A storyline from Netflix's Jessica Jones means that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's U.S. Agent - one of Marvel's new characters for the MCU's Phase 4 - might need a slightly different origin story. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs in late 2020 and it'll feature John Walker aka U.S. Agent, who will be played by Wyatt Russell. The Marvel hero was a temporary replacement for Steve Rogers as Captain America, with whom he shares a rocky history. U.S. Agent has also served as one of the main members of the West Coast Avengers.
In the comic books, U.S. Agent purchased his abilities from a scientist called the Power Broker. Originally, Power Broker was partnered with a man named Dr. Karl Malus who he ordered to create the technology that would allow him to augment the strength of paying customers. The technology that Malus developed was used to create superhuman individuals who would become indebted to Power Broker. One of Power Broker's customers was John Walker. It was their work that gave him his incredible strength.
A version of this storyline appeared in Jessica Jones season 2. The Netflix series introduced a live-action version of Dr. Karl Malus, played by Callum Keith Rennie. Malus was the founder of a clinic called IGH that developed drugs designed to greatly enhance a person's strength. IGH also performed experiments on people, and created superhumans like the Whizzer. Karl Malus, IGH, and their methods factored heavily into the main story of season 2 as Jessica Jones worked to put a stop to their practices.
Though IGH doesn't share the name of the organizations run by Malus and Power Broker in the comic books, the Institute for Superabnormality Research, and Power Broker Inc., respectively, the basic idea behind both storylines is the same, as IGH is clearly based on Malus' work in the comics. When exploring U.S. Agent's backstory, will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stay true to U.S. Agent's origin? Though Malus' strength-augmenting technology is an important part of how John Walker becomes U.S. Agent, writing him out of the story - or simply not mentioning him - is easy enough to do, especially since it was the Power Broker who administered the experiment, not Malus.
A much bigger problem, however, are the similarities between the two stories. It's possible that Marvel Studios won't want to create an organization that has too much in common with Jessica Jones' IGH. If so, Marvel may look for a different way to give John Walker his powers, whether it be for the purpose of turning him into U.S. Agent, or the new Captain America.
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- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022