Yes, US Agent Looks Like A Captain America Knock Off, That's The Point
Being a knock off is John Walker's specialty.
Production on the first Disney+ MCU TV show, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, is well underway and, naturally, as filming progresses so do the "leaked" photos of characters on set courtesy of fans lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the action as it unfolds. That's exactly how we've received our first real look at Wyatt Russell's new MCU character, John Walker--AKA US Agent.
Wyatt Russel as John Walker/Captain America/US Agent in Falcon and the Winter Soldier!! pic.twitter.com/ALfeqOWy8d— Thomas Polito (@thomas_polito) January 21, 2020
If your immediate reaction to Walker's look is "wait, isn't that just a new Captain America suit?" Don't worry--you're not alone. Fans on social media are eagerly pointing out the similarities between Walker's patriotic uniform and the many costumes worn by Steve Rogers across the MCU's phases 1 through 3. But these overlaps aren't a coincidence and they're certainly not an accident. In fact, Walker looking like a knock off Steve Rogers happens to be the entire point of his character.
No, really. That's it. That's John Walker in a nutshell. Let me explain.
Originally called Super-Patriot, John Walker was introduced back in the mid '80s with a pretty simple purpose: He was, first and foremost, meant to be a supervillain that could exemplify the darker side of patriotism against Steve Rogers' heroism--someone who believed that Steve, and by extension Captain America, was espousing all the wrong values in American society. Walker thought Steve was "outdated" and wanted to replace him, even going as far as to manufacture fake crises that he could act on to earn himself media attention. Getting the press on his side was one of Walker's biggest goals and something he actually had a ton of success in (the public being tricked into believing that Captain America actually sucked was a fairly common recurring theme in his ongoing comic, especially through the '60s and '70s). By the end of Walker's first story arc, he had the media in the palm of his hand and Steve both blackballed by the public and physically on the ropes.
Naturally, this whole fiasco culminated (at least indirectly--Steve being threatened with a major tax fraud case by the government was also part of it--don't ask) into another common, recurring theme in Captain America comics: Steve Rogers becoming completely disillusioned with both the government and his mantle and deciding to give it all up and reinvent himself. He quit being Captain America, turned over the shield, and created a new identity for himself: The Captain. He also grew a beard and fought a bear. It was a very exciting time.
But of course, simply handing the shield and the costume back to the government didn't put an end to them. This was before Steve's identity as Captain America was publicly known, so inventing a new Captain America was as easy as handing the suit and the shield over to someone else. This is where media darling John Walker got his chance, adopting the mantle as the new Captain America while Steve was off living as a renegade hero.
But, of course, it all went very, very wrong not long after--who could have guessed that a radically patriotic supervillain would eventually make an extremely bad Captain America?
Naturally, Walker was eventually sent in to try and stop The Captain, a fight that resulted in Steve exposing Walker for the monster he was and returning to his proper station. Stripped of his title, Walker was forced to do some real soul searching before he eventually took on the name US Agent and adopted a modified version of the costume Steve wore as The Captain because apparently he's genuinely never had an original thought in his life.
Obviously, Walker's story can't play out exactly the way it did in the comics in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. For one thing, Steve is off the table thanks to Avengers: Endgame--but that doesn't mean the themes of the story will change much. Judging by the set photos, we can assume Walker's government-sponsored status is going to be in full effect, but instead of being sent after bear-punching vigilante Steve Rogers, he's likely going to be aiming for Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson, the two men directly in the running to pick up the Captain America mantle in Steve's wake. But the idea of the government trying to promote a patriotic superhero that they can keep on a very short leash certainly doesn't need to change--after all, Steve Rogers made a pretty spectacular point of burning his bridges back during Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, so it's only natural that Walker come into play in one way or another. But regardless--looking like a "knock off Captain America" is exactly what he's supposed to be.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier hits Disney+ in the Fall of this year.