Run, don’t walk to see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”! While the first “Captain America” film released in 2011 left a lot to be desired, directors Joe and Anthony Russo flood this follow-up sequel with thrills and chills, giving Captain America a solid foothold in the Marvel movie franchise. Chris Evans brings wit and warmth as the First Avenger, and Sebastian Stan gives a star-making performance as the mysterious Winter Soldier.
The Captain America sequel also introduces us to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a military vet who teams up with Cap to unravel a secret conspiracy to take down Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and S.H.IE.L.D.
How much do we know about this new winged avenger? We’ve tracked down five very interesting facts to shore up your fanboy cred:
1. Before Luke Cage and John Stewart (Green Lantern), there was The Falcon
Introduced in the “Captain America” comics in September 1969, The Falcon has the distinction of being the first African-American superhero featured in the mainstream comic world. Co-creator Gene Colan shared his inspiration for creating the character:
“I enjoyed drawing people of every kind. I drew as many different types of people as I could into the scenes I illustrated, and I loved drawing black people. I always found their features interesting and so much of their strength, spirit and wisdom written on their faces. I approached Stan, as I remember, with the idea of introducing an African-American hero and he took to it right away. … I looked at several African-American magazines, and used them as the basis of inspiration for bringing The Falcon to life”
2. Falcon is not about that BBF (Best Black Friend) Life
While any superhero worth his salt would be proud to be part of one of the most powerful organizations, Falcon quit the Avengers when he realized he was recruited by government liaison Henry Peter Gyrich as a “token” to fill a mandated racial quota.
3. Falcon has been Captain America!
A Black Captain America? Yes indeed! Falcon has the honor of being the only black person to wear the Captain America costume. In the “Sentinels of Liberty” storyline (1999), The Falcon stepped in when Steve Rogers is believed to be dead. When Rogers urges Falcon to carry on in the role, Falcon refuses, uncomfortable with the Captain America mantle.
4. Falcon’s wings were designed by The Black Panther
When Falcon’s original flying harness is destroyed in a battle against the villanous Anti-Cap (“Captain America and The Falcon” 2004), Black Panther steps and outfits Falcon with a new costume and wings. The new upgrades included:
- “Hard light” wings with a maximum wingspan of up to 50 feet (15 m). Controlled by a cybernetic link, the wings can be instantly reconfigured into “dozens of different cruise configurations.”
- GPS Jamming Devices that prevent satellite tracking, while the hard-light wings interfere with infra-red tracking.
- Vibranium microweave was added to the costume itself, making Falcon resistant to small arms fire. The entire system is controlled mentally through cybernetic circuitry in the Falcon’s mask.
5. Falcon had a very shady past
Before he became the Falcon, Sam Wilson was on a very dark and dangerous path. When both his parents are killed within years of each other, Wilson, a preacher’s kid from Harlem, turns to a life of crime. Adopting the name “Snap Wilson” he moves to Los Angeles, becoming a professional criminal and pimp. On his way to “a big score in De Janeiro” Wilson’s plan crashes on Exile Island, where he would meet Captain America.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens in theaters today!