[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3, “The Power Broker.”]
Once you’ve recovered physically and emotionally from the sight of Daniel Brühl‘s Zemo tearing up the dance floor, you’ll recall that other things happened in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3, “The Power Broker.” Most notably, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and the recently jail-broken Zemo take a brief trip to Madripoor, a neon-lit city in Southeast Asia that acts as safe haven for criminals and ne’er-do-wells. Much like last week’s visit to see Isaiah “The Black Captain America” Bradley, Madripoor’s appearance is yet another deep pull from Marvel’s most interesting corners.
If Madripoor gave you the same vibes as Mos Eisley, Star Wars‘ hive of scum and villainy, that is also exactly how it was first introduced, in the pages of New Mutants #32, by writer Chris Claremont and artist Steve Leialoha. Let Cypher, the New Mutants member with superhuman powers of translation and code-breaking, explain:
“Welcome, fellow students, to Earth’s version of Mos Eisley spaceport – a modern-day Tortuga, haven of world-class pirates, crooks, and assorted lesser scoundrels. No extradition and government security make this the perfect hideout, a sort of neutral zone where the deadliest of enemies can hang out in absolute comfort and safety, without fear of each other or foreign cops.”
Madripoor factoring into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—and, therefore, the larger MCU for the first time—is interesting because it’s so commonly tied to the X-Men, especially Wolverine. “Ultra-rich gougin’ space from the poorest of the poor. No rules here — anything goes – an’ everything can be bought,” is how Logan describes Madripoor in Marvel Comics Presents #1 before causing all kinds of trouble at a place called Princess Bar—it’s cool, he co-owned the place—which you can clearly see in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
WandaVision taught us all a valuable lesson about getting too excited about the X-Men, so it’s worth noting plenty of other Marvel heroes have visited Madripoor. The sketchy bar that Sam and Bucky walk into in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is called the Brass Monkey Saloon, where Captain America once had a throwdown with Crossbones in Captain America #363 by writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Mark Bright.
I hope this isn’t the last we see of Madripoor, as it is ripe for fun comic book storytelling; plus, it’s where we left Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who you know has a bigger part to play. It’s also no surprise at all that Falcon and the Winter Soldier co-writer Derek Kolstad would be interested in Madripoor. The idea of a place where killers and criminals can hang out without fear of arrest or retribution is pretty much the jump-off point for John Wick, the franchise Kolstad co-created in 2014.
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