Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Who Are the Flag-Smashers?


By the end of the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we get our first glimpse of villains the Flag-Smashers in action. The Flag-Smashers are an antinationalist organization that believe the world was better during the blip and “want a world that’s unified without borders.” The group — who are introduced to us via Sam Wilson’s friend Joaquin Torres — have comic-book ties to a supervillain named Karl Morgenthau, who uses the moniker Flag-Smasher and heads up an antinationalist terrorist organization known as U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M.

In the comics, Karl Morgenthau is driven to become Flag-Smasher after his diplomat father is trampled to death in a riot at the Latverian Embassy. He believes the world would be better off if it did away with the concept of countries and nationalism in order to quell feelings of superiority tied to certain nationalities. Along with U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., which stands for the Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind, Flag-Smasher often clashes with Captain America and even captures John Walker’s version. After learning that Red Skull is funding U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M., Flag-Smasher teams with Captain America, Battle Star, and Demolition Man to thwart Red Skull’s efforts, as he feels working with the nationalist Red Skull would compromise his integrity. Eventually, Karl Morgenthau’s version of Flag-Smasher is allegedly assassinated by X-Force member Domino.

“The comics are a great source, but our stories are unique,” director Kari Skogland previously told Entertainment Weekly. “They might draw from the comics, but they aren’t actually in the comics so our characters can be unique and evolved and not be tied. We’re not duplicating a story and we’re not duplicating a character. That means if we come up with a group and we need a name for them, then, yes, we might go deep and find something that’s relevant.”

Based on what we know about the Flag-Smashers from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which isn’t much at the moment, it does seem like they are aligned with U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. when it comes to goals. The group are even led by a rewritten version of the comic character named Karli Morgenthau, played by Erin Kellyman. However, as head writer Malcolm Spellman told EW, “people think they know” what’s going on with the Flag-Smashers, “and they don’t.” Only time will tell whether or not the Flag-Smashers are the true villains of the show. Until then, we can only speculate what Karli and her group are up to.

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