The Falcon and The Winter Soldier broke the ice in Episode 3 where Sam and Bucky take a ride to somewhere Marvel comic readers who are following the Marvel Cinematic Universe would go crazy about. What exactly is Madripoor and what does it mean for the MCU to have such a place introduced in Phase Four?
It’s not the first time Madripoor was mentioned in the MCU. In the Avengers, Maria Hill mentioned that she was assigned to such a place during her tenure with SHIELD. Having Madripoor appear again in the MCU, and this time showcasing it as a whole with all the city lights, skyscrapers, and bars, Madripoor definitely is within the plan of Marvel for years.
Warning! This portion may contain spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk!
Episode 3 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Power Broker, introduced us to a fictional place called the island of Madripoor located somewhere in the Indonesian Archipelago where lawlessness was kept in place, as Zemo calls it. Bucky said that the island used to be a sanctuary in the 1800s. As Zemo explained, Hightown is where the rich thrive and the Lowtown is where the crime lives on.
The place was something like a mix of Singapore and Hong Kong with the city lights beaming on the shoreline. Zemo prepped both Sam and Bucky to have their disguise like Sam being Smiling Tiger and Bucky being the Winter Soldier himself. There, they arrive in a bar to meet with a woman named Selby, someone who might have an idea of where the super-soldier serum might be.
Bucky had to act like the Winter Soldier under Zemo’s control and they were given a chance with Selby who gave out vital information about the super-soldier serum, the doctor who manufactured it, Dr. Wilfred Nagel. Their puppeteer didn’t last though as Sam’s sister called. From then on, it was chaos, and Selby dying put up a bounty on the heads of Sam, Bucky, and Zemo.
Sharon Carter arrived and saved them, brought them up to her Hightown bar slash art fence, and gave them shelter. Sharon is still a fugitive and is hiding in Madripoor as the US has no extradition there and the place is basically one fitting for someone on the run. In exchange for her help, Sam offered to clear her name which she was adamant about at first but accepted anyway. Sharon located Dr. Nagel in a shipping container dock.
Dr. Nagel used to be with HYDRA and after it disbanded, worked with the CIA. He told them that he was able to recreate the serum from an American test subject (Isaiah Bradley, as presumed) and he managed to create a serum that doesn’t bulk up its recipient but rather has it optimized and subtle. However, Zemo shoots him dead.
Madripoor holds its lawlessness with the bounty hunters going after Sam, Bucky, and Zemo.
Madripoor opens a lot of doors for the MCU. It is a fictional place like Wakanda and its history in the Marvel comics proves that the place means so much more than being a lawless one.
Madripoor first appeared in New Mutants #32 in 1985. It is divided into two: the Hightown for the extremely rich, and the Lowtown for the extremely poor. If there is one thing in common among the divide, it is lawlessness. It has no extradition treaties as well making it a perfect refuge for villains and criminals, or for those who just want a place where everything illegal is nothing new.
Madripoor’s history goes further into being a haven for pirates. It is known for being home to various mutants such as Magneto having built a mansion there, Wolverine co-owning a hotspot called The Princess Bar, and Mystique even had her time to rule the place making it her own mutant world. It is also where Captain America and Black Widow first encountered Wolverine in the Hunt For Wolverine comic issue.
The comics also gave an interesting revelation about it as the entire island turns out to be ahead of a dragon who was dormant for centuries. The Hand, another villain, woke the dragon and wanted to use it for his own but didn’t have success. (Nice Skull Island reference from Sam in the episode, by the way.)
Having Madripoor introduced fully in MCU’s canon series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, could possibly open a door for the X-Men’s arrival in the MCU as the island has been known for its mutant ties and given that it has served as a home for top-of-the-line mutants such as Magneto, Wolverine, and Mystique.
Madripoor could be the connection to bridge the gap between the MCU and X-Men for a shared universe and possibly have the introduction of mutants into the MCU especially now that the rights to X-Men had been acquired by Disney after the merger with Fox. The Princess Bar also made an appearance in the episode, in the comics, it is co-owned by Wolverine. Madripoor could be the opposite of Wakanda.
In the episode, it was revealed that the Power Broker holds the seat of something like the “king” to the place. The Power Broker has been known to harbor villains in the comics and with the introduction of the character along with John Walker’s Captain America and Lemar Hoskins’ Battlestar, the Power Broker could make another big villain for the MCU, just in time for Phase Four to have a big bad.