Know Your Marvel Movies: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
When The Walt Disney Company announced its intentions for Disney+, the studio did the expected. After watching Netflix cancel all of its Marvel television content, Disney revealed that it would create new, original television programming for the service. And the first series will air later in 2020. Here’s everything we know about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Warning: This article will discuss events from Avengers: Endgame. If you haven’t seen the movie, read at your own peril!
Who Are The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
You don’t need to see every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to know these characters. As long as you’ve watched one of the Captain America sequels, you’re familiar with Falcon and Winter Soldier.
The Falcon, Sam Wilson, served as a pararescue airman in the United States Air Force. After his wingman and best friend died, Wilson returned home and assisted veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
During one of his morning runs, Wilson encountered – and was repeatedly passed by – Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. This meeting would change Wilson’s life, as he befriended the superhero and eventually joined The Avengers. To date, he has appeared in two Captain America, three Avengers, and one Ant-Man movie.
Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, has appeared with Captain America since the beginning. Barnes and Rogers befriended one another as kids and somehow maintained that relationship long past their natural lifespans.
Early on, Barnes possessed the power and cool quotient, but he always treated Rogers with kindness. Once Captain America absorbed the Super Soldier Serum, the balance shifted for a time. Then, during a World War II battle, Barnes and his team lost a skirmish with HYDRA, and all were presumed dead.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Barnes returned as a brainwashed killing machine with a cybernetic arm. He attempted to kill several influential Americans. Thankfully, Rogers aided the Winter Soldier in restoring his memory and overcoming his programming.
In the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Barnes holed up in Wakanda, a place hidden from the modern world. Thanks to the technological advances available there, the Winter Soldier wields an even more powerful artificial arm now.
The Plan for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Wilson and Barnes shared an unpleasant experience. Both of them turned to dust when Thanos wielded the Infinity Gauntlet. They later returned during the Battle of Earth and emerged victorious.
In the aftermath of this battle, Rogers chose to return to his own time, leaving Barnes in the present. Importantly, Rogers handed the Captain America shield to Wilson, thereby giving him the title. So, Sam Wilson holds the title of Captain America at the start of the television series.
According to Marvel executives, the new show will begin in the wake of these events. It’ll explore the gravity of Wilson taking on this new persona. The hopes of Americans follow Captain America, and some government officials are apparently none too pleased by the change. Apparently, they wanted a say in who replaced Rogers and will treat Wilson begrudgingly.
Technically, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will become the second project during Phase Four of the MCU. It will follow Black Widow but precede Eternals. Since the former film takes place in the past, the series joins Spider-Man: Far from Home as the first two projects set after the Battle of Earth.
The Spidey film only touched on minor elements of what happened next. This limited series will explore the new MCU in greater detail. It’s a world where Iron-Man has died, and Captain America has ceded his position/status to Sam Wilson. Since those two characters, along with Thor, anchor the MCU and The Avengers, this change ripples across the entire Marvel collective.
About the Cast: The Leads
By now, you’re intimately familiar with the stars of this television series. As a brief refresher, Sebastian Stan, the actor portraying Bucky Barnes, got his start on Gossip Girl. He later earned Disney’s respect with his turn as the Mad Hatter on Once Upon a Time.
Stan has appeared in enjoyable films like Rachel Getting Married, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Black Swan. However, let’s be real. He’s famous because of Bucky Barnes.
Anthony Mackie’s the more successful actor thus far. He co-starred in 8 Mile in 2002 and has worked steadily since then. I could list a swarm of films but will instead mention his most recognizable work.
Mackie featured in We Are Marshall, The Hurt Locker, Notorious, and The Adjustment Bureau. He’s terrific in all of them, and I highly recommend each one. Again, the MCU has turned him into a star, though. And Mackie will level up that much more by portraying Captain America, one of the most iconic superheroes.
About the Cast: Returning MCU Characters
As an Everwood fan, I feel like I’ve watched Emily VanCamp forever. She starred in that series as the love interest of the main character and later co-starred in the popular Brothers & Sisters. She almost immediately switched to Revenge and anchored the long-running series.
Then, VanCamp joined the MCU as Sharon Carter, a presumed ordinary medical official who lived near Steve Rogers. Instead, circumstances dictated that she reveal herself as the second-generation Agent Carter and the niece of Peggy Carter, Captain America’s star-crossed lover.
VanCamp’s since starred in The Resident, which currently airs on Fox. She’s legitimately one of only a handful of actors who have performed on such a large number of successful shows. And she’s somehow managed this despite being only 33.
Since Sharon Carter had become a love interest for Rogers, nobody’s quite sure what her purpose will serve in the series. After all, her character only knew Barnes and Wilson through Rogers. However, she’s a decorated and accomplished spy working directly under Nick Fury. So, Agent Carter II possesses plenty of story opportunities.
Character actor extraordinaire Daniel Bruhl will also return as Baron Zemo. And that’s a significant turn, as well. Zemo’s the only villain in the MCU to date who actually “won.” Zemo aspired to fracture the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, and that’s what happened. Satisfied, he tried to commit suicide, but Black Panther prevented him from doing so.
Zemo’s been in supervillain jail since then. I doubt he’ll want to give Falcon and Winter Soldier warm hugs when the three of them reunite.
About the Cast: New Characters
The most interesting new cast member is Wyatt Russell…for a couple of reasons. First, he’s the child of Kurt Russell, and Walt’s Disney’s final words were – I kid you not – “Kurt Russell.” So, it’s a lovely touch to have him co-star in a Disney+ production.
More importantly for the story, Russell plays John Walker, who is better known in Marvel comics by a different name. Yes, U.S. Agent will appear in this film. The immediate speculation centers on Walker acting as the government’s choice for Captain America instead of Sam Wilson. However, nobody has confirmed that yet.
Three other actors will appear in undisclosed roles. They are Adepero Oduye (The Big Short), Miki Ishikawa (Zoey 101), and Desmond Chiam (The Shannara Chronicles). Based on current information, this series will feature only a handful of characters, with eight named members comprising the known cast.
Disney has indicated that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will debut in August of 2020. However, nothing locks the streaming service into that date. If the series isn’t ready yet, the company will delay it. And that’s definitely possible.
The series started filming in October of 2019. During mid-January of 2020, production moved to Puerto Rico. At least, that was the plan. Earthquakes caused a delay that may force Disney to move filming to a different locale.
The one thing we know for sure is that the series will include six episodes. Also, similar to The Mandalorian, they’ll air weekly rather than all at once.
For Disney+, the arrival of this series will lead to a ton of new subscriptions. Along with The Simpsons, The Mandalorian has dominated viewer watching statistics on the streaming service so far. A limited Marvel television series set in the wake of Avengers: Endgame will drive Disney+ sales in late 2020.