Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

John Walker’s tenure as the new Captain America is off to a bad start. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4, “The Whole World is Watching,” John’s sidekick Lemar Hoskins a.k.a. Battlestar is killed by Karli Morgenthau and an enraged John retaliates by decapitating her friend and fellow Flag-Smasher, Nico, with Captain America’s shield in front of a horrified public. Although Battlestar hasn’t been similarly killed off in Marvel Comics, he did have a disturbing brush with death that tested his friendship with John Walker.


The new Captain America’s flaws in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have thus far mostly been limited to a short temper, a sensitive ego, and a corrupt desire for superpowers. The comics, by contrast, were more overt in using John Walker as a way to confront America’s ugly side. Originally styling himself as Super Patriot, John was overtly xenophobic and secretly led a vigilante group called the Bold Urban Commandos (Buckies) in violent attacks on “forreners.” When Steve Rogers resigned from the role of Captain America out of principle after being asked to work directly for the U.S. government, John Walker was chosen to replace him with Lemar Hoskins as his sidekick. Lemar was at first called Bucky, but later changed his name to Battlestar due to the racist connotations of a Black man being called “Buck.”

John Walker’s first mission as Captain America was to go to his home turf of Custer’s Grove, Georgia, and investigate a terrorist group called the Watchdogs – effectively the KKK in different costumes. From the start, John was uncomfortable with the task. Not only were several members of the Watchdogs old friends of is, he also agreed with many of their views. When Battlestar told John that the people of Custer’s Grove didn’t seem to much like Black people, John brushed it off. However, his own prejudices came into play when Lemar posed as a casting agent seeking attractive female models, and John was angered to see a girl he knew attending the casting call. The two friends staged a fight in order to draw the Watchdogs’ attention, but during the brawl John began hitting Lemar with a little too much enthusiasm.

That wasn’t the worst thing that happened to Battlestar on his visit to Custer’s Grove, though. After bailing John out of jail and welcoming him into their group, the Watchdogs kidnapped and drugged Lemar in order to lynch him. Hoping (but not knowing for sure) that Lemar’s super-soldier status would mean his neck muscles were strong enough to survive being hanged, John allowed the Watchdogs to lynch Battlestar rather than risk blowing his own cover. He turned his back on his friend as the noose was around his neck, and only returned to check on him later, once the Watchdogs had been arrested. Fortunately, Battlestar was able to escape the lynching and incapacitate his captors, but the attack – and the apparent ease with which John Walker had abandoned him – clearly left him shaken.

Unlike his comic book counterpart, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Battlestar hadn’t received the super-soldier serum and therefore was unable to withstand being punched across a room and into a stone pillar. Though his lack of responsiveness, the blood coming out of his mouth and John Walker’s reaction don’t bode well for Lemar’s chances of survival, it’s still possible that the next episode of the Marvel series will reveal that Battlestar is still alive. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to John’s brutal execution of Nico.

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