Before we get into this, let me just say from the outset…Sharon Carter is not the Power Broker folks. More on that later. Now that I’ve said it, let’s move on. For arguments sake, let’s all depart from this largely held belief and pretend, for the moment, that the above statement is accurate and consider the incredible implications that one antagonist shares both of these mysterious identities.
The idea of the Benefactor first appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp and was uttered by the ‘Pym-Particle’ middleman, Sonny Birch. Although never seen or ever mentioned again in other Marvel properties, the idea of this behind-the-scenes criminal mastermind was now firmly established in Marvel lore.
Interestingly, part of my theory is based the layered complexity we saw in this hierarchy as portrayed in Ant Man and the Wasp. We have a Benefactor, a middle person (a.k.a. Sonny Birch) and then the Ghost, used by Sonny to procure a technology wanted two levels higher than her. This decentralization as it is, reveals a classic trope in criminal underworlds. The more layers in the chain of command, the more protected the tip of the pyramid is. It’s analogous to how local law enforcement first moves on street level dealers to find local dealers to find regional dealers to large-area manufacturers and on and on we go. This is also analogous to how terrorist cells operation in real life. It’s plausible deniability, it’s organized and hierarchical and yet it is also decentralized. In reality, this is a smart way to structure a criminal enterprise and as we move into the territory of larger Marvel antagonists, we should expect no different. And truth be told, it gets even more complicated.
The Power Broker
A bit more is known, albeit not much, about the Power Broker than the Benefactor, as this character had a prominent place through the entire arc of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier storyline. Since Sharon Carter is not the Power Broker, the identity of this criminal mastermind remains elusive. Nonetheless, we know that the PB was figural in helping to recreate the super soldier serum, no small feat. Although Karli Morgenthau flipped the script on the Power Brokers plans, what could a criminal with the range and resources of the Power Broker have done with a proper and strategic use of the super soldier serum.
My mind staggers with the implications. WHAT IF, in the interest of further decentralization, the Power Broker enlisted another stream of plans with other scientists working on a super soldier serum separate from Dr. Nagel. Tony Stark tech still lingers, likely in the hands of Justin Hammers predecessor’s or others, Pym tech is still up to be secured and WHAT IF Sharon Carter uses her newfound place within the US government to steal SWORD technology. Again, the implications are staggering and very exciting.
Why Sharon Carter is NOT the Power Broker
In what’s appears to be a brilliant strategy, the true Power Broker has likely allowed Sharon Carter to use the title and even fulfill the role of what one would expect of the Power Broker simply to add another level of hierarchy to protect themselves from discovery and Sharon is happy to comply to protect her boss.
Truthfully, nothing that happened or was said in the final episode of the FAWS is an admission by others or even Sharon herself that she is the Power Broker. She merely didn’t argue the point when both Karli and Batroc claimed the discovery.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Karli and Sharon’s conversation:
Karli: “You just want me because you want your muscle back. Without us Super Soldiers, how much power does the Power Broker have?”
Sharon: “More than you.”
Batroc: “So you’re the Power Broker.”
Sharon: (No Answer)
In context, if Sharon Carter was not the Power Broker, these answers still make sense. She has admitted to nothing and is allowing these characters, soon to be dead, to think what they want. A further level of protection to the one pulling her strings. The last scene saw this conversation with Sharon on the phone that fans have been led to believe is her acting as the Power Broker as well…but who is she talking to? Here is the conversation, pay close attention.
Sharon: “Start lining up our buyers…we’re about to have full access to government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it…”
Again, nothing said here points to Sharon Carter being the Power Broker. Certainly, the use of ‘our’ can be interpreted various ways. At the most typical, would imply some type of ‘co-equality’ but could certainly be interpreted as a junior position or yes, a senior position within this hierarchy.
Recently, I read an article analyzing one writer’s take on ‘the reveal’ of the Power Broker and the thought process stood out to me and only further accentuates my point. The statement was the following…perhaps the worse kept secret in Marvel history with a reveal that underwhelmed and surprised nobody. I thought to myself…exactly!
Let’s be frank, when has Marvel so clumsily revealed such an important reveal of a major character? The answer is, they haven’t! Let’s take WandVision as a further example, this series was replete with red-herrings, misdirections, and false trails…perhaps for no other reason but to troll fans who saw Mephisto, the X-Men or Magneto everywhere. Or it was our over-active imaginations wanting these things to be true. However, behind the scenes, Marvel was in complete control, and they kept us guessing (and still have us guessing) all the way. And it worked. What it also showed is that Marvel is not in such poor control of their reveals and accentuates the point that fans will see and know…only what Marvel wants them to see and when they want us to see it.
The truth my friends is that Marvel is not stupid, nor so poor in their planning of their major revelations, especially as it relates to the main underworld antagonist in Madripoor, likely a figural character going forward. This location, likely housing mutants already, will play a significant role in future MCU projects and the Power Broker will be part of those.
Is there somebody above the Benefactor and the Power Broker?
Even more brilliant…WHAT IF the Power Broker and the Benefactor are not even the top of the food chain? More layers of hierarchy only insulate this character to a greater degree and would show the ingenious business-model laid out by this individual as well as maximize their ability to obtain whatever they need for the conquest they’re seeking.
I will admit that Marvel has not always done well by their villains, but for the most part, they have greatly improved in this area and I’m sensing more great villains coming up in the future of the MCU.
So, if you’re still with me, consider whether this idea resonates with any of the possibilities regarding who this may be? How many future Marvel villains could be behind both the Power Broker and the Benefactor?
Who are they?
Both options and theories abound as to who may be the mysterious Power Broker and/or the Benefactor but that is a discussion for another time. In the meantime, consider the import of this idea and decide if it figures into the future plans of Marvel.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Movieweb.