This article contains The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6 spoilers.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is over and it ended with one doozy of a post-credits scene. Sharon Carter is back, and she’s apparently flipped on the United States.
At the end of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 6, Sharon finally gets her pardon. Senator Government Official (no, seriously, he’s credited as “Government Official” in the credits), the unnamed, definitely not Senator Kelly guy who has been moving the plot forward all show, sits in an extremely insecure presumably Intelligence Committee hearing room and offers Sharon a full pardon, and her old job in intelligence back. She accepts, leaves the hearing, and puts a call into….someone…very excited about her pending access to a wealth of government secrets. She’s up to something.
This isn’t an unprecedented situation, though. Sharon is one of the Marvel Universe’s premiere superspies, up there with Nick Fury himself as someone who’s capable of showing four different people four different loyalties in the same room and getting away with it. Obviously, this is going to have big repercussions for the MCU moving forward.
But what could it really mean? Who is Sharon working for or with? Let’s run down the possibilities…
Alexander Lukin is the Russian general created by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting in the same Marvel Comics story that reintroduced Bucky as the Winter Soldier. He was a high-ranking Russian intelligence official who reactivated the Winter Soldier to kill the Red Skull, in an effort to try and steal the Skull’s Cosmic Cube. In the struggle, the Skull was absorbed first into the Cube, then into Lukin.
A lot of story happens after that (including Sharon shooting Cap on the steps of the US Capitol Building), but it ends with both Lukin and the Skull dead. And then resurrected. By Lukin’s wife, Alexa.
Alexa turned out to be a remarkably long-lived ex-Daughter of Liberty, the group of badass women soldiers fighting for the Allies in World War II. A former partner of Sharon Carter, Alexa leaves the group when the Cold War sets, and after Hydra’s Secret Empire fails, she uses her new group of bastard oligarchs, the Power Elite, to try and take down America, only to be fought by the current incarnation of the Daughters of Liberty – Sharon Carter, the Invisible Woman, Echo, Misty Knight, and others (This is happening in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ somehow underrated run on Captain America, which you should definitely read).
This would be a hell of a way to introduce clan Lukin to the MCU, but it isn’t impossible to believe. They’re very tied to the Winter Soldier and Sharon’s stories; they’re currently relevant in the comics; and they fit in with the mass of faceless but vaguely evil oligarchs running the GRC in FWS. And it would make the apparent “Red Skull gas” that Sharon hit the Flag-Smasher agent with make a little more sense.
Countess Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ cameo was one of the most entertaining parts of the entire show, and Countess Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine’s history in Marvel’s covert services in the comics makes it extremely possible that she’s on the other end of Sharon’s phone.
Val, or Madame Hydra, as she was known for a bit, looks like she’s setting up some trouble for the good guys. We went into that in great detail here, but long story short: she seems to be pointed at putting together her own team of bad-ish guys. There’s any number of shady analogues she could include – she’s already got John Walker as a Cap stand-in, so she could easily go grab Ghost, Loki, Justin Hammer, and Taskmaster and have a ready made team of Dark Avengers and/or Thunderbolts ready to go for MCU Phase 5.
Speaking of Dark Avengers, why not the boss of the Dark Avengers himself, Norman Osborn? Real Avengers heads remember the time Osborn took the reins of the Marvel clandestine community and formed his own agency (H.A.M.M.E.R.) and his own Avengers team made of dark analogues of the New Avengers (Bullseye for Hawkeye, Venom for Spider-Man, Daken for Wolverine, among many others).
So why not here?
Well I’ll tell you why not: it would be a waste. Norman Osborn is the Green Goblin, the most important Spider-Man villain in comics. He’s done a lot of other stuff (see above), but the core of his existence is as a Spidey bad. To introduce him as something else would be a betrayal of the character. However, he might be closer to the real answer than one would think.
Osborn became the head of the Marvel clandestine services by winning the war against…an invading Skrull army. One that we know from future show announcements is coming, in the form of the Nick Fury-centric Secret Invasion on Disney+.
In fact, Secret Invasion ties a bunch of these theories together. Here’s the idea:
Fury has known about the Skrull invasion for some time – since the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home at least, where in the post-credits scene, we saw him on a space station with his Skrull pals from Captain Marvel.
In the comics, Val played a key role in clueing Fury in to the fact that the Skrulls had infiltrated key positions in various Earth governments. I bet Fury knows the Skrulls are coming and is planting Sharon back in the government to see how deep the infiltration goes. So we get to see Sharon presented as a villain, but at no point is a Carter actually doing anything evil. AND it gives you a convenient handwave for all of the Power Broker’s nonsensical behavior during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It’s win-win-win-win!
What are your theories about what that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier end credits scene means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments!