Temper Expectations for The Falcon and Winter Soldier
We’ve entered a new age and a new phase of Marvel story-telling with the Disney Plus series. WandaVision was just the beginning, but it told us a lot about what to expect going forward. With The Falcon and Winter Soldier airing, what exactly can we expect from this team-up of Captain America’s two closest friends?
The exact story is anyone’s guess, but there are some threads we can pull from the various trailers. We know the show is going to explore Sam Wilson and his path to accepting his role as the new Captain America. While that’s happening, the US Government is enacting their own plans on who they think should fill the mantle of Captain America.
We also know that Baron Zemo, who was apprehended by the Black Panther at the end of Captain America: Civil War, is back. His mission seems to be the same that it was at the end of the movie, end-all superheroes.
Bucky, is of course, at Sam’s side as well just as he was for Steve Rogers. There are a few other important characters that will likely play large roles as well including Sharon Carter (Great Niece to Peggy Carter) and Maya Lopez, aka Echo who is commonly associated with Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye.
First and foremost, this is going to be Sam Wilson’s story. He’s at the start of the series title and this will be his path to becoming the next Captain America.
What does that mean exactly? People are expecting a return to normal Marvel after the odd yet compelling show that was WandaVision. But, I think people should expect a bit more of what WandaVision great in Falcon and the Winter Soldier as well.
We won’t be getting any homages to classic sitcoms or weird chaos magic shaping the show. However, the quiet moments that helped us explore deeper into these characters are going to form the crux of all the Disney Plus Marvel shows.
There will absolutely be action in this show. You don’t give a man a vibranium arm or another guy giant falcon wings and expect them to not kick some ass. But Kevin Feige has said that these limited series are being used to tell stories that can’t exist on the big screens.
To that end, ask yourself how much we know about Sam Wilson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Outside of the fact that he was a soldier who led supergroups we know absolutely nothing. Just like WandaVision gave us a look at her life and what made her tick, expect to the get same look inside the life and past of Sam Wilson.
The Falcon is not Steve Rogers and as such he’s not going to be the same kind of Captain America. That’s what the major part of this story is going to contend with, what kind of Captain America is Sam Wilson going to be.
The Winter Soldier
This is the biggest question mark I have going into this series, what stake does Bucky Barnes have in Sam Wilson? He was Steve Rogers’s best friend, his right-hand man. With Steve gone, Bucky could do anything he wants, but for some reason, he’s decided to stick with Sam.
Is Bucky worried about Steve’s legacy and how Sam will handle it? Sebastian Stan, in past interviews, has said that Bucky understands why Steve gave the shield to Sam and that he agrees it was the right choice. So anyone who thinks Bucky wants the shield for himself can sit this conversation out.
What is most likely, is that Bucky trusts so much in Steve’s judgment that he doesn’t understand Sam’s hesitation. He’s likely sticking around to help Sam recognize his potential and rise to that mark.
The other interesting dynamic that both Sam and Bucky will have to work around is whose taking the lead. They were the right and left hand to Steve Rogers as Captain America and while I do think that Bucky would follow Sam’s lead, he’s not Steve. He operates differently and that’s something we see Bucky struggling with in the trailers.
The most exciting thing I’m eager to watch the series explore with Bucky, however, is his past and his state-of-mind. We’ve seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that because of the brainwashing, Bucky didn’t even remember his own name. The conditioning he went through erased who he was.
Though the conditioning was handled by T’Challa and Wakanda, there was still a lot Bucky didn’t remember. But in a recent trailer for the series, Bucky recalls reading the Hobbit when it first came out. Perhaps it’s only meant to be a funny joke, but that says to me that Bucky is starting to get all of his memories back. This means there’s a lot on Bucky’s side for the show to explore as well.
Finally, the last big question mark we have is the bad guys. Who are the antagonists going into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? We know of at least three characters from Marvel Comics who will be making appearances big or small in the show.
There’s John Walker aka US Agent, who the US Government have chosen as their pick to replace Captain America. In the comics, he’s come across as both an antagonist as well as a hero. So, it’s difficult right now to know exactly how that’s going to shake out.
The other is Maya Lopez, aka Echo, who traditionally is a Hawkeye antagonist but has also played the hero as well. Don’t expect her story to come full circle in this series when we have the Kate Bishop Hawkeye series coming soon.
The biggest antagonist right now to keep our eyes on is Heinrich Zemo, otherwise known as Baron Zemo. He was introduced in Captain America: Civil War and was the man behind the curtains helping to pull the strings as the heroes argued over the Sokovian Accords. Last we saw him, he had completed his mission killing the secret Super Soldiers in the old Soviet base as well as turning Iron Man against Captain America and Bucky.
With his mission finished, he attempted to kill himself but was stopped by King T’Challa the Black Panther who said he would answer for his crimes. With Zemo back and wanting to ‘end all superheroes, it’s very likely that he escaped whatever custody he was in during the Thanos’ snap. That event is probably the reason he has doubled down on his mission to end superheroes.
Baron Zemo likely saw the devastating of the Thanos Snap as a direct result of superheroes. Millions, billions of people affected in the same way he was when his family was killed. Baron Zemo sees himself as a savior of the world and his machinations will likely be at the forefront of the series.
The Falcon and Winter Soldier premiers on Disney Plus this Friday, March 19th. It stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Brühl, Emily VanCamp, and more.
The Other Identity
If you want more on The Falcon and Winter Soldier, the MCU, or comics in general, check out the Other Identity podcast. Each week Robbie Landis and Ben Morse (former Marvel Alumni) dive into various DC Comics and Marvel Comics topics. Everything from the comic book pages to the heroes on the silver screen, the Other Identity celebrates the fan in all of us. Whether a veteran reader or a new fan of the MCU, the show is for everyone.
This week Robbie and Ben talk with comics writer Matt Rosenberg about his work at Marvel. Matt discusses how the pandemic has affected the comics industry from his point of view. They also talk about Matt’s run on Hawkeye in the Freefall mini-series and his future with DC Comics writing for characters like Grifter. Subscribe to the feed below.
Feature Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney