Spoiler Alert: This article contains mild spoilers for the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Redemption stories: Film and TV are full of them. Heck, even stories that start off with the happiest of happy-go-lucky characters somehow end up turning into gritty tales of redemption that pit the protagonist against impossible odds to feel better about the things that they've done.
OK, well that might be a little too intense, but that's certainly the case for some Marvel flicks and now The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And that tale of redemption has everything to do with who Yori Nakajima is.
Who is Yori in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'?
While the whole "fighting for redemption" trope is one that's painfully misapplied in certain Marvel flicks (*cough* Hawkeye's whole "Ronin" arc *cough cough*) The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does a pretty great job of Bucky (Sebastian Stan) trying to walk that "I need to make up for this" line in his relationship with Yori (Ken Takemoto), an older man who is grieving the death of his son.
While Bucky and Yori have a great little friendship going between the two of them, you just know, as a viewer, that things aren't going to really end up too well with these guys. That's because Bucky appears to try really hard to make things better for the older man — after all, he murdered his kid.
That's right, the innocent bystander that Bucky keeps having nightmares of from back in his Winter Soldier days is Yori's son. It's unknown as to whether or not Yori's going to be a major character in the series, or maybe he'll ultimately end up being an emotional force behind Bucky's development throughout the series that will help him to overcome the guilt of being turned into a weaponized murderer.
Whatever he's being used for, the show has successfully set up an intriguing relationship arch between both Bucky and Yori. What's interesting about Bucky is that due to his Soviet reprogramming and handy-dandy Infinity Formula they injected him with — their version of the Super Soldier Serum — Bucky has all of the anti-aging properties of Captain America.
No, he wasn't encased in ice and didn't fight a charred-face Nazi, but he has ultimately experienced more than a couple of lifetimes of extreme trauma, and that also explains why he and Yori are pals.
Who is Torres in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'?
Fans were introduced to a few new characters that may become a big part of the MCU and Torres is one of them. Played by Danny Ramirez, he's constantly admiring the way Falcon (Anthony Mackie) flies through the air while carrying out missions, and right off the bat the show establishes that the two of them have a great working relationship.
Torres provides key intel into the Flag-Smashers organization to Sam, who appreciates all of the work that the young soldier does. This has got a lot of people thinking that Torres may become the "next" Falcon at some point in the MCU — like when Sam ends up taking up the shield as Captain America.
Who plays the "new" Captain America in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'? And is John Walker U.S. Agent?
All right, so you might've noticed that the U.S. government is all about getting their symbol of freedom, liberty, and the American way up and running again, which must be why they decided to enlist John Walker, who Marvel comics fans might recognize as U.S. Agent. U.S. Agent ultimately ends up becoming a rival to Captain America and isn't so happy with the way things are being run in the country.
Wyatt Russell, the actor who plays John Walker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, revealed in an interview that there's a lot of complexity attributed to this new Captain America. "He's a complicated character. That's what drew me to him. It'll be fun seeing how all three of these guys interact in terms of what their identity is. I think that I can safely say that it's a show about identity and what it means to each specific person," he told EW.
The show's lead writer, Malcolm Spellman, says that John Walker is being used as a means of "explor[ing] privilege" as John is a character who, on paper, has "done everything he's supposed to do" and he expects to now be rewarded for that. "The truth is, life isn't fair and just being the best and doing what's right does not mean that your journey is going to go accordingly," Malcolm says.
New episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier air every Friday on Disney+.