Falcon and the Winter Soldier: who is John Walker / US Agent?

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The latest trailer for Falcon and the Winter Soldier was released during the Super Bowl, allowing us to see more of the upcoming series starring the Sam Wilson / Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) couple. But it also showed the character Wyatt Russell, who plays John Walker aka US Agent in the comics.

What happened with Captain America in Avengers: Endgame left a big hole in the MCU. Steve may have passed his shield to Sam Wilson, but Sam isn’t the only hero vying for the honor of becoming the new Captain America also with Russell competing as John Walker, the patriot supersoldier.

Who U.S. Agent? Is he friend or foe of the Avengers? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Marvel’s other patriotic super soldier.

US Agent in Marvel Comics: The Basics

After his older brother died in service, John Walker wanted nothing more than to honor his legacy and become an American hero. Unfortunately, he did so by turning to a villain named Power Broker / Power Agent and becoming a star-studded (and misguided) villain named Superpatriota. Fortunately, some confrontations with Captain America taught Walker the error on his way. When the government selected Walker to become the new Captain America, he did his best to live up to the Steve Rogers example, even though the pressure almost drove him crazy.

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Wyatt Russell as John Walker (based on the design shown on the Topps trading cards) and US Agent from the comics (right).

After Steve Rogers regained the mantle of Captain America, Walker assumed a new identity disguised as a US Agent (USAgente in some Spanish translations). Though more brash and headstrong than Cap, US Agent has consistently proven that he is a valued ally of the Avengers and a hero worthy of their family legacy.

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US Agent: origins and background

John Walker made his debut in 1986’s Captain America # 323, though it would be years before he actually took the name US Agent. Walker is initially portrayed as a brutal vigilante named Superpatriot, one who has all the intense patriotism of Captain America but lacks his strong moral compass. His cheeky attitude and extreme methods instantly win him public support.

Super Patriot

When disillusioned Steve Rogers decides to abandon the mantle of Captain America instead of working as an agent of the US Government, Walker is chosen to become his replacement. This is an example of a popular trend in the ’80s and’ 90s, where Marvel temporarily replaced iconic heroes with fresh newcomers (James Rhodes as Iron Man, Eric Masterson as Thor, etc.).

While they weren’t exactly friends in the past, Walker goes out of his way to honor the legacy and example of Steve Rogers during his time as Captain America.. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Between his own extreme methods and some tough missions ordered by his Commission bosses, Walker begins to crack under the pressure of being Captain America. He is pushed to the brink when his former allies expose his secret identity and lead to the murder of his parents.

Walker’s stint as Cap comes to an end when Red Skull orchestrates a showdown between Walker and Steve Rogers, now codenamed “El Capitan” (just plain). Instead, the two heroes team up to defeat their common enemy. As a consequence, Steve regains his identity as Captain America and Walker can retire under a new covert identity and try to rebuild his ruined life.

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It wasn’t long before Walker returned in his new look as a US Agent. The Commission installs US Agent in the newly formed West Coast Avengers, hoping to maintain government oversight of the team. Although Walker repeatedly clashes with his new teammates (especially Hawkeye), he also proves worthy to fight alongside the mightiest Heroes on Earth. After the West Coast Avengers disbanded, US Agent became a member of other teams such as Shock Force, The Invaders, and even the Canadian super-team Omega Flight.

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Even losing multiple limbs fighting rebel super soldier Nuke wasn’t enough to defeat Walker. He became the warden of the maximum security prison known as The Raft, helping Luke Cage turn the Thunderbolts (basically Marvel’s answer to DC’s Suicide Squad) into an effective combat unit. Later, Walker regained his body to full health and took up the mantle of US Agent once more.

US Agent: powers and abilities

He can look and fight like Captain America, but US Agent is considerably stronger. While in the comics Steve Rogers’ body has been propelled to the top of normal human potential, John Walker has true superhuman strength, agility, and stamina. That allowed him to gain an advantage over Cap in the past, though Captain America’s decades of experience tend to level the battlefield.

Walker has also been trained in various forms of armed and unarmed combat. He has even been trained by Taskmaster / Supervisor on how to target Captain America’s unbreakable shield. Walker wore that shield during his time as Captain America. After becoming a US Agent, he made use of several alternate shields, including a vibranium shield created by Black Panther and a star-shaped shield with retractable tips.

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US Agent in the MCU and beyond the comics

With so long that US Agent has been active in the Marvel Universe, you’d think they would have spent more time outside of the comics. But to date, he has only made a few appearances in video games like Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel Heroes, usually in the form of an alternate costume choice for Captain America.

However, that US Agent drought is about to end. John Walker will make his live-action debut in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, coming to the Disney + streaming service on March 19, 2021. Wyatt Russell (Overlord) plays the character, and while we don’t know for sure that Walker will actually take the name US Agent in the series, we’ve seen him in the trailers wearing a suit similar to that identity in the comics, albeit even in the Topps costume design leak only names him as John Walker.

With the story set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, It seems clear that he will face Sam Wilson for the honor of becoming the next Captain America. Just because Steve Rogers gave Sam his shield doesn’t mean the government will just abide by the gentlemen’s agreement..

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In that sense, the series can be based on recent Marvel Comics stories. Sam temporarily took over the role of Captain America on the Captain America: Sam Wilson series, and US Agent reluctantly joined the opposition against him.