Who is the Power Broker? It’s a question, surprisingly, that Falcon and The Winter Soldier has yet to properly approach. Instead, it’s been left hanging, delicately poised for either a cliffhanger in the penultimate episode or a finale twist that will turn the MCU on its head.
Unlike the engineer in WandaVision, though, we’re confident that this is going to be answered in definitive fashion – and will be a face familiar to fans. Whoever is pulling the strings from the shadows in Madripoor (and beyond) has the potential to play a major role in Marvel Phase 4, and countless other stories down the line.
From Sharon Carter to Baron Zemo, and even a few surprise faces, here are the five most likely candidates when it comes to the identity of the Power Broker.
Who is the Power Broker? What we know so far
In Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the Power Broker is a shadowy offscreen ruler of the coastal city state of Madripoor – best characterized by the "POWER BROKER IS WATCHING" graffiti adorned on a wall that Sam and Bucky walk past in the show’s third episode.
According to Baron Zemo he (it could be important to note that Zemo thinks it’s a man) is "judge, jury and executioner" on Madripoor. Beyond that, we know very little about them: what they look like, how they act, and why they’re so keen to get their hands on the Super Soldier Serum.
In the comics, the Power Broker is less mysterious, if no less powerful. He is Curtiss Jackson, a head of a criminal organization who went on to found Power Broker Inc., a company that shopped the Super Soldier Serum around for any heroes (and villains) who desired it. That even included a certain John Walker. For more on the comic history of the character, check out our guide to the Power Broker.
It’s obvious – almost too obvious. Sharon Carter has been excommunicated and in exile for several years by the time Sam and Bucky catch up to her in Madripoor. That’s plenty of time to not only establish a network, but also for the one-time SHIELD agent to reach the top of the criminal underworld.
The signs are there. For one, Sharon owns some seriously expensive artwork and is clearly relishing in hobnobbing with the seedy underbelly of Madripoor. She’s also been shown to have access to high-tech and tracking devices, such as the one she used to keep tabs on John Walker while Bucky, Sam, and Zemo tracked the Flag Smashers to Latvia.
Speaking to Variety, Sharon’s actor Emily VanCamp was unsurprisingly reluctant to address any theory that she might be the Power Broker. “The Power Broker could be anybody,” she said. “Also, there are several characters that have yet to be seen. So, I mean, I can’t say anything.”
Marvel has already been straightforward with one villain reveal – it was Agatha All Along, not Mephisto – so we can’t see them going down this route again. Besides, Sharon really should ultimately end up on the side of the angels after being in hiding for so long.
What do we know about Zemo? He can dance. He can manipulate people. He looks good in a mask. But can he run a criminal network from a cell in Berlin? It’s possible – and would explain why the Power Broker is rarely, if ever, seen in Madripoor.
Zemo’s bad days seemingly aren’t yet behind him, either. He has been intent on escaping the clutches of Bucky and Sam in Latvia on more than one occasion, while he also knew a little too much in his role as tour guide in Madripoor. Certainly, having a renowned villain walk the streets without so much as a roughing up indicates he either still has friends in high places or is in a very high place himself. At the very least, it wouldn’t surprise us to see him being in cahoots with the Power Broker.
General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross has made a belated comeback to the MCU since his Incredible Hulk days. There, he was obsessed with replicating the Super Soldier Serum – hint, hint – and, since, he has ascended to Secretary of State. He is even set to make an appearance in the upcoming Black Widow movie
His prior history with the Serum as well as a mention in the show’s closing credits makes him one of the main candidates to, if not be the Power Broker himself, then to at least be in league with him.
To add further fuel to the fire, showrunner Malcolm Spellman said that a surprise character would appear in episode 5. With the breadcrumbs already having been laid out, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Ross appear – potentially to set the stage for the introduction of the anti-hero ‘Thunderbolts’ group.
What about an entirely new MCU character? Curtiss Jackson is the Power Broker in the comics; it stands to reason that he can be the Power Broker on television, too.
While the impact of the Power Broker will be lessened by it being a fresh face, it would be an ideal way to introduce a major actor (and villain) into proceedings without any need for uncharacteristic double turns from the likes of Sharon Carter. Unfortunately, no new cast members have been listed – we think this is one of the least likely possibilities given Marvel’s reluctance to introduce completely new characters out of nowhere with little fanfare or build up.
The Global Repatriation Council (GRC) have good intentions. Their goal is, as a group, to help re-establish the lives of those who were snapped away five years ago. But what if it’s all a front? If literally decades of sci-fi stories have taught us anything, it’s that the pristine, benevolent company is always hiding something murky. Could it be they’re housing the Power Broker or – at the very least – using Madripoor’s lawlessness to help elevate those who lost everything via the Super Serum? It’s not out of the question – and would further hammer home the shades-of-gray storytelling that Falcon and The Winter Soldier has preached so far.