Falcon (comics)

Falcon (Samuel Thomas Wilson) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was introduced by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan in Captain America #117 (September 1969), and was the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books.[1][2]

Sam Wilson as Falcon, accompanied by his pet falcon Redwing
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceAs Falcon:
Captain America #117 (September 1969)
As Captain America:
All-New Captain America #1 (November 2014)
Created byStan Lee
Gene Colan
In-story information
Alter egoSamuel Thomas "Sam" Wilson
Team affiliationsAvengers
"Defenders for a Day"
Heroes for Hire
Mighty Avengers
Avengers Unity Squad
PartnershipsCaptain America
Bucky Barnes
Notable aliases"Snap" Wilson, Falcon, Blackwing, Blackbird, Captain America
AbilitiesExcellent bird trainer
Skilled martial artist and gymnast
Flight via wing harness
Empathic link with pet falcon
Limited control over birds
Ability to see through the eyes of nearby birds

As the superhero Falcon, Wilson uses mechanical wings to fly, and has limited telepathic and empathic control over birds. Following Steve Rogers's retirement, Wilson becomes the newest Captain America in All-New Captain America #1 (January 2015) and leader of the Avengers. Wilson's deceased nephew was the Incredible Hulk's sometime-sidekick Jim Wilson, one of the first openly HIV-positive comic-book characters. Jim Wilson's father Gideon Wilson would go on to join the Gamma Corps.

Anthony Mackie portrays Sam Wilson / Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Mackie will reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2020).

Publication history

Samuel Thomas Wilson, known as the Falcon, was the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books,.[1][2][lower-alpha 1] The character first appeared in Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969).[3]

Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan,[3] he came about, Colan recalled in 2008,

...in the late 1960s [when news of the] Vietnam War and civil rights protests were regular occurrences, and Stan, always wanting to be at the forefront of things, started bringing these headlines into the comics. ... One of the biggest steps we took in this direction came in Captain America. I enjoyed drawing people of every kind. I drew as many different types of people as I could into the scenes I illustrated, and I loved drawing black people. I always found their features interesting and so much of their strength, spirit and wisdom written on their faces. I approached Stan, as I remember, with the idea of introducing an African-American hero and he took to it right away. ... I looked at several African-American magazines, and used them as the basis of inspiration for bringing The Falcon to life.[4]

He was introduced as an unnamed former resident of New York City's Harlem neighborhood, who had adopted a wild falcon he trained and named Redwing. (His own name, Sam Wilson, was not given until page five of the following issue.) When a group of men on an island "in the tropics" wanted a hunting falcon, Wilson answered the ad, only to discover that the self-dubbed "Exiles" were former Nazis in league with the supervillain the Red Skull. He escaped, but remained on the island to organize the natives to confront the Exiles, who had turned them into serfs. At the urging of Steve Rogers, whom he later learned was Captain America, Wilson took on the costumed identity of the Falcon and underwent training with Rogers in order to better inspire the villagers and lead the fight.[5]

Through most of the 1970s, the Falcon and Captain America were a team in New York City, and the series was cover-billed Captain America and the Falcon from issues #134–192 and 194–222 (February 1971 – June 1978),[6] though still copyrighted as Captain America. In issue #186 (June 1975), writer Steve Englehart retconned aspects of the Falcon's past. Originally depicted as a former social worker, motivated by a desire to better the lives of inner-city youth, the Falcon was revealed as a mob-connected thug whose memories were altered by the reality-warping Cosmic Cube.

The Falcon briefly joined the superhero team the Defenders, appearing in issues #62–64 (August–October 1978), and was a member of the Avengers from issues #183–194 (May 1979 – April 1980). During this time he also starred in a solo adventure in issue #49 of the try-out series Marvel Premiere; however, the story was not a try-out for a Falcon series, but an intended fill-in issue of Captain America which was shuffled into Marvel Premiere when the editors objected to having an issue of Captain America with someone other than the title character as the star.[7] He starred in his own four-issue miniseries in 1983, written by Jim Owsley. Its first issue was illustrated by Paul Smith with the final three issues by Mark Bright. The series revealed that the Falcon was a mutant, although this development was later retconned in the Avengers 2001 Annual.[8]

After regularly appearing in Captain America vol. 2 (November 1996 – November 1997), the Falcon rejoined the Avengers in The Avengers vol. 3, #1 (February 1998). This time, he remained with the team, becoming one of its most prominent members by issue #57 (Oct. 2002). Concurrently, he was also a supporting character in Captain America vols. 3–4 (January 1998 – February 2002 and June 2002 – December 2004). The Falcon next appeared in the short-lived Captain America and the Falcon series, in 2004 and 2005. After the events of the storyline "Avengers Disassembled", when the Scarlet Witch temporarily restored his criminal personality, the Falcon became a supporting character in Captain America vol. 5 (January 2005 – July 2009). The Falcon continued to play a significant role in the series after it returned to its original numbering, beginning with Captain America #600 (Aug. 2009).

Falcon was a member of the Avengers in the 2012 Marvel NOW! relaunch.[9]

On July 16, 2014 Marvel Comics announced that Sam Wilson would relinquish the mantle of Falcon and would become the new Captain America, succeeding Steve Rogers in the role.[10] An ongoing series starring Sam Wilson as Captain America launched in October 2015, as part of Marvel's post-Secret Wars relaunch, written by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuña.[11]

Wilson temporarily returns to the role of Captain America in the 2017 miniseries Marvel's Generations.[12]

Wilson resumed the identity of Falcon in a series written by Rodney Barnes that debuted in late 2017, the character's first solo series since 1983.[13][14]

Fictional character biography

Early life

Samuel Thomas Wilson was born in Harlem, New York City, to Paul Wilson, a prominent minister, and Darlene Wilson. Wilson has a happy childhood and finds he has a natural affinity for birds. He takes up training pigeons, and has the largest pigeon coop in Harlem.[15] In his teens, however, encounters with racism leave him jaded.[16] When he is 16, Wilson refuses to join the church, believing his deeply religious parents to be ignorant for their faith. To his surprise, rather than put up a fight, his parents provide him with books on different religions and comparative theology. The next night, however, Sam's father is killed trying to break up a neighborhood fight (originally Paul was said to have been killed when Sam was 9 years old).[17] Two years later, his mother is shot and killed by a mugger one block from their apartment. Consumed by grief and "angry at the world" Sam turns his back on his past as a respected community volunteer. He moves to Los Angeles and creates a new persona: "Snap" Wilson, a professional criminal and gang member.[18][19]

While Snap is on his way to "a big score in Rio de Janeiro", his plane crashes on Exile Island (years later, he would say "I actually loved this place quite a bit. It's where I met my two best friends," referring to Captain America and Redwing).[20] The once-peaceful island had been taken over by the Exiles, a group of would-be world conquerors who had collaborated with the Nazi supervillain the Red Skull during World War II. They had been betrayed by the Red Skull and were forced to remain in hiding on the island, enslaving the natives. Wilson finds and befriends Redwing, a falcon with which he feels a remarkably strong bond.[21]

Becoming the Falcon

As part of a plot against Captain America, the Red Skull uses the Cosmic Cube, a creation that allows its user to alter reality, to mentally fuse Wilson with Redwing, creating a "super-normal mental link" that would, with time and concentration, give Wilson broad powers over all birds.[22][23] Next, the Skull uses the Cube to rewrite the past and erase the years Wilson had spent angrily living as Snap Wilson. In this new history, Wilson was an upright and cheerful social worker who is eventually lured to the Exiles' island and organizes the natives to fight for their freedom. Steve Rogers (Captain America) befriends him there and convinces Wilson to adopt a persona to inspire the natives in their rebellion. The two create the costumed persona the Falcon and train together extensively before attacking and defeating the Exiles and the Red Skull.[15] The Falcon becomes Captain America's regular partner in crime-fighting,[24] and briefly even takes on the Captain America costume and identity when Rogers is believed to have been killed.[25]

Later, again as the Falcon, Wilson receives help from the Black Panther, who creates a harness for Wilson, allowing him to fly.[26] When Rogers briefly abandons his Captain America identity, others attempt to take up the mantle, including a young man named Roscoe whom the Falcon mentors. When the Red Skull eventually kills Roscoe, Rogers again becomes Captain America.[27]

Soon afterward, the Red Skull reveals the Falcon's true past as Snap Wilson, and unsuccessfully attempts to use the Cosmic Cube to make the Falcon kill Captain America.[28] Now aware of his past but deciding to continue as a hero, the Falcon is eventually named head of the Super Agents at the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D..[29]

US government superhero liaison Henry Peter Gyrich then recruits Wilson, one of the few active black superheroes, to fill a mandated racial quota for the venerable team the Avengers.[30] Resentful of being a "token", the Falcon quits at the first opportunity. He debuts a new costume when he fights the supervillain Taskmaster.[31]


Falcon becomes a member of the new team of Avengers assembled to fight the international menace Scorpio as a United Nations peacekeeping agency. By this point, Falcon had discovered that he could extend his telepathic bond with Redwing, allowing him to control other birds and "see" through their eyes. He uses this ability to spy on Henry Gyrich (now the Avengers' liaison with the United Nations) and discovers that the United States' Secretary of Defense, Dell Rusk, has been pressuring Gyrich to spy on the Avengers and turn over their secrets. Although initially hostile to one another, Falcon convinces Gyrich to help the Avengers spy on Rusk, feeding him false information while gathering evidence to expose him. They discover that Rusk is actually the Red Skull, who has launched a biological weapon attack on America, intending to use the ensuing panic to gain control over America's government and start a war with other countries. Falcon is instrumental in defeating the Red Skull.[32]

It is around this period of time that, a new "Captain America" secretly created by the Office of Naval Intelligence (O.N.I.) goes rogue and begins eliminating anything and anyone he sees as a source of terrorism. To draw out this agent (dubbed "The Anti-Cap"), O.N.I. leaks information about their involvement in a biological weapons project with the notorious Rivas Family, powerful Cuban drug lords. Reporter and social activist Leila Taylor investigates this rumor and attempts to smuggle a sample of the virus into America, but she is arrested by U.S. forces in Cuba. Falcon, who is a friend of Taylor, breaks her out of prison and investigates her claims, destroying the Rivas Family's biological weapons lab and obtaining a sample of the mysterious virus they were developing for O.N.I. Falcon is able to fly Leila back to America (although his flying harness is destroyed in a hurricane) while Captain America follows Falcon's directions and retrieves the virus sample. The Anti-Cap kills the head of the Rivas family, and pursues Leila, Falcon, and Cap, intent on obtaining the virus sample. After reuniting, Falcon and Captain America are able to barely defeat the Anti-Cap. Realizing that O.N.I.'s goal was to draw out their rogue agent to execute him, Captain America arranges to have the Anti-Cap secretly imprisoned in the Wakandan embassy until O.N.I. agrees not to kill him.[33]

Since Captain America and Falcon now possess both O.N.I.'s rogue agent and the last remaining sample of O.N.I.'s virus, O.N.I. begins to put increasing amounts of pressure on the heroes. Falcon is especially targeted – he had broken Leila out of Federal Custody, and his criminal history makes it easier for O.N.I. to create further false charges against him. Falcon soon finds himself on the run from O.N.I.

Meanwhile, the superheroine the Scarlet Witch, having gone insane, begins using her powers to re-create many of the Avengers' greatest trials and tragedies. She destabilizes the Falcon's mind, causing him to act increasingly like his "Snap" persona. He begins carrying a gun, keeps secrets from his friends, assaults Leila's boyfriend Norman when he protests they go into hiding, and uses a high power rifle to shoot at his friend Robbie Robertson (to fool Robbie into thinking O.N.I. was threatening to kill him). Although they succeed in exposing the illegal activities of O.N.I. and clear Wilson's name, Sam's methods cause his relationship with Captain America to become strained. Cap confronts Falcon about his recent actions, and Falcon, angered at what he sees as an ultimatum, terminates their partnership. As they are walking away, Norman (who blames Falcon for the end of his relationship with Leila) appears and shoots at Falcon. Captain America is seriously injured by the stray bullets, and even appears to die. The shock of watching his best friend seemingly die because of his actions has a powerful effect on Sam, who briefly gives up being Falcon and reexamines his life.[34]

Sam Wilson reappears as Falcon in the 2005 "House of M" storyline and in the 2006–07 "Civil War" storyline.[35] In the latter, he supports Captain America against the Superhuman Registration Act. When the Captain becomes incapacitated, Falcon temporarily assumes leadership of the "Secret Avengers" rebel group.[36] Following Captain America's assassination by the machinations of the Red Skull, the Falcon registers with the government and is made responsible for Harlem, although he continues to maintain contact with the underground New Avengers.[37] He is also called upon to investigate the Captain's assassination by locating Winter Soldier and tracking down the Red Skull.[38]

Becoming Captain America

Wilson appears in the 2010 "Shadowland" storyline as Falcon, after which he becomes an operative in the new incarnation of the Heroes for Hire team, in the book of the same name.[39] He later appears in the 2012 "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline, helping She-Hulk and several other Avengers contain the students at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.[40]

As part of the 2012 - 2015 Marvel NOW! relaunch, Wilson rejoins the Avengers after Iron Man and Captain America choose to expand the team's line-up.[41] After Rogers is aged into an old man, he appoints Wilson as his 'official' replacement as Captain America.[42] During a confrontation with the Red Skull's daughter Sin, it is revealed that the "Snap" identity was a fake memory implanted into Sam by the Red Skull in an attempt to discredit the hero through racism.[43]

As part of the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative, Captain America investigated the disappearance of Mexican teenager Joaquin Torres after he was abducted by the Sons of the Serpent.[44] After fighting Armadillo and capturing the leader of the hate group,[45] Captain America discovered that Joaquin was being used in the experiments of Karl Malus who turned Joaquin into a bird/human hybrid using Captain America's pet bird Redwing. When Karl Malus was defeated, Captain America took Joaquin in.[46] When it was discovered Joaquin's bird/human hybrid condition wasn't temporary, Captain America learned from Claire Temple that Joaquin's condition was permanent due to Redwing being vampiric and sporting a healing factor.[47] When Captain America was captured by the Serpent Society and thrown out the window by Viper, he was saved by Joaquin.[48] Using his link with Redwing, Captain America telepathically sent Joaquin the knowledge on how to fight where he held his own until Misty Knight and Demolition Man showed up. After the Serpent Society was defeated, Captain America allowed Joaquin to become his sidekick, enabling him to become the new Falcon.[49]

During the 2016 "Avengers: Standoff!" storyline, Sam, after defeating the Green Skull, is contacted by Whisperer (an alias of Rick Jones). After meeting Whisperer, he learns that S.H.I.E.L.D. never discarded the Kobik project as he thought they did. He meets with Steve Rogers, where they follow a lead to a town in Connecticut and are later picked up by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.[50] He then meets the Winter Soldier and rescue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Avril Kincaid from the Blood Brothers, who informs them of a super-weapon hidden in the town that Baron Zemo and the other villains are looking for. They then head to the bowling alley where Kobik uses her powers to restore Steve Rogers to his prime when he was about to be killed by Crossbones. They begin looking for Kobik again only to discover that Baron Zemo had Fixer invent a device that would help find Kobik as Kraven the Hunter rallies the villains to help with their goals. Upon not being able to successfully locate Kobik, Steve Rogers decides to rally the heroes so that they can take the fight to Baron Zemo.[51] In the aftermath of the incident, Steve and Sam plan to keep what happened at Pleasant Hill under wraps at the time being.[52]

After the "Standoff!" storyline, Sam begins to face public pressure to return the shield and mantle of Captain America to Steve, as does Maria Hill for the consequences of her actions on Pleasant Hill. He and Steve then begin to secretly plan for a way to get Hill to face her crimes publicly. During a press conference, Sam encounters the mercenary Chance who was about to kill Steve in the middle of his speech. After defeating him, Sam receives a hero's welcome when Steve announces him to the public as Captain America. While getting arrested, Chance tells Sam that he was on Pleasant Hill and that he didn't agree with the heroes' actions.[53]

During the 2016 "Civil War II" storyline, Captain America attends War Machine's funeral, where he delivers an inspirational speech. He then has private conversations with Iron Man and Captain Marvel, over which side he should choose. Months later, Wilson watches a TV broadcast about former New Warrior Rage engaging in a fight with the Americops, a private police force funded by Keane Industries, in Brooklyn. Intending to stop the fight, Wilson, along with Redwing and Falcon, try to contain the situation. Sam manages to stop the fight, although not without fighting the Americops, for which he knew the media would portray him negatively. As he leaves, he is attacked from behind by U.S. Agent. After a brief argument, Captain America and U.S. Agent begin to fight, with U.S. Agent gaining the upper hand, until Sam drags him into a tunnel where the darkness and the great horned owls that reside in it allow him to win the fight. After defeating U.S. Agent and receiving an argument from Rage, Wilson returns to his headquarters where he decides to put a tiny implant in his brain that will enhance his ability to see what birds see, enabling him to transmit them into a data storage facility that converts them into images and videos. He decides to further investigate the Americops to find proof of their violent activities.[54]

While accompanying Steve Rogers on a mission to stop Flag-Smasher's latest assault, Wilson fails to save a senator from being shot by the villain, further compromising his current public image. This is subsequently revealed to have been deliberately staged by Rogers who has been converted to believe he is a Hydra sleeper agent since childhood. Using his greater familiarity with the shield, Rogers deliberately put Wilson in a position where he would be unable to use the shield to save the senator, with the final goal of demoralizing Sam to the point where he will return the shield to Rogers of his own free will (not wanting to kill Wilson and risk creating a martyr).[55]

After discovering that Rage was arrested and accused of robbing a pawn shop which Man Mountain Marko and Speed Demon committed, Sam offers him professional help from other heroes, but Rage turns it down, preferring that he should be the one to prove his innocence. After consulting with his brother and Rogers, Sam posts a video on the internet showing footage of the Americops beating up Rage, exposing their violent activities. During Rage's trial, a frustrated Sam leaves the courtroom and captures Speed Demon, who confesses to his and Man Mountain Marko's involvement in the pawn shop robbery. Upon returning to the court, Misty tells Sam that the verdict was already given. While people protest over Rage's arrest, Sam tries his best to calm them. Sam leaves a letter which explains he is ending his role as Captain America and returning the shield to Steve Rogers[56]

During the 2017 "Secret Empire" storyline, Sam has spent time alone in a desert and returns to the city where he discovers Hydra's takeover of America and that Steve Rogers is their leader. Sam rescues a woman and her Inhuman daughter from Hydra enforcers, Sam reluctantly helps them to safety. He reunites with Misty Knight and Demolition Man and helps smuggle other Inhumans out of the country. He helps Ant-Man smuggle his daughter Cassandra Lang then declines their offer to join the underground resistance.[57] When Hawkeye and the Tony Stark A.I. reveal that Kobik was responsible for Steve's change, Sam agrees to help smuggle them out of the country so they can find the Cosmic Cube's fragments.[58] Sam takes the group through an abandoned subway tunnel where they encounter Mole Man, with whom Sam strikes a deal when they are attacked by Dreadnoughts sent by Hydra. After crossing the tunnel, the group departs in a jet plane.[59] They arrive in a mansion where Ultron resides, since he is in possession of the shard. They encounter Steve Rogers and his Avengers until Ultron captures them. After a brief battle, Ultron allows them to leave and gives the shard to Tony's team. Steve muses that he is unconcerned about who will acquire the fragments as he has an inside man in the Tony Stark A.I.'s team.[60]

After a series of dead ends, the team returns to the hideout, where Sam reunites with Misty, until Hydra forces arrive and begin their assault on the base. During the battle, Sam helps the other heroes in protecting the refugees and battling Hydra's Avengers and a revived Bruce Banner as the Hulk until the base explodes.[61] In the aftermath of the attack, Sam appears standing on top of the rubble as Captain America to inspire the resistance to not surrender.[62] It is later revealed that Sam had a conversation with Misty Knight and Rayshaun Lucas, the new Patriot, which has persuaded him to reassume the role of Captain America, leading the resistance and wielding Rogers' original round shield as a symbol of hope.[63] Sam uses the Cosmic Cube fragment acquired by the resistance to help destroy the Darforce dome surrounding Manhattan and the planetary defense shield, releasing all the trapped heroes. Liberating all the imprisoned Inhumans, the Underground attacks the Capitol which attracts the attention of Steve Rogers, who arrives wearing Cosmic Cube-powered armor. During the final battle, Sam fakes surrender and gives the fragment to Steve, only for Winter Soldier to intervene and bring Kobik and the real Steve Rogers back. The restored Steve Rogers manages to defeat the Hydra Steve Rogers with Thor's hammer and Kobik restores reality back to normal.[64]

Return as Falcon

Upon taking the second Patriot on as his sidekick, they travel to Chicago to deal with an outbreak of gang violence, unaware that Blackheart is posing as the city's Mayor.[65]

Powers, abilities, and equipment


In his earliest appearances, Wilson exhibits a close bond with his bird Redwing, which is confirmed as being a telepathic link by Professor X in Captain America #174. The Red Skull later reveals that he had used the Cosmic Cube to create a "super-normal mental link" between Sam Wilson and Redwing.[66] Falcon later recalled the experience, stating "Hurt like hell. Being mentally fused with that falcon. Able to see through his eyes."[67]

Wilson eventually revealed that he has been able to extend this empathic link. "I'm always psychically connected with Redwing, but through concentration, I've recently tapped into another ability – I'm able to link-up with other birds. ... I have over six billion pairs of eyes in the United States alone." He used this ability to quickly search New York City when the criminal Scarecrow kidnapped two children,[68] as well as to spy on Senator Dell Rusk (actually the Red Skull in disguise) and Henry Peter Gyrich.[69] He is also apparently able to access the memories of birds, and see things they had witnessed in the past (although birds have a different concept of the passage of time, which makes it difficult for him to know when any events they witnessed occurred).[70]


Wilson is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, having been trained in Judo[71] and Karate[72] by Steve Rogers. Wilson is also highly-skilled in the use of Captain America's shield.

Uniform and flight harness

Wilson's original Falcon wing harness featured detachable jet-powered glider wings made of lightweight titanium ribbing and Mylar. The wings were covered with wafer-thin solar power receptors that convert sunlight into electricity to power miniature high-speed electric turbine fans in his uniform and boots. The wings detached and reattached to his uniform cybernetically. The harness was destroyed in Captain America and the Falcon #2 (2004). The uniform was made of synthetic stretch fabric lined with a steel-alloy mesh.

After the original flying harness's destruction in a 2004 storyline,[73] the Black Panther supplied Falcon with a new costume and wings. An emitter array on Falcon's back creates holographic "hard light" wings with a maximum wingspan of up to 50 feet (15 m). Controlled by a cybernetic link, the wings can be instantly reconfigured into "dozens of different cruise configurations". A "magnetic drive", in turn, provides the thrust needed to get Falcon airborne. The emitter also possesses GPS jamming devices that prevent satellite tracking, while the hard-light wings interfere with infra-red tracking. A vibranium microweave was added to the costume itself, making Falcon resistant to small arms fire.[74] The entire system is controlled mentally through cybernetic circuitry in the Falcon's mask. The costume has in the past featured a hidden "talon," a cybernetically controlled grappling line built into the gauntlets of his costume which he uses to entangle opponents, hook objects, or for swinging and climbing when his wings are detached. The costume's visors come equipped with various capabilities, including infrared lenses, giving him the ability to see objects by their infrared signature at night, magnification capabilities, and remote imaging sensors that allow a full 360 degree of vision when activated. The cowl also has a wide band receiver and transmitter with an unspecified range. The suit was originally built by the Black Panther,[75] with costume modifications by Desmond Burrell.

Other characters named Falcon

Joaquin Torres

As part of the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, Captain America (Sam Wilson) investigated the disappearance of Mexican teenager Joaquin Torres after he was abducted by the Sons of the Serpent.[44] Captain America discovered that Joaquin was being used in the experiments of Karl Malus who turned Joaquin into a bird/human hybrid using Captain America's pet bird Redwing. When Karl Malus was defeated, Captain America took Joaquin in.[46] When it was discovered Joaquin's bird/human hybrid condition wasn't temporary, Captain America learned from Claire Temple that Joaquin's condition was permanent due to Redwing being vampiric and sporting a healing factor.[47] When Captain America was captured by the Serpent Society and thrown out the window by Viper, he was saved by Joaquin.[48] Using his link with Redwing, Captain America telepathically sent Joaquin the knowledge on how to fight where he held his own until Misty Knight and Demolition Man showed up. After the Serpent Society was defeated, Captain America allowed Joaquin to become his sidekick, enabling him to become the new Falcon.[49]

During the "Secret Empire" storyline, Falcon II and Ironheart join the Champions when they join up with the Underground.[76]

Adrian Toomes

In a 2017 storyline, Adrian Toomes developed a modified version of his Electromagnetic Wing Harness that has a reinforced helmet and lightweight, razor-sharp, nano-woven wings which responded to his mental commands where he took on the name Falcon where he believed the name to be vacant at the time. He robbed a location in East Village where he fought Spider-Man until they were immobilized by a new Trapster who made off with Falcon's loot.[77]

Carl Burgess

A similar, unrelated character of the same name and powers was created in 1939 by writer-artist Bill Everett for Marvel Comics' predecessor company, Timely Comics.

Other versions

  • In the alternate reality of a 1983 What If? story, Sam - under his gang name "Snap" - is a member of a secret rebellion force in a United States turned fascist who aids Captain America in beating an impostor and leading the chastised nation back to its democratic roots.[78]
  • Sam Wilson / Falcon appears as one of the zombified heroes in the Marvel Zombies universe. Initially, he is among the many heroes summoned by Nick Fury to fight off the infection, but he winds up being infected. Afterwards, in Marvel Zombies 3, he, along with other wing-laden characters (Angel, Beak and Vulture), attack Machine Man, Ultron and Jocasta as soon as they arrive in this ravaged universe, but he and the others are quickly killed by Machine Man.[79]
  • In Amazing Spider-Girl #7, which is part of the MC2 universe, Wilson was revealed to be dead. However, the Ladyhawk twins wear attire similar to his first costume, from before he had the mantle of either Falcon or Captain America.
  • In the "Once and Future King" story arc from Black Panther, a retired Sam Wilson is shown as the mayor of New York City 25 years into the future. He comes out of retirement for one final mission to help Black Panther defeat T'charra, T'Chaka's treasonous son.[80]
  • In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Samuel Wilson is an explorer, adventurer, and scientist who uses a backpack with high-tech folding wings to fly as the Eagle. Wilson first appeared in Ultimate Nightmare and then worked on the Vision, demonstrating a high level of technological understanding and confronted George Tarleton of A.I.M. aboard a space station studying a Gah Lak Tus module.[81] He is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than an official member of the Ultimates or Reserves. He has served with or under General Nick Fury, and was a member of the armed forces but retired to pursue scientific interests. This version appears to be an accomplished combatant, especially when using the sharp edge of the metal wings he wears as a weapon, which are controlled through the help of nanotechnology, with which he can communicate and retrieve computer information. The wings are partially self-repairing, as referenced in Ultimate Extinction.[82]
  • In Marvel's MAX imprint series U.S. War Machine, Wilson appeared alongside Captain America and Hawkeye; he and Hawkeye served as Captain America's backup and wore no costumes, only being addressed by their real names. In this reality, Captain America was actually Bucky wearing the Captain's uniform as here the Captain had died in World War II in his stead.
  • In the 2006 comic What If Captain America had fought in the Civil War?, the Earth-717 version of Wilson was an orphan raised by a Shawnee medicine man, and grew up to fight in the American Civil War as part of an Indian volunteer regiment. He performs a ritual to give Steven Rogers the power of We-Pi-Ahk, the Eagle Spirit, and has a red eagle painted on his chest for this ceremony. He is killed by Colonel Barnes (who in this reality is the White Skull).
  • In the "Heroes Reborn" universe, created by Franklin Richards, a version of Samuel Wilson appears. His father, Abraham "Abe" Wilson fought alongside Captain America during World War II, but was later killed by Master Man's army.[83] During the fight, Abe's son Sam Wilson is shot in a fight and gravely wounded, but Captain America saves his life by giving him a transfusion of the Super-Soldier's own blood. Consequently, Wilson gains superhuman abilities comparable to those of Captain America. His military nickname, "The Falcon", becomes his superhero code name. He avenges his father by beating Master Man, and along with Captain America and Nick Fury, defeats the Red Skull's plans for world domination.[84]
  • In an alternate timeline seen in Avengers: The Children's Crusade, Sam was succeeded as the Falcon by his daughter Samantha. Samantha is shown as a member of the Avengers alongside her husband Eli (the new Captain America), and their son Steve (the new Bucky).[85]
  • In Daredevil: End of Days, Wilson is briefly shown as the future president of the United States of America.[86]
  • During the Secret Wars storyline, an alternate, naturally-winged version of Sam Wilson is a member of the Thor Corps (which are the police force of Battleworld). He and the Thor Corps members arrest Miss America after she violates Doom's laws by throwing a Megalodon that attacked Arcadia far enough to go over the Shield and end up in the Deadlands.[87]
  • A female version of Sam Wilson (Samantha T. Wilson) serves as the original Captain America of the Spider-Gwen universe of Earth-65. When World War II struck, she became one of the first black female pilots in the U.S. military. Eventually, she was recruited into Project Rebirth, and was chosen to undergo the procedure when the other candidates Bucky, Steve Rogers, and Isaiah Bradley were badly injured by Nazi agents. After this, she became Captain America, and fought the Nazis. When the Nazis attempted to summon creatures from another dimension, she entered said dimension to hold off the invading forces, un-aging in this reality for nearly 75 years. When she finally defeated them and returned to her home dimension of Earth-65, she was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Peggy Carter to continue her service as Captain America as one of her agents.[88]
  • Another version of Sam Wilson appears in the Spider-Gwen universe of Earth-65. He is the male clone of Samantha Wilson and is also this universe's Falcon where he works as Captain America's sidekick. Falcon is known as Sam 13 and is an expert sniper-assassin. He is aided by Redwing (who in this reality is a robotic falcon) where Sam 13 used him for assault and reconnaissance. Falcon and Redwing first come into contact with Spider-Woman while she was fighting Lizard.[88]

In other media


  • Falcon (along with his bird Redwing) appeared as a member of the Avengers in The Avengers: United They Stand, voiced by Martin Roach.
  • Falcon (along with his bird Redwing) appears in The Super Hero Squad Show, with Falcon voiced by Alimi Ballard and Redwing's vocal effects provided by Steven Blum.[89] In this version, he is capable of launching his "feathers" at his enemies.
  • Sam Wilson / Falcon appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Lance Reddick.[90] Alongside Doc Samson, Falcon is a mind-controlled servant of Dell Rusk. He appears in the episodes "Nightmare in Red", "Code Red", and "Avengers Assemble!".
  • Sam Wilson / Falcon appears as one of the main characters in the Avengers Assemble animated series, voiced by Bumper Robinson.[91][92] This iteration of Sam Wilson is depicted as a 17-year-old S.H.I.E.L.D. operative that Iron Man had an eye on. When the Avengers brought together to save Captain America from the Red Skull, Sam was originally offered the War Machine armor, but turned it down in favor of the Falcon armor. Wilson later dons a new version of his Falcon armor where there is a beak-shaped visor over his eyes. The wing pack is capable of detaching itself from the rest of the armor to become "Redwing Mode" and fly by itself to the point where it can whip up tornadoes. During Avengers: Secret Wars, Falcon is kidnapped by Kang the Conqueror and spends years in the future working to stop a black hole from destroying the Earth. When he returns to the present, he is significantly older and has a new outfit that greatly resembles his outfit in the MCU.
  • Sam Wilson appears in Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors, voiced again by Bumper Robinson.[93] He appears in the episodes "Avenging Spider-Man" [Parts 1 and 2] and "Contest of Champions" [Part 4].
  • Sam Wilson appears in the Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload mini-series, voiced again by Bumper Robinson.
  • Falcon appears in the Japanese anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Kaito Ishikawa in the Japanese version.
  • Disney announced that Falcon and Winter Soldier will star in their own team up limited series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with Anthony Mackie reprising his role.[94]


Sam Wilson is portrayed by Anthony Mackie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Wilson befriends Steve Rogers during a jog in Washington, D.C. He is a veteran United States Air Force Pararescueman and uses a pair of submachine guns as his main weapons and flies using a jet pack with articulated wings.[95][96][97] Wilson helps Rogers and Natasha Romanoff take down Hydra when it's discovered that Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. from the beginning. In the aftermath of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s collapse, Wilson offers to help Rogers track down Bucky Barnes, Rogers' presumed-dead best friend who had been brainwashed into doing Hydra's bidding as the Winter Soldier.
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron,[98] Wilson attends the Avengers' party celebrating their victory over Hydra and has a brief conversation with Rogers, indirectly mentioning the ongoing search for Barnes. At the end of the film, Wilson is recruited along with War Machine, Vision and Scarlet Witch for the new roster of Avengers led by Rogers and Romanoff.
  • In Ant-Man,[99] Wilson has a brief fight with Scott Lang at the Avengers' new facility, where Ant-Man takes a piece of tech necessary for the mission to stop Darren Cross from selling the Yellowjacket suit. At the end of the film, Luis informs Lang that Wilson is looking for the former, the post-credits scene (taken from Captain America: Civil War) revealing that Wilson thinks Lang might be able to help him and Rogers with Barnes.
  • In Captain America: Civil War,[100][101] Wilson sides with Rogers over the Sokovia Accords, a new law requiring the Avengers to be supervised that Rogers opposes but Tony Stark supports. He has a bird-shaped robotic drone.[102] When Barnes is suspected of setting off a bomb in Vienna that kills the king of Wakanda, Rogers and Wilson attempt to bring Barnes in, only to get arrested along with T'Challa who has vowed to kill Barnes. After Barnes is set loose by the true perpetrator of the bombing, Barnes tells Rogers and Wilson about five other super soldiers that Zemo is allegedly planning to unleash on the world. At Wilson's suggestion, Rogers calls Clint Barton to recruit Lang in addition to breaking Wanda Maximoff out of the Avengers facility. The six of them face off against Iron Man, War Machine, Black Panther, Black Widow, Spider-Man and Vision, the fight ending with Wilson, Wanda, Barton and Lang sent to the Raft while Rogers and Barnes escape to Siberia in the Quinjet. When Stark visits the Raft's prisoners, he tells Stark where Rogers and Barnes went on the condition that Stark go alone. At the end of the film, Rogers breaks the prisoners out of the Raft following a fallout with Stark while T'Challa learns the truth.
  • In Avengers: Infinity War,[103] Wilson, Romanoff and Rogers rescue Wanda and Vision from Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive, two of the Children of Thanos who attempt to get the Mind Stone for Vision. The fugitive group return home and reunite with James Rhodes disobeying an order from Secretary Ross to arrest them. They are joined by Bruce Banner warning them that Thanos won't stop until obtaining all of the Infinity Stones. At Rogers' suggestion, the Avengers head to Wakanda with the intention of removing it from Vision (in the hope Vision can function without it) and destroying it so Thanos can't get it. Wilson notifies Rogers of Thanos' invading army and participates in the ensuing battle. When Thanos collects all six stones and does a snap of the fingers, Wilson is among those disintegrated.
  • In Avengers: Endgame, five years after the events of Infinity War, Wilson is resurrected by Bruce Banner along with the rest of the decimated, after the Avengers retrieve the Infinity Stones from different points in time and use to undo Thanos' snap. He participates in the final battle against an earlier version of Thanos (as Thanos' older version was killed by Thor after Thanos destroyed the stones). After the battle, during which Stark sacrifices himself in order to destroy Thanos' army, Wilson attends Stark's funeral and receives Captain America's shield and mantle from Rogers, now an elderly man (as a result of time travelling into the past to live with Peggy Carter).[104]


Video games


Wilson was placed as the 96th greatest comic book hero by IGN, which opined that the partnership between him and Steve Rogers forms one of the greatest crime fighting duos in comics,[118] and as #45 on their list of the "Top 50 Avengers".[119]

See also


  1. Marvel had previously introduced the Black Panther, a native of the fictional African country Wakanda.[1] The first comic starring a black character was Dell Comics' Old West gunfighter Lobo, introduced in 1965.


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