One of the most surprising aspects of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been the reappearance of Sharon Carter, a former ally of Captain America whose life has taken a dark turn in recent years.
Emily VanCamp (Revenge) portrays the former spy, who played a key role in Chris Evans' Captain America trilogy before going off the grid at the end of Civil War.
When she was announced to be returning for Marvel's Disney Plus follow-up, it had been assumed by many fans that she would again be a close ally to the title characters – but the truth is a bit more complicated than that.
While Sharon did assist Sam and Bucky on several occasions over the six-episode series, she is secretly working to her own agenda as the anonymous crime boss known only as Power Broker.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's post-credits scene suggested that, even since her government pardon, Sharon intends to continue down this dangerous new path she has forged.
Read on for everything you need to know about Sharon Carter's journey so far, and where the character could appear next after the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus.
Who is Sharon Carter?
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sharon Carter was introduced in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a SHIELD agent tasked with keeping an eye on Steve Rogers, living in the apartment opposite his.
When SHIELD was exposed as being a front for the terrorist organisation HYDRA, she proved herself as one of the many agents unaware of the evil plot by taking a stand against the crooked Brock Rumlow.
After Captain America and his allies put an end to Project Insight, bringing SHIELD down in the process, she got a job at the CIA where she was stationed at the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre in Berlin.
Captain America: Civil War recap
During the events of Civil War, Sharon and Steve grew closer after the death of Peggy Carter, her great aunt and his wartime love – which influenced her decision to side with him in the conflict that followed.
When Steve went on the run with Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, she secretly met up with the group to return the equipment that had been confiscated from them following their arrest.
It was at this point that Steve and Sharon finally shared a kiss, but their budding romance was not given a chance to bloom as they were both forced to go on the run.
Sadly, Sharon never saw Steve again as he travelled back in time to live out his days with her great aunt instead (awkward), so she was forced to adapt in order to survive.
Building a new life for herself in the lawless land of Madripoor, Sharon is a very different person when she emerges from exile in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
"When we find Sharon, she’s in a pretty dark place,” said Emily VanCamp. "When we first see her, there’s a little bit of anger. She’s tougher, a little raw and rough around the edges — a totally different version of Sharon than what we’ve seen in the films. That’s really interesting to explore."
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Is Sharon Carter the Power Broker?
In the early episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, many references are made to a mysterious crime boss known as Power Broker, who has a reputation for trading in super soldier serum.
Their identity is kept a secret to begin with, but it later becomes apparent that it is none other than Sharon Carter herself, who resorted to a life of crime when she had no other options available.
After she assisted Sam and Bucky in their fight against the Flag Smashers, the new Captain America was able to secure Sharon an official pardon from the US government, allowing her to return home and take back her old intelligence job.
However, the post-credits scene reveals that she has no intention of leaving her criminal life behind, telling one of her associates that she plans to use her new position to bolster their illegal trade.
"Start lining up our buyers," she says down the phone. "Super Soldiers might be off the menu, but we’re about to have full access to government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it. Should be something for everyone."
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It appears that Sharon Carter's story is far from over and fans are now wondering where she could appear next, with the rumoured second season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier being an obvious choice.
While Sam and Bucky remain blissfully unaware of her double life, it's possible that she could be boosted to main villain status when they inevitably stumble upon her criminal enterprise.
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