The true identity of Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s mysterious Madripoor crime boss, the Power Broker, could be an existing character within the MCU.
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, Sam and Bucky learn (with the help of Baron Zemo) about a mysterious criminal businessman known only as the Power Broker. The Power Broker rules over the “kingdom” of Madripoor, a fictional island in the Indonesian archipelago that was once a haven for pirates, and is now a global hub of shady activity within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvel Comics there are two characters who have used the “Power Broker” alias. The original was slick businessman Curtiss Jackson, who created a corporation called Power Broker, Inc. As the name suggests, Power Broker, Inc. is in the business of selling superpowers through means such as the super-soldier serum. After Jackson’s death in the comics a new Power Broker emerged, this time with superpowers of his own, but almost nothing is known about the new Power Broker’s origins – not even his real name.
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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s version of the Power Broker has been referred to with male pronouns, but that doesn’t mean much given that very few people seem to know his true identity. It’s also likely that (as in the comics) “Power Broker” is a mantle that can be passed down from person to person. With all that in mind, here are the best theories about which Marvel characters could be the Power Broker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
By far the most popular and credible theory is that Sharon Carter will be revealed as the Power Broker. After Sam, Bucky and Zemo pass by “Power Broker is Watching” graffiti to enter the Princess Bar, a hood-wearing Sharon is seen ducking into the crowd. When they meet with Selby, someone with lethal aim shoots her through the window and almost immediately the Power Broker puts out a bounty for the trio. Sharon is conveniently placed to rescue them from the pursuing bounty hunters, and then takes them to her lavish apartment in Madripoor. Clearly Sharon is thriving in her new life as an outlaw – and she may well be more than just an art dealer.
Sharon has become disillusioned and embittered towards superheroes, loudly condemning them for their “hypocrisy.” She also has reason to hold a grudge against Zemo, whose manipulations behind the scenes in Captain America: Civil War led to Sharon being forced to go on the run. Since Sharon knew that Sam, Bucky and Zemo came to the Princess Bar looking for Selby, she may well have killed the fence for betraying the Power Broker’s secrets. Sharon was also able to ascertain the location of Dr. Wilfred Nagel’s laboratory surprisingly quickly at her party, perhaps because she knew where it was all along. Sharon could even be working together with Zemo, and could have given him instructions to kill Dr. Nagel. Zemo shot Nagel as soon as Sharon entered the laboratory; perhaps he did so in order to prevent the scientist from identifying Sharon as the Power Broker.
This theory fits with Sharon’s final appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3. After bidding farewell to the trio and reminding Sam of their deal to get her a pardon, a woman arrives to pick her up. As she gets into the car, Sharon says, “We’ve got a big problem. Actually a couple of them.” If the two big problems she’s referring to are Sam and Bucky (because of their interference in her dealings as the Power Broker), she may not be counting Zemo as a problem because he’s operating as her agent.
If The Falcon and the Winter Soldier sticks close to the comic books, the Power Broker could simply be revealed as the MCU’s version of Curtiss Jackson. In the comics Jackson was originally a leader within the global criminal organization known only as the Corporation, which operated all sorts of illegal schemes and businesses. Jackson then began to focus all of his attention on making money in the business of superpowers, founding Power Broker, Inc. and establishing himself as the main Power Broker. Jackson eventually tried to augment his own body, but the process went awry and he became so grotesquely muscular that he couldn’t physically move his own limbs, and had to wear an exoskeleton. Curtiss is worth mentioning as the original Power Broker from comics canon, but would be a rather boring choice for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s version of the character.
One Marvel character who seems likely to return in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. He first appeared in one of the very first MCU movies, The Incredible Hulk, in which Ross recruited Bruce Banner into his efforts to recreate the World War II super-soldier serum. Since then he has acted as one of the Avengers‘ main contacts within the U.S. government, lecturing the superhero team for their messy large-scale battles in Captain America: Civil War, and (unsuccessfully) commanding Rhodey to arrest the fugitive Captain America, Falcon and Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War. Ross was one of the billions of people who disappeared during The Blip, and was last seen at Tony Stark’s funeral.
So, why would Thaddeus Ross go from his straight-laced job at the Department of State to a role as a crime kingpin on an island in Indonesia? Perhaps because the “Power Broker” of Madripoor is actually the U.S. government itself. A major inspiration for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the comic miniseries Truth: Red, White and Black, whose story was focused on highly unethical super soldier experiments carried out and covered up by the U.S. government. Dr. Nagel said that at one point he was developing a super-soldier serum for the CIA – but what if he never stopped? By moving the research to Madripoor and creating the figurehead of the Power Broker, the government could carry out unscrupulous experiments that violate the Sokovia Accords, all the while maintaining plausible deniability. And a high-ranking official like Thunderbolt Ross, who has previous experience leading a super-soldier project, would be exactly the kind of man to oversee operations in Madripoor.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier effectively serves as another Captain America movie sequel, following up on plot threads and characters from The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier and Civil War. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see a villain from the first two Captain America movies back a comeback. Arnim Zola was a German scientist who originally worked for the Red Skull and got a job with S.H.I.E.L.D. after the war – which he used to secretly raise HYDRA from the ashes and poison S.H.I.E.L.D. from within. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff discovered that Zola had evaded death by uploading his consciousness into a computer. The specific computer that he spoke to them on was destroyed, but a man like Zola was almost certainly smart enough to have a back-up.
From the tablets Sharon uses to negotiate her art details to the text message sent out declaring the bounty, much of the criminal goings-on in Madripoor actually happen on a digital landscape. The Power Broker being a brain inside a computer would certainly explain why his identity is such a closely-guarded secret.
If there’s one thing the Power Broker and Zemo have in common, it’s wealth. The Sokovian supervillain’s return in Falcon and the Winter Soldier was soon followed by him giving them a tour of his collection of expensive cars, before inviting them for a ride on his private jet. And although Zemo has been behind bars ever since he was apprehended by Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, the combination of deep pockets and a sharp mind mean that he could very well have been pulling strings even while he was in prison. Through proxies and agents, Zemo could keep the denizens of Madripoor convinced that the “Power Broker” was among them and watching them, despite being locked up thousands of miles away.
As for his motivations for developing a new super-soldier serum, it’s possible that Zemo’s hate for people with superpowers is just an act. He did kill HYDRA’s five Winter Soldiers in Siberia, but they were put in suspended animation precisely because they were considered “failed” test subjects. Dr. Nagel boasts that his serum is more subtle and refined than previous versions; perhaps Zemo rejected HYDRA’s ready-made super soldiers because he wanted to create better soldiers of his own.
More: Falcon & The Winter Soldier: Every MCU Easter Egg In Episode 3
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- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
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