be a wizard, instead of a couple years.

Well, he does have the Time Stone.