Seven months later than originally planned, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has dropped its first episode on Disney Plus, which contains an intriguing tease about the show's main villains.
Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the streaming series sees Captain America's closest allies take on a terrorist organisation known as the Flag Smashers, who seek to restore the world to how it was during the five-year "blip".
Little is divulged about the gang or its leaders, but our first encounter with them here makes one thing very clear: they have super powers – and could potentially be the MCU's first mutant characters.
Read on for your full explanation and an alternative theory about where these new foes may have originated from.
Are mutants in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
In the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we are reintroduced to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) as an operative for the US Air Force, who often works alongside fellow serviceman Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez).
Torres is investigating an emerging anarchist group named The Flag Smashers, heading to one of their meetings in Switzerland to get a better idea of their goals and practices.
Shortly after, he learns the hard way that one of the gang's top members has super-strength, when he attempts to place him under arrest and ends up taking a nasty beating.
When he relays this information to Sam, a bruised Torres nervously asks: "You don't think he could be a..."
But Sam interrupts, assuring his ally that he'll "circle back" with more information, seemingly having his own ideas about where next to take the investigation.
It's possible that the missing word at the end of that sentence is "mutant", which would explain where this powerful new player has come from, but there is an alternative option which could also clear things up.
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Who is Power Broker?
The end credits of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier pack a major hint that the series will introduce a well-known comic book villain to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Among the visuals are various worn and ripped posters, one of which ominously reads: "POWER BROKER IS WATCHING."
In the source material, Power Broker is the career criminal Curtiss Jackson, who teams up with scientist Dr Karl Malus to offer superhuman abilities to people for financial gain via technological augmentation.
Troubled comic book hero USAgent/John Walker has come up against the villain multiple times before, which is notable as he also makes his live-action debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (played by Wyatt Russell).
It's possible that Power Broker is the one behind the super powered members of the Flag Smashers, although no one in the announced cast has been assigned that role so we can't be sure that he will appear.
Read our latest The Falcon and the Winter Soldier review, plus learn more about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast and never miss an episode with our The Falcon and the Winter Soldier release schedule.
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