The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has introduced a new Black superhero, Battlestar, aka Lemar Hoskins. Battlestar has a long history in Marvel Comics, and his comic book storylines give some clues regarding how the MCU will treat him in future TV series and films.
Battlestar, played by Clé Bennett, starts out as the fighting partner for the new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell). But his backstory is much more expansive than just being yet another Black sidekick. According to Collider, Lemar Hoskins debuted in 1986, but without a lot of fanfare since he wasn’t fleshed out. But as his time in the comics expands, so does his character when he becomes one of a group of soldiers given super strength by Dr. Karl Malus. Hoskins then joins the Bold Urban Commandos, aka the BUCKies, and helps John Walker, otherwise known as Super-Patriot.
Super-Patriot eventually becomes the new Captain America, with Hoskins taking on the name Bucky. But he changes his name to Battlestar when another Black man calls him out on giving himself a name that could be offensive. The offensive quality of the name “Bucky” was addressed in the comics when famed comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie told Battlestar and Super-Patriot creator Mark Gruenwald that “buck” was a term used during slavery to describe Black male slaves. Furthermore, placing a grown Black man at the same level as a teenage boy was just as offensive.
It’s important to know that Walker’s stint as Captain America isn’t as shiny and superheroic as you’d think. Walker becomes somewhat of a criminal in the comic books, taking patriotism to its nationalistic, violent extremes. But he eventually becomes something of an anti-hero as the character develops, joining the West Coast Avengers and takes the name U.S. Agent. Since the MCU version of Walker is married to a Black woman, Olivia (Gabrielle Byndloss), who’s to say how nationalistic Walker will become.
However, Hoskins stays mostly heroic after his time with Super-Patriot, eventually fighting against him. He eventually works with other Marvel superheroes and most notably with mercenary Silver Sable, despite refusing to kill anyone.
Seeing how Battlestar is still with Walker at the moment, it makes sense to expect to see Battlestar going head-to-head against Walker at some point. Perhaps Battlestar’s break with Walker will come when Walker decides to rename himself Super-Patriot or U.S. Agent. Also, if we take into account the series’ focus on race in America, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Battlestar and the Falcon have a heart-to-heart about their status as Black sidekicks to white superheroes. Overall, Battlestar’s entrance into the MCU provides the franchise an even bolder way to tackle race within its superhero pantheon.
The Falcon and the Winter Solider is currently streaming on Disney+.