Friday marked the premiere of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the second Marvel series in Phase 4 to hit Disney Plus. Centered around Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), the first episode shows the two characters reintegrating back into society following the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”
But when exactly does “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” take place in the MCU timeline?
Events in the Show Are Set Months After ‘Endgame’
According to a report by Collider, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is set about six months after the Avengers defeat Thanos and Iron Man returns half of humanity back to Earth. This was an intentional decision made by the showrunners.
Speaking with Collider, director Kari Skogland explained that they wanted to capture a point in time where the shock and joy of half the population returning to existence would just be wearing off. In this time, people are once again beginning to grapple with how to move forward and the true reality of the situation.
“With half the population Blipped away, you’ve got different economic circumstances, different border circumstances,” Skogland told Collider. Different countries were cooperative, that weren’t before. Neighbors are cooperating, who weren’t necessarily getting along before. People moved into houses that they didn’t own before. Everything changed. Now we’re into that moment. We’re past the surprise of it and now we’re into the realities of it. I think that makes for a very different place in the story, because we can get not only grounded about it, but we can drill into how people respond to that. Some of it’s good and some of it’s not so good.”
This theme is hinted at in the first episode with the introduction of a group called the Flag Smashers who think “the world was better during the Blip.” It’s further explained that the group wants a unified world without borders, but that’s the extent of the exposition the show provides in the premiere. There is a clear reference to the timing of the show that comes shortly after we learn about the Flag Smashers when Wilson refers to the return of half the population as taking place “a few months ago.”
The Change in the Marvel Release Schedule
Given how directly the show appears to be tackling the aftermath of the events in “Avengers: Endgame,” it makes sense that this series was actually supposed to be the first to land on Disney Plus. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” was supposed to be the gateway for fans into Marvel’s new approach to telling stories through streaming and debut in August of 2020, but pandemic-related delays to the production schedule forced the show to be pushed back until 2021.
Those delays led to “WandaVision” taking the lead spot in the Disney Plus lineup for Marvel. Although “WandaVision” takes place just weeks after the events shown in “Avengers: Endgame,” as Collider reports, it was originally slated to come to Disney Plus in the spring of 2021. Interestingly enough, both “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision” take place earlier in the MCU timeline than the events in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” the last film in Phase 3 and the last Marvel film shown in theaters.
That theatrical release drought should come to an end for Marvel on May 7, which is the day “Black Widow” is slated to premiere in theaters. The next streaming series to come to Disney Plus will be “Loki,” which is scheduled to debut on June 11.
For now, there are still five more episodes of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” to tide fans over, and the show seems interested in helping everyone make sense of the new world order after “Avengers: Endgame.”