The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did everything it set out to accomplish: It moved Sam and Bucky’s story forward, it gave fans Sam Wilson as Captain America, it introduced new key characters and it provided a glimpse of what’s coming in the new Captain America movie. It also gave us John Walker (Wyatt Russell). Though divisive, director Kari Skogland hopes that Walker’s redemption makes him likable by the end of the first season.
In an interview with io9, Skogland says that Walker’s introduction was bumpy but he figured things out along the way. “Well, we left it a little vague on purpose but at the end of the day, I wanted people to like him. And I think everybody does like him. Now, they went through a period of not liking him at the beginning because he started out feeling like ‘Wait a second, is that the guy?’”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director wanted people to like John Walker
To be fair, Russell acted the heck out of the role. He was set up to play a guy who was a schmuck, taking on the mantle of Captain America even though he didn’t deserve it, and he was a political pawn to boot. That’s a tall order for any actor, especially knowing that you’re taking the place of Steve Rogers’ Cap. Russell did an amazing job in the role, leaving things up in the air for John Walker.
Skogland hinted at more complexity beyond what we saw of the character. “He alludes to that. ‘Oh, yeah. that Medal of Honor, that was the worst day of my life.’ And we realized, ‘Oh, something happened there that he’s not proud of.’ So he’s actually got a bit of an imposter syndrome. And that makes you go, ‘Oh, he’s actually kind of damaged.’ So you kind of like him a little bit, even though then he goes on to do something horrific, but you at least understand where it comes from.”
At the end of the day, though, do fans like him? It seems like the verdict is still out. He’s a divisive character among Marvel fans, but that often makes for the best kind of characters in the long run.
Will John Walker return to the MCU?
Fans will get a chance to decide if they like Walker when he turns up again, or rather, if he shows up again. The end of the show set him up for something more, with Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) recruiting him for reasons unknown. But speaking to Vanity Fair, Russell didn’t seem sure of whether he’d be back in the role:
Part of the way I approached Marvel was it’s all your last time you’re going to do it…Marvel operates in a really cool way where they don’t make decisions before they see what works. I’m not a part of any of this decision making, obviously.
Marvel already has plans for other characters it developed in various Disney+ shows. We’ll see if they follow suit with John Walker.