The cast of characters for Marvel’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is slowly being revealed, but there’s one seemingly major character we’ve yet to see on screen. The Power Broker has been referenced in the show multiple times, most recently in the third episode, fittingly titled “Power Broker,” and we know the character is connected to the super-soldier serum that Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Buckey Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) are looking to track down.
While the Power Broker in the show appears to be an individual, the comics iteration is a bit less straightforward. Power Broker, Inc. is a company founded by Curtiss Jackson, who also takes up the name Power Broker as his alias. Created by Sal Buscema, Roger McKenzie and Roger Stem, Power Broker is a supervillain in Marvel Comics who primarily has run-ins with Captain America and his allies.
Super Strength for Sale
A businessman to his core, Jackson partners with scientist Karl Malus to experiment with ways to enhance an individual’s strength. Upon beginning work with Malus, Jackson makes deals with members of the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation, which is only open to those with super-strength, and offers to augment a wrestler’s strength. In return, those wrestlers worked and made money for Power Broker, who also got them addicted to a drug to further their dependency on him. These experiments didn’t have a high success rate and many of the subjects died or suffered severe deformities.
Seeking to increase his profitability and labor supply, Jackson then began to use the strength augmentation to create super-powered bodyguards, known as Power Tools, and a group of loyal henchmen called the Sweat Shop to help protect his business. Power Broker’s methods also lead to the creation of several villains and some notable superheroes such as US Agent, Battlestar and Ms. Marvel. Jackson did try to enhance his own strength, but the experiment backfired and left him too muscle-bound for functional movement.
John Walker, who is the hero US Agent in the comics, has been introduced in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” as the MCU’s next Captain America. We’ve also been introduced to Lemar Hoskins in the show, who takes on the mantle Battlestar. There is some speculation that Walker is already an enhanced super-soldier on the show, but given how he receives his enhanced strength in the comics, a showdown with the Power Broker seems inevitable.
If Walker and Hoskins are not yet enhanced, the MCU may shed greater light on the exact experimentation the Power Broker does on his subjects. In the show, the Power Broker is located in Madripoor, a shady hotbed of criminal activity, and we already know that people are hard at work trying to replicate the super-soldier serum.
It’s also unclear exactly what iteration of the Power Broker exists in the MCU, because there are two people who have gone by that alias in the comics. Jackson ultimately meets his demise at the hands of The Punisher, and an unknown individual begins to then use the name Power Broker. Very little is known about this new Power Broker. He can project bolts of energy from his hands and takes control of Power Broker, Inc. Now running the show, this new Power Broker invested in the Heavy App, which allows anyone to quickly hire a supervillain. He later developed the Heavy X App, which allowed any individual to become a supervillain.
With two Power Brokers having existed in comics canon, one much less known than the other, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” has some options it can play with in bringing the character to the screen.
Have We Already Met the Power Broker?
A popular fan theory that popped up after the “Power Broker” episode is that the character has already been introduced but not been referred to as the Power Broker. This theory centers squarely around Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who makes her debut in the episode and has a much more jaded sense of the superhero game.
“Look, you know the whole hero thing is a joke, right,” Carter asks Wilson during the episode. “The way you gave up that shield, deep down, you must know it’s all hypocrisy.”
That sentiment means Carter has certainly changed since we last saw her in “Captain America: Civil War.” A change in personality was always what the show had in mind for Carter, but could she truly have become the Power Broker?
“She is flipped,” showrunner Malcolm Spellman told TV Line. “If the fans watch Civil War, they can fill in the blanks on what Sharon probably had to deal with. And so, when we meet Sharon, she has definitely evolved. She has definitely grown up. I think fans are gonna love her, just her energy is so different now.”
The episode does provide some material for fans to latch on to if they believe Carter is actually the Power Broker. Just before Wilson and Barnes learn information about the Power Broker from a woman named Selby, a sniper shoots Selby through a window. As Wilson and Barnes then try to escape from pursuers, a sniper shoots the attackers from an upper window. Moments later, Carter walks out from behind a building and confronts Wilson, Barnes and Zemo (Daniel Bruhl).
It’s the final scene, however, that really got people talking. After fighting alongside Wilson, Barnes and Zemo as they seek information about the super-soldier serum near the end of the episode, Carter is picked up by a mysterious chauffeur in a nice car. She tells the chauffeur “We’ve got a big problem. Actually, a couple of them. I’ll tell you in the car. Let’s go.” Carter spends much of her time with Wilson and Barnes dancing away from details about her life in Madripoor, and they could very well be the problem she refers to.
It’s clear that Carter is a much more complex and shadowy character in the series, which makes it possible that she has, in fact, become the Power Broker. Whether or not that’s the case, she is certainly up to something behind the scenes.