Marvel’s focus on streaming series will continue Friday with the release of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” which will be the second series to hit Disney Plus after “WandaVision.” The finale of “WandaVision” set up future Marvel feature films such as “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and “Captain Marvel 2,” and the MCU’s newest series could have similar implications for the big-screen events.
It’s already been confirmed that Zemo, the primary antagonist from “Captain America: Civil War,” will be returning in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” another link between the films and the series. While the actual plot of the show remains a mystery, it’s a safe bet that the events in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will continue to push forward the MCU’s overarching narrative for Phase 4.
Character Evolution Should Have a ‘Big Impact’ on MCU
While Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) have been relegated mainly to the background throughout their run in the MCU, they will be the center of attention in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”. Wilson and Barnes had extremely close ties to Captain America in the films, and Wilson was given his shield at the end of “Avengers: Endgame,” but they will forge their own paths forward in the series.
During a press conference in the lead-up to Friday’s premiere, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained how important Wilson and Barnes are to the MCU’s plans moving forward and how the series could ultimately impact the shared universe.
“The characters of Bucky and Sam are essential to the MCU,” Feige said, according to a Marvel report. “As they change, or as they evolve, or whatever they go through, could and should have a big impact on the MCU. There can be character shifts that have massive, massive implications for the stories we’re telling in the future.”
Despite previously operating as secondary characters, Barnes and Wilson are well-known characters to Marvel fans. With this series giving them even more room to grow within the MCU, the pair appears poised to take on an even greater role.
Fans Will See a ‘New & Improved’ Sam Wilson
Another bit of news to come out of the press conference was that the show will focus on showing the men behind the masks. There’s always been some comedic friction between Barnes and Wilson in the movies, but the six-episode series will afford the chance to show other aspects of their character.
Mackie pointed to the way his character will change in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and how the show will dive further into his backstory, which was only briefly touched on previously in the MCU.
“The idea of Sam Wilson—he’s always evolved in the world of Marvel comic books, and now he’s evolved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Mackie said, according to Marvel. “As African American culture evolved, Stan Lee evolved him in the comic book into different incarnations of himself. I’m excited for everyone to see the new and improved Sam Wilson.”
Barnes should also benefit from the extended screen time. For much of his time in the MCU, Barnes has been operating as the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed HYDRA agent. Zemo, who looks to be the primary villain of the show, was the last person to activate the Winter Soldier. It remains to be seen if he will do so once again, but Barnes will at least start out the series as himself.