The Falcon and The Winter Soldier star, Erin Kellyman, who plays Karli Morgenthau, leader of the Flag-Smashers, says the villain only seeks unity.
In the comics, Flag-Smasher is a single individual without an organization backing him up. Karl Morgenthau is the embittered son of a murdered diplomat who uses violence to force change. An enemy of Captain America, Morgenthau is funded by a massive inheritance that his bank-robbing television counterpart does not have. The series integrates Flag-Smasher’s ideals into the MCU, portraying Morgenthau as an inspirational leader with a global anarchist movement at her discretion.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Kellyman related her personal belief that Morgenthau seeks unity first. The Flag-Smashers carry out illegal activities as freedom fighters set on returning the world to the state of unity that came about when the Blip erased half of the population and the survivors “kind of stuck together a little bit more.” Kellyman reflected on the shared trauma of the survivors and how there’s some nuance to Morgenthau – “It’s not so simple as being black and white.” Read her thoughts in her own words below:
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I was actually very lucky that I got to speak to [director] Kari [Skogland] and [co-executive producer] Zoie [Nagelhout], as well. Both of them made me feel like we had time to talk things through and talk about my character and her backstory quite a bit, which is obviously so helpful, as well as having the script as well, which is very helpful. I feel like Karli felt like people were more unified when there was half of everybody had gone, that people came together because they needed to. And they were obviously going through a lot of trauma, so people kind of stuck together a little bit more. There was a lot more unity there, and I think that’s what she’s trying to get back to. I hope that people understand her. So, I guess, if you’re understanding someone, then you may be rooting for them. There’s a lot of layers to Karli and I think it… yeah. It’s not so simple as being black and white. She’s this middle section, you know?
Showrunner Malcolm Spellman seems to agree with Kellyman, calling Morgenthau the glue that holds the show together. The Blip is so far the central event around which all of Phase Four revolves. Thanos believed that by erasing half of the population, he was saving the Universe from the fate of his overpopulated home planet. Until the Flag-Smashers entered the scene, we’ve not been able to fully explore the viewpoint of those who supported his decision.
Given the nuance to the Flag-Smashers’ goals and Morgenthau herself, the growing theory that they aren’t truly the villains of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier gains more traction. They appear to be at odds with Power Broker, a villain closely associated with the government replacement for Captain America, John Walker/U.S. Agent. As the government seeks to control the image and actions of Captain America’s successor, the eponymous heroes may come to understand the impetus behind the anti-nationalist Flag-Smashers’ goals.
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