We’re nearing the end of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+ now, with only a single episode left to go. And this week’s episode gave us a hint that maybe the job of Falcon won’t stay vacant too long now that it looks like Sam Wilson is about to become the new Captain America.
Like The Wanda Maximoff Show, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is doing its duty to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe by bringing back old bad guys we’d forgotten about and setting up new heroes who will no doubt be important in the future. And just when we thought it might have forgotten about ole Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez), they give us a scene this week that indicate his destiny might arrive sooner than we thought.
The premiere episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” began with the Falcon himself, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), going on a daring mission to rescue someone from an airplane. And on the ground he’s got a helper, a young guy who acts as a spotter and general support while Sam darts around in the sky.
Joaquin disappeared for the last few episodes, but he had a new scene this week. After Sam loses his wings in a fight with John Walker (Wyatt Russell), he takes his damaged equipment to Torres to try to figure out if he can salvage it. But we’re not sure he’s going to need it anymore, if that mysterious Wakandan case contains what we think it contains: a new winged Captain America suit.
The comic book version of Torres’ Falcon is a bit different, though. And by “a bit” I really mean a lot. Whereas the title is figurative with Sam, since he’s fully a normal, unenhanced human being who uses that sick Falcon glider to do what he does — with Torres that name is a lot more literal.
In the Marvel comics there’s a mad scientist sort of character named Karl Malus, who likes to do weird experiments on people. And, basically, he manages to give Torres actual bird wings. Malus turns Torres into this human/Falcon hybrid using the DNA of a bird: Redwing, Sam’s flying pal. That’s right, Redwing in the comics is an actual bird, not just a drone. Of course, Redwing was destroyed a couple episodes back, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in play now.
When Joaquin was first introduced, I assumed he was just there to lay the groundwork for an origin story somewhere down the line, but it feels much more likely now that he will become the next Falcon in next week’s finale. The big new detail is Sam’s wings being ripped off his suit.
While Joaquin will certainly not be outfitted with real bird wings, the fact that he’s currently in possession of a wing suit — even a broken one — is big. Sam even commented this week that Joaquin was trying to whip something up with it. But since Sam almost certainly just got a new suit from the Wakandans, he probably won’t have any use for whatever Joaquin cooks up.
The easy guess then is that Joaquin will get to use whatever he ends up making with it, perhaps showing up as a surprise during a climactic moment in the finale. Alternatively, if Marvel wants to skew closer to the comic book origin story, we do have this Power Broker out there trying to turn people into super soldiers — that’s exactly the sort of person who might be interested in kidnapping Joaquin and fusing those metal wings onto his body as some kind of weird experiment.