Samuel Thomas Wilson was born in Harlem, New York City to Darlene and Paul Wilson, a prominent minister. Sam was his parents' youngest child with older sister named Sarah and older brother named Gideon. Sam's childhood started out a happy one during which he finds he has a natural affinity for birds. He takes up training pigeons, and has the largest pigeon coop in Harlem. In his teens, however, he encounters racism for the first time which leaves him frustrated, jaded, and disappointed.
When he is 16, Wilson refuses to go to church, believing his deeply religious parents' faith could be wrong. To his surprise, rather than put up a fight, they provide him with books on different religions and comparative theology. The next night, however, Sam's father is killed trying to break up a neighborhood fight. Two years later, his mother is shot and killed by a mugger one block from their apartment. Consumed by grief and "angry at the world" Sam became a respected community volunteer and social worker to try to better his community.
On his way to Rio de Janeiro, his plane crashed and he was later found by the Red Skull. Using the Cosmic Cube, Red Skull gave Sam his telepathic communication with Redwing and created his Snap persona, the Red Skull turned him into the ideal fighter to take on Captain America, but Cap was able to snap Sam out the Skull's control, and together they defeated the Red Skull.
Sam Wilson made his first appearance in Captain America #117. He was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. He is comics first mainstream African American hero, with the Black Panther being comics first African hero.
Major Story Arcs
A Hero is Born
Back in America, Steve helped Sam become a superhero and they even teamed together on several occasions. Sam even took the identity and costume of Captain America. He worked hard to be a hero for the Harlem community, but a certain section of the African-American populace viewed him an an "Uncle Tom". Even his soon-to-be girlfriend, Leila would call the Falcon "a yellowback", not knowing he was really Sam Wilson. When Falcon helped Black Panther, T'Challa rewarded him by giving him a costume with wings capable of flight. When Falcon found out that the Red Skull manipulated him and was the one that gave him powers, he joined up with SHIELD.
Meeting the Super Community
Sam took part in the "Defender for a Day", in which Nighthawk was trying to recruit new members. Henry Gyrich recruited Falcon to the Avengers, so that the Avengers could be more "racially diverse", but Falcon didn't appreciate being the token minority and quit after a couple of missions.
During the 1970s and 80's he was a dedicated social worker in Harlem, New York. He personally saved President Reagan from an assassination plot that he uncovered. He ran for a congressional seat but was beaten when his earlier criminal history as "Snap Wilson" was revealed. While working as a social worker, he often teamed-up with Sergeant Tork from the N.Y.P.D. During this time Sam was mistaken by a Sentinel to be a mutant.
After Captain America gained enhanced strength from the side effect of a toxin used by the Viper, Sam felt inadequate to continue working as Captain America's partner. Turning to Black Panther for assistance, T'challa crafted a new costume for Sam which included glider wings which were powered by sunlight and linked to Sam's brain. He then returned to help Captain America clear his name after being framed for the murder of the tumbler by Moonstone.
Parnetship with Captain America
After Steve Rogers had taken on the new identity of The Nomad, Falcon teamed up with the new Captain America Roscoe. Unfortunately Sam was brutally beaten and Roscoe was murdered by the Red Skull. When Rogers had retaken the mantle of Captain America, Sam joined him to face the Red Skull yet again. However this time it was revealed that the Red Skull had actually set up the meeting between Sam and Captain America on Exile Island. The Red Skull had actually changed Sam's persona and altered his memories. Sam Wilson, social worker of Harlem was actually Snap Wilson, notorious criminal charged with multiple cases of importation and sales of narcotics. During the trial the Stilt Man had attempted to kill the Falcon, but was thwarted by Sam and Redwing. Ultimately the judge placed Sam on parole with none other than Nick Fury as Sam's parole officer.
Some time later, Falcon rejoined the Avengers at Captain America's urging. Sporting a new costume, Sam was present when the team was given international status by the U.N., and remained with the team for a while. During the Red Zone crisis, he was shot and captured by the Red Skull, but played a pivotal role in the villain's defeat by using his bird telepathy to distract him long enough for Black Panther to gain the upper hand.
During the Avengers Disassembled storyline, wherein the Scarlet Witch went insane, she reverted Sam back into the "Snap" persona. While he still continue to team-up with Captain America, his attitude become more of a nuisance and eventually Cap and Sam parted ways, while Sam went off to work with the vigilante Anti-Cap. Later, Captain America saved Falcon from being killed by taking a bullet meant for his friend. Around this same time, Falcon resigned from the Avengers, and told the team not to take it personally, as he was beginning to reconsider whether he still wanted to be a superhero at all.
In the events of the Civil War, Falcon joined up with Captain America's Secret Avengers. When Cap was incapacitated during a fight between the Avengers and the Pro-Registration Heroes, Sam took charge while Steve recovered. When Cap was assassinated, Falcon was one of the pallbearers in his funeral.
After that, SHIELD assigned Falcon and Sharon Carter to find Bucky Barnes. After a number of adventures, Bucky took up Steve's mantle as the new Captain America, and Sam became his partner. The two had many adventures and remained together until Bucky's apparent death at the hands of Sin. Around this time Falcon also briefly served as a member of Misty Knight's short-lived Heroes For Hire squad.
Avengers VS X-Men
During the events of Avengers Vs X-Men, Falcon was partnered alongside Moon Knight and She-Hulk to contain the students at the Jean Grey school, leading a confrontation with Rogue, Mimic, and Frenzy. He later assisted in the battle against the Phoenix-powered Namor, but was injured.
Falcon officially rejoined the Avengers during the battle against both Abyss and Ex Nihilo, and also became a member of Luke Cage's new team of Mighty Avengers.
All-New Captain America
After Steve loses his powers thanks to the machinations of the Iron Nail, he experiences rapid aging and is rendered a withered old man. Falcon remains by his side alongside the other Avengers, and helps thwart Arnim Zola's plan to destroy New York. With Steve unable to fulfill his duty, Sam steps up and becomes the new Captain America.
During his time as Captain America, Sam battles foes such as Baron Zemo and the Serpent Society. He also forms his own support team, including D-Man and the Whisperer (revealed to be Rick Jones), and enters into a somewhat tumultuous fling with Misty Knight. Sam quickly gains a sidekick in the form of a Mexican teenager named Joaquin Torres, who becomes the new Falcon. Sam also takes over leadership of the Avengers, and develops a close friendship with Jane Foster, the new Thor.
Sam's time as Captain America is consistently dogged by controversy, with conservative pundits calling for him to give the shield back to Steve Rogers (who has youth restored by Kobik). He eventually ends up in a high profile legal case after the young black hero Rage is mistaken for a criminal and badly beaten by the Americops. Though Sam is able to find evidence indicating Rage was framed, the hero is still found guilty and badly beaten while imprisoned. The incident causes Sam to abandon the Captain America identity, and he leaves to try and clear his head.
During his absence, Steve Rogers is revealed to be a HYDRA sleeper agent, and conquers the United States. Sam creates an underground railroad to help Inhumans, mutants and other people targeted by HYDRA get to safety. He eventually retakes the Captain America mantle and helps lead the heroes against HYDRA, helping bring hope back to the people. At the end of the crisis, the real Steve Rogers returns declines Sam's offer to return the shield.
Sam is one of the heroes sent back in time by Kobik, and ends up in World War 2. He enlists in the military under the name "Paul Jeffries," and uses his Falcon gear to become a hero known as the Man in the Air. He encounters Captain America on one of his first missions, and helps inspire the fledgling hero to overcome his fear and doubt. After the war, Sam becomes a pastor and a key member of the Civil Rights Movement, where he makes a real difference. At the end of his life, the elderly Sam realizes that he finally knows what it feels like to live as his own man, and not as a sidekick or following in someone else's footsteps. After being returned to the present day, Sam resolves to forge his own legacy without the Captain America mantle. He manages to track down Steve (still reeling from the actions of his HYDRA doppelganger) and hurls the shield to him, with a note telling him that he knows he will overcome this and once again become the great man he used to be.
Despite no longer being Captain America, Sam remains as the leader of the Avengers and enters into a romantic relationship with Jane. He also gains a new sidekick named Rayshaun Lucas, who earlier helped motivate him during the HYDRA invasion. As the Falcon and Patriot, the two set out to continue the good fight.
Powers and Abilities
Since his early childhood Falcon had a natural affinity for birds and could understand them and see through the eyes of them. After the Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube on Sam he discovered he could speak telepathically with them. Sam has a paranormal empathic link with his bird Redwing. He is currently capable of having the same link to other birds. He is able to command the birds verbally and/or telepathically, and he can garner sensory information from them.
Master Martial Artist:
Sam has been trained by Captain America in multiple martial arts making him a dangerous combatant. His skills enable him to defeat some of the greatest trained and skilled martial artists in the world such as multiple elite Spetsnaz soldiers at a time and superhumans as strong as the Wrecking Crew members.
Master Acrobat: He was was a skilled athlete in his youth to young adulthood and later underwent rigorous training in gymnastics and acrobatics with Captain America and his skills are roughly on par with Steve Rogers.
Master Aerialist: Sam is also an extraordinary aerialist due to his training with Captain America and to his own experimentation with his "hard light harness". Due to his abilities and experience in martial arts and aerialist, he is one of the best aerial fighters in the world exceeding the skill of other flyers such as Iron Man and Ms. Marvel.
Sam is very proficient in various forms of weapons.
Falcon's costume is Wakandan which consist of glider wings which have jet powered tips and are charged by a sunlight battery pack linked to Sams brain, a talon that he could use to capture enemies, and a mask that gives him sight in different ranges from night vision, infrared, magnification, and 360 degree view of his surroundings. He also has a glider system that employs 'hard light' wings that are created by a holographic projector.
The pack on Falcon's back creates holographic "hard light" wings with a maximum wingspan of up to 50 feet (15 m). Controlled by a cybernetic link, the wings can be instantly reconfigured into "dozens of different cruise configurations". A "magnetic drive", in turn, provides the thrust needed to get Falcon airborne. The emitter also possesses GPS Jamming Devices that prevent satellite tracking, while the hard-light wings interfere with infra-red tracking. A Vibranium microweave was added to the costume itself, making Falcon resistant to small arms fire. The entire system is controlled mentally through cybernetic circuitry in the Falcon's mask.
The holographic suit was later destroyed by the Watchdogs, and Sam subsequently returned to using a pair of mechanical wings. When these wings were damaged during the battle with Gungnir, he requested that Tony Stark design a new suit with Vibranium wings. The new wings are capable of absorbing enormous amounts of force, even protecting Sam from a massive explosion.
The costume has in the past featured a hidden "talon," a cybernetically controlled grappling line built into the gauntlets of his costume which he uses to entangle opponents, hook objects, or for swinging and climbing when his wings are detached.
In this reality Falcon was known as Blackbird and was a member of the Queen's Vengeance.
In the Heroes Reborn universe, the Falcon was a U.S. Navy pilot and the son of Abe Wilson, a mysterious old man who served with Captain America during World War 2. When Abe died while returning Steve's shield to him, Sam ended up caught up in a battle between Steve and Master Man. After Sam was injured by gunfire from Master Man's troops, Steve saved his life by giving him a transfusion of the Super Soldier Serum in his veins, granting him superhuman abilities.
A while after Master Man's defeat, Sam returns, now acting as a costumed hero called the Falcon, in reference to his military call sign. Falcon and Captain America eventually returned to their original universe, leaving behind Rikki Barnes in the process.
Samuel Wilson was a member of the armed forces but retired to pursue a scientific interest, who served later with or under General Nick Fury, and wore a pair of metal wings. He appeared to be an accomplished combatant, especially when using the sharp edge of the metal wings he wore as a weapon. Wilson worked with Vision, demonstrating a high level of technological understanding.
Wilson later helped Vision and the cybernetic mutated Dr. George Tarleton against a Gah Lak Tus module. After the module was destroyed, Wilson comforted Vision of the events that have happened and gave her his keys to his home, if she needs a place to stay given that she doesn't have the power to return into space.
In this reality, the Falcon is a Native American who gave Steve Rogers his powers to fight in the American Civil War. He was later killed by Colonel Barnes, the White Skull.
In the House of M, Sam is a detective and he doesn't appear as a superhero.
In the Earth X reality, Sam has been consumed and assimilated by the monster, Hydra. Using mind-control, the Hydra spoke to Captain America through Sam about joining them. When the Hydra was thought to have been killed, it merely retreated back to its base. Later, Captain America banished the Hydra, along with its mind-controlled heroes (including Sam), to Limbo using a neutralizer weapon. Sam's soul was later recruited by Mar-Vell to help defeat Death in the realm of the dead. Mar-Vell then created Paradise and Sam was one of the first souls to enter it. He was later called to defend Paradise again by Mar-Vell against the invading Kree.
In Other Media
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Anthony Mackie portrays the Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Like in the Heroes Reborn continuity, this version of Sam Wilson is a former U.S. Air Force officer who adopts the name Falcon in reference to the classified Stark Industries flight exoskeleton he wears. Sam befriends Steve Rogers while working as a V.A. counselor, and later helps Steve and the Black Widow take on the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization after Steve learns that it has been infiltrated by HYDRA. He helps Captain America take down the HYDRA Helicarriers, but is grounded after the Winter Soldier destroys his wing suit. At the end of the film, Falcon decides to accompany Steve on his new mission to track down Bucky Barnes.
The MCU version of the Falcon sports a design similar to his Ultimate counterpart.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Anthony Mackie reprises his role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He appears briefly at the beginning of the film, where he attends the victory party at Avengers Tower. Here, it is mentioned that he is still searching for Bucky while Steve leads the Avengers.
At the close of the film, Sam is seen as part of the new Avengers roster after several of the original members leave. He sports a new costume and wing suit to replace the one that was lost in the previous movie.
Falcon appears in Ant-Man, with Anthony Mackie once again reprising his role. Continuing the events of Age of Ultron, Sam is seen living at the New Avengers Compound in upstate New York.
When Scott Lang arrives at the facility to steal an old piece of technology at the behest of Hank Pym, Falcon confronts him, mistakenly believing Lang is a villain. A fight ensues, but Lang manages to escape after shrinking down and sabotaging Falcon's wing suit.
At the end of the movie, Scott's friend Luis informs him that Falcon is asking around town and trying to find him, as he now realizes Scott is a hero, and wants to make him an Avenger. In the post-credits sequence, Falcon and Captain America are shown to have captured Bucky. When it becomes clear that Iron Man won't be able to help them deal with the situation, Sam suggests they enlist Scott's help instead.
Captain America: Civil War
Anthony Mackie returns as Falcon in Captain America: Civil War. When the Avengers become divided over the Sokovia Accords (a series of laws designed to regulate the team), Sam sides with Captain America. He also develops a rivalry with the Winter Soldier, who has now regained his old memories.
During a clash between the Pro-Accords and Anti-Accords teams, Falcon and the Winter Soldier battle Spider-Man, with Sam managing to fight the hero off by using his Redwing drone. When it becomes clear that the Anti-Accords team cannot defeat Iron Man's team, Falcon and Hawkeye realize that they need to stay behind to allow Cap and the Winter Soldier to escape. Falcon is ultimately defeated by Iron Man after he tries to apologize for War Machine's accidental injuries.
Sam and the others are sent to the Raft, where he gives information to Iron Man after Iron Man realizes both sides have been manipulated by Helmut Zemo. At the close of the film, Sam and the other members of Cap's team are rescued from the Raft.
Avengers: United They Stand
Falcon made his animated debut in the short-lived television series Avengers: United they Stand, first appearing in the second episode. His bird Redwing also appeared. This version of the Falcon sported an armored, anime-inspired costume, much like the other Avengers. He also had a rivalry with Hawkeye, who was almost fired from the team around the time Falcon was recruited. He was voiced by Martin Roach.
The Super Hero Squad
Falcon was featured heavily in The Super Hero Squad Show, first in the episode "And Lo... A Pilot Shall Come!". In this show he was a secondary recurring character, and was voiced by Alimi Ballard.
Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Falcon appeared in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Nightmare in Red" as an enforcer for the Red Skull. In "Code Red" it was revealed that he and Doc Sampson had been brainwashed and forced to serve the Skull . He returns in the series finale, "Avengers Assemble," as part of the army of heroes tasked with fighting off Galactus. He was voiced by Lance Reddick.
Falcon is a main character in Avengers Assemble, acting as the newest member of the team and the only Avenger who wasn't present in the movie. Like the Ultimate version, this iteration of Sam Wilson is a gifted engineer and scientist rather than a social worker. He is also a teenage prodigy and former S.H.I.E.L.D. trainee, but was fired from the organization after it was discovered that he was moonlighting as a superhero. Near the end of Season One, he is badly injured during a battle with the Cabal, resulting in the destruction of his winged suit. He is given an upgraded model by Tony Stark, which resembles the suits worn by the cast of Gatchaman.
He is voiced by Bumper Robinson.
Marvel Disk Wars
Falcon appears in the Japanese anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, voiced by Kaito Ishikawa. In the show, he is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a close friend of Captain America. He comes into the plot in order to help Hikaru and the other kids thwart the Red Skull's plan.
He appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "The Deep End", voiced by Seth Green
Marvel Super Hero Squad
Falcon is a playable character in all four of the Marvel Super Hero Squad video games. Alimi Ballard reprises his role from the TV series.
The MCU version of the Falcon appears in Marvel Heroes. Like his movie counterpart, this version of Falcon uses firearms in combat. An updated version of Sam as Captain America was later added to the game.
The MCU version of the Falcon appears as a playable characters in the Facebook game Avengers Alliance.
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes
The Falcon is a playable Avenger, with Bumper Robinson reprising his role from Avengers Assemble. His Winter Soldier look is available as an alternate costume.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Falcon appears as a downloadable character.
Marvel Future Fight
Sam appears in the game as both Falcon and Captain America.
Lego Marvel's Avengers
Sam appears in the game, which loosely adapts the events of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He is playable as both the Falcon and Captain America.
Marvel Avengers Academy
A teenage version of the Falcon appears as a playable character, voiced by rapper A$AP Rocky.
Mego and Mattel
- The Falcon received a Mego figure back in the 1970's. Along with Uhura, this holds the distinction of being one of the earliest action figures of a black character.
- The Falcon received a figure in Mattel's Secret Wars line despite not actually appearing in the crossover.
Hasbro and Toy Biz
- Falcon was featured in Toy Biz's Famous Covers line.
- Falcon was featured in Toy Biz's toy line for the short-lived Avengers: United They Stand series.
- Toy Biz released a classic Falcon figure as part of their Marvel Legends Mojo "Build-a-Figure" wave. A variant figure showing Falcon in his outfit from Geoff Johns' Avengers run was also included in the same wave.
- The MCU version of the Falcon received a figure in the Winter Soldier line.
- A Falcon figure was featured in the Avengers Assemble line.
- The Falcon has a figure in the Titan Heroes line.
- The Falcon has a figure in the Marvel Mashers line.
- The Falcon received multiple figures for Captain America: Civil War.
- A Civil War Falcon figure was released by Hasbro for the Marvel Legends line as a Wal-Mart exclusive.
- Bowen Designs released both a statue and a bust of Falcon in his classic costume.
- Falcon received a detailed figure from Hot Toys.
- Diamond Select also released a premium Falcon toy.
- Hot Toys released a second Falcon figure for Captain America: Civil War.
- Funko released a Pop! bobblehead of Falcon for Captain America: Civil War.
- Dragon Models released a Civil War Falcon bobblehead for the Hero Remix series.
- Iron Studios released two Falcon statues for Captain America: Civil War.
- A Lego Falcon figure was released for the Avengers Assemble line of kits.
- A Lego figure of Sam Wilson as Captain America was released at SDCC 2015.
- Falcon was included in a kit as part of the Captain America: Civil War line.