FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: Redwing 101
In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode one, we were re-introduced to Redwing, the Stark tech drone that assists Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in his airborne Avengers missions! However, Redwing’s origin in the comics is considerably different from his on-screen incarnation (did somebody say “vampire bird”)!
Redwing in the 616
In the Marvel Comics universe, Redwing first appears in Captain America #117 (1969) by Stan Lee, Gene Colan, Joe Sinnott, and Sam Rosen.
In that issue, Cap is stranded on the Isle of the Exiles, where he must face off against the minions of the Red Skull. However, he is aided by an unexpected aviary helper…
After being rescued from an attack by Redwing (who is a literal falcon in the comics), Steve Rogers sets about convincing Sam Wilson to consider wearing a costume and fighting crime.
Things get somewhat stranger in Captain America #186 (1975) by Steve Englehart, John Warner, Frank Robbins, Mike Esposito, Dave Hunt, and M. Wolfman. In that issue, Rogers is again facing off against Red Skull… but then, the Red Skull reveals the reason Wilson was on the Isle of the Exiles!
Wilson had been a criminal who was in Rio when his return flight to the U.S. left him stranded on the island. While he already had an interest in birds from childhood, the Red Skull used the power of the Cosmic Cube to create a psychic link between Wilson and Redwing the falcon (in the comics, the Cosmic Cubes can warp reality, not just be used to travel across the universe).
As a result of the Red Skull’s Cosmic Cube meddling, Wilson and Redwing can communicate telepathically, allowing Wilson to see through Redwing’s eyes, an invaluable tool when it comes to airborne reconnaissance. And because Redwing can communicate with other birds, it opens up a whole feathered world of communication for Wilson.
When Wilson became Captain America, Redwing continued to stay by his side. In Sam Wilson: Captain America #4 (2015) by Nick Spencer, Paul Renaud, Romulo Fajardo, and Joe Caramagna, after Dr. Malus has experimented on Joaquín Torres and Redwing (more on that here), it’s revealed that in addition to Redwing’s other fantastic characteristics, thanks to a run-in with Baron Blood, he is also a vampire!
Never fear, Mighty Marvel Blog Masters: it turns out birds can cope with vampirism much more effectively than humans. But how do drones deal with vampirism?
Redwing in the MCU
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Redwing was first introduced in Captain America: Civil War (2016), assisting in the ill-fated mission undertaken by the Avengers in Lagos.
In Civil War, Wilson memorably emphasized the cuteness of the drone in an exchange with Natasha Romanov (Scarlett Johansson). This movie also showed how strong Redwing must be, as he pulled Spider-Man (Tom Holland) all the way out of airport terminal during the movie’s climactic battle.
As you might expect from a full-fledged member of the Avengers (albeit one who is stuck on guard duty), the drone appears to be Stark tech, a fact recently confirmed by the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
And in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), we see Wilson deploy Redwing during the Battle of Wakanda (although speculation suggests that because Redwing did not return to Wilson before Thanos executed the snap, the drone was left behind on the battlefield as Wilson turned to dust).
Is this Redwing Mark II? And if so, what fate befall Redwing Mark I? The original Vision would have been left behind in the aftermath of the same battle, and we all saw what happened to him…
A Feathered Friend?
While it makes a lot of sense that the MCU version of Redwing started as a drone back when the movies were a little more grounded, but this is the era of Androids, Aliens, and Wizards! Aren’t we about due for some onscreen animal sidekicks? Let Marvel Blog know which one of the Pet Avengers you hope appears by giving us a shout in the comment section!