While it’s been known for a while that Baron Helmut Zemo will be returning to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ as the series’ primary villain, it’s also been made clear that a secondary antagonist will be making their debut - John Walker, alternatively known as the Super-Patriot, USAgent, and Captain America.
And who is John Walker? Set to be played by Wyatt Russell - son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn - in the upcoming series, he’s the pseudo-superhero chosen by the US government to replace Steve Rogers as Marvel Comics’ Captain America during one of the latter’s many impromptu retirements. This should bring him into direct conflict with Sam Wilson, the man Rogers chose as his own replacement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Walker is also notable for his hardcore right-wing political alignment, which makes him diametrically opposed to many of the ideals that have long defined the mantle of Captain America - and the beliefs of Steve Rogers himself. This has led to countless battles - and a few begrudging team-ups - between the two, but with Rogers now absent from the MCU, it will be up to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to face off with him instead.
John Walker’s Unique Ideology Comes From Growing Up In A Military Family Marred By Tragedy
While his backstory in 2020’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will undoubtedly be more modern, the comic book origin of John Walker is told in the late-'80s era of Captain America comics and ties back to a historical event that was fairly recent at the time - the conflict in Vietnam. Like Steve Rogers before him, Walker’s view of the world is heavily informed by the consequences of a major armed conflict, though his personal beliefs head in an entirely opposite direction.
First appearing in Captain America #323, Walker grows up in a military family and sees his brother Michael ship off to Vietnam, only to return home in a coffin. This informs Walker’s eventual political alignment in that he starts to believe that the foreign enemies of America deserve to be policed with a lot more violence than the original Captain America is willing to dole out. Walker starts a military career of his own but soon quits, deciding to spread his unique view of the world through other methods.
Like Many Characters From The '80s, Walker Gets His Start As A Professional Wrestler
A superhero starting their career in a superhuman pro wrestling league might sound outlandish to the modern reader, but it was actually an incredibly common origin back in this era of Marvel Comics - thanks to the Power Broker and the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. In essence, the Power Broker’s scheme revolves around offering individuals some artificially induced superpowers in exchange for them putting their bodies on the line in the squared circle.
Walker is no different, leaving the military to compete in the UCWF alongside such luminaries as Demolition Man, the Thing, and one of the Ms. Marvels. When it becomes obvious that the wrestling gig is not as heroic as he’d hoped - especially not with the Power Broker’s habit of providing highly addictive super-serums to his customers to ensnare them in his service - Walker goes looking for a new line of work.
Walker Soon Leaves Wrestling To Become A Right-Wing Answer To Captain America: The Super-Patriot
John Walker’s wrestling agent convinces him to take his costume and newfound superpowers out of the world of professional sports and into the realm of legitimate heroism. Dubbing himself the Super-Patriot - a name borrowed from an old Nick Fury villain - Walker sees an opportunity to set himself up as the right-wing answer to the leftist ideals of Captain America, and he isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on Steve Rogers’s sensibilities via press rallies.
At first, the Super-Patriot expresses a real desire to aid those in need, but he quickly becomes consumed with using his public platform to spread his political ideology. As he also sees Captain America as diametrically opposed to his vision for the United States, John Walker starts to spend more and more of his time trying to discredit the Star-Spangled Avenger - and it soon becomes an obsession.
Super-Patriot Isn’t Shy About Enacting Lethal Justice - Or Trying To Goad Steve Rogers Into A Public Fight
The major difference between the superheroic habits of Super-Patriot and Captain America is their level of comfort with excessive force. While Steve Rogers always tries to subdue his opponents without taking their lives, never sinking to their violent levels, John Walker has no such compunctions about enacting lethal justice. In fact, he comes to prefer fatal solutions to issues of national security.
After an incident in which both heroes try to take down Warhead, and Walker ends up causing the villain’s demise, the Super-Patriot becomes consumed with a desire to prove the superiority of his methods via a public fistfight. He begins showing up wherever and whenever Rogers makes an appearance, attempting to goad him into a grudge match. When Cap finally agrees to duke it out, the bout ends ambiguously - something that Walker uses to claim victory for both the Super-Patriot and the political views he espouses.