Marvel's latest offering, "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," premieres on Disney+ on March 19, 2021. In honor of its big debut, Wonderwall.com rounded up everything you need to know about the six-episode series, which centers around Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier). Let's start with the notoriously tight-lipped studio's official logline for the hotly anticipated show… According to Marvel, Sam and Bucky, "who came together in the final moments of 'Avengers: Endgame,' team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience." Keep reading for more on "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier."
First, a refresher… When we first meet Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the former U.S. Air Force Pararescueman is working with veterans with PTSD at the VA in Washington, D.C. After befriending Steve Rogers, he uses his EXO-7 Falcon jetpack to help Cap take down Hydra — and Bucky Barnes as his alter ego, The Winter Soldier, who's under Hydra's control at the time. Sam officially becomes an Avenger in the final moments of 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," and he has a small but memorable role in 2015's "Ant-Man" — a hilarious physical confrontation with Paul Rudd's Scott Lang, who disables his jetpack from the inside. In 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," Sam teams up with Cap to protect The Winter Soldier after he's framed for assassinating Wakanda's King T'Chaka — the father of Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa. He disintegrates during The Snap in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War but returns in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame."
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And here's where we left off with Sam when last we saw him… In the final moments of "Avengers: Endgame," an elderly Steve Rogers passes on his vibranium shield to Sam, who promises to do his best to carry on Cap's legacy. In the official trailer for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," Sam is seen wielding the shield and, at one point, throwing it toward a series of trees during target practice. "It feels like it belongs to someone else," he says. Replies Bucky, "That shield represents a lot of things to a lot of people."
As for Bucky… We first meet Sgt. James Buchanan Barnes in 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger." He and childhood bestie Steve Rogers are separated when they enlist in the Army during WWII and later reunite when Steve (who's transformed into Captain America) rescues Bucky after he's captured by Nazis under Hydra control. Sadly, Bucky falls — presumably to his death — during a subsequent mission. He makes his big debut as The Winter Soldier — an enhanced assassin brainwashed by Hydra to do their bidding, including taking out Nick Fury — in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." After escaping from the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and popping up in the end-credits scene in 2015's "Ant-Man," Bucky plays a central role in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." The titular civil war refers to the division between the Avengers over how to handle Bucky after Helmut Zemo (more on him later!) activates The Winter Soldier's mind control to make him assassinate King T'Chaka. Later, when Zemo reveals The Winter Soldier also assassinated Tony Stark's parents, Tony crushes Bucky's enhanced arm.
Here's where we left off with Bucky… Despite T'Challa's initial desire to seek vengeance for father T'Chaka's death, he ultimately grants Bucky asylum in Wakanda, where little sister Shuri helps him recover from his Hydra programing and restores his arm — as seen in the end-credits scene in 2018's "Black Panther." Following a reunion with Cap in Wakanda, where Bucky is now known as the White Wolf, he becomes the first person to disintegrate following The Snap in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." He returns in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" and says his final goodbyes to Cap. The official trailer for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" shows Bucky struggling to get along with Sam. "Why does Sam aggravate you?" their counselor asks at one point.
So where does that leave Sam and Bucky? The mismatched pair have shared a handful of hilariously shady moments over the years thanks to their rivalry over their mutual best friend (Steve). Remember in "Captain America: Civil War" when Bucky asks Sam to move up his seat as they sit in a car together? In the ultimate act of pettiness, Sam responds with a stern "no." Seconds later, the two men are shown smiling and nodding in approval as Cap shares a smooch with Sharon Carter (more on her next!). Later, after Spider-Man easily handles them both in battle, Sam flatly tells Bucky, "I hate you." Still, it's clear they respect one another — especially by the conclusion of "Avengers: Endgame."
Back in 2018 — long before Marvel announced "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" — Anthony Mackie said that a Sam-Bucky spinoff "would be like Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in '48 Hours.'" Explained the actor, "It would end up with us beating … each other [up] three or four times, I know it." Sebastian Stan shared the same sentiment, comparing the Bucky-Sam dynamic to "Midnight Run" — like a "buddy comedy from the '80s or the '90s." The official trailer for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" shows the duo teaming up on a mysterious mission and attending couples counseling … during which they engage in a staring contest. (Very mature!) Another trailer shows Bucky asking Sam if they're "partners." Sam fires back, "Co-workers!" Agrees Bucky, "Not necessarily a team."
Emily VanCamp returns to the role of Sharon Carter (Agent 13) in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." The character is first introduced while undercover as Steve's next-door neighbor — a nurse named Kate with whom he develops a flirtation — in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." After S.H.I.E.L.D. falls, she joins the CIA — where she's still working in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." Steve and Sharon reconnect at the funeral for his great love, Agent Peggy Carter … during which Sharon reveals that Peggy is her great-aunt. She and Steve later share a sweet smooch before she goes into hiding after helping him with his mission.
In "Avengers: Endgame," it's revealed that Sharon Carter (pictured on the set of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier") disappeared during The Snap. It's unclear what she's been up to since she returned. The official trailer for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" shows Sharon teaming up with Bucky and Sam… though we'll have to wait to see what circumstances bring them together.
Daniel Brühl returns to the role of Helmut Zemo in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." The former Sokovian colonel — who's consumed by vengeance — first appeared in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" (pictured), during which he uses mind control to make The Winter Soldier assassinate Wakanda's King T'Chaka. In the process, he creates division amongst the Avengers, whom he's hellbent on destroying after his family was killed during the Avengers' battle against Ultron in Sokovia — as seen in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (He did not, however, appear in that film.) At the end of "Civil War," T'Challa stops Zemo from shooting himself and takes him into custody. "So how does it feel? To spend all that time, all that effort to see [your plan] fail so spectacularly?" CIA operative Everett Ross askes the imprisoned terrorist in his final moments on screen. A smiling Zemo replies, "Did it?"
In the official trailer for "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," Zemo is seen carrying his iconic purple mask from the Marvel comics and inspecting a memorial statue of a family — presumably a family killed during the Battle of Sokovia. It's unclear how he escaped from prison, but in the trailer, he's heard saying, "Superheroes cannot be allowed to exist. … I have no intention to leave my work unfinished." Cryptic!
Wyatt Russell is set to star as John Walker on "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." The actor — and son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell — was snapped shooting the Disney+ series in Atlanta in early 2020. In one shot, he's seen wearing military garb while carrying his arm in a sling. In another, he's wearing a costume resembling Captain America's uniform. It's unclear what role he'll in play in the show, but in the Marvel comics, John has been portrayed as both a hero (U.S. Agent) and a villain (Super-Patriot) who's approved by the U.S. government to take over the Captain American mantle after Steve Rogers retires. The official "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" trailer shows a character dressed as Captain America (perhaps John) running across a football field as a marching band performs and fireworks explode overhead.
UFC champ Georges St. Pierre returns to the role of Georges Batroc in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." The Marvel villain — who's known as Batroc the Leaper in the comics — first appeared in 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" as an Algerian mercenary and pirate who comes to blows with Captain America and Black Widow Natasha Romanoff after he takes a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel hostage. Although he escapes, he's later captured and brought in for questioning by World Security Council Secretary Alexander Pierce — who's secretly a top Hydra agent infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury ultimately reveals to Cap that he's the one who hired Batroc as an excuse to get Natasha on board the ship to steal classified S.H.I.E.L.D. documents to prove the Hydra conspiracy. Although it's unclear what role Georges will play in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," it's possible he's teamed up with Zemo — perhaps they escaped from prison together?
"12 Years a Slave" and "When They See Us" actress Adepero Oduye is set to star as Sam's sister, Sarah Wilson, on "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." She's seen here with her on-screen brother, co-star Anthony Mackie, and Kari Skogland, who directed all six episodes of the series.
"Solo: A Star Wars Story" actress Erin Kellyman will reportedly star as Karli Morgenthau on "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Karli is the leader of "an anti-patriotism organization" known as the Flag-Smashers. She's based on the male Marvel villain Flag-Smasher, whose real name is Karl Morgenthau. In the official trailer for "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," she's briefly seen smiling before pulling a mask over her face. "This world is ours," she says at one point, adding that "there's no going back." At another point, Sam tells her "it doesn't have to be a war," to which she replies, "It already is."
During an early 2021 interview with BroBible, Don Cheadle revealed that he's set to appear in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" as U.S. Air Force Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes — Tony Stark's best friend and right-hand man. Terrence Howard originally appeared in the role in 2008's "Iron Man" before Don took over the part in 2010's "Iron Man 2," which saw Rhodey don Stark's War Machine armor for the first time. In 2013's "Iron Man 3," War Machine is briefly rebranded as the Iron Patriot. He then officially becomes an Avenger at the end of 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Things take a turn for the worse for Rhodey in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War" when he's partially paralyzed while fighting alongside Iron Man after Vision accidentally shoots him out of the sky. By 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War," he's regained the ability to walk with the help of some Stark technology and forgiven the members of Team Cap responsible for injuring him. He's one of the remaining Avengers following The Snap, and he appears in the mid-credits scene in 2019's "Captain Marvel," which shows Carol Danvers' first introduction to the team. In 2019's "Avengers: Endgame," he travels back in time with Nebula to steal the Power Stone before Peter Quill — whom he knocks unconscious — can get to it. We last saw him mourning at Tony Stark's funeral at the conclusion of "Endgame."
On March 12, television critics started taking to social media to share their (extremely positive!) reactions to the first episode of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier," which is being described as extremely political. Wrote TheWrap's Umberto Gonzalez, "[I] dug it! The opening action sequence is very cool, has a surprise appearance, and I like where the story is going as we get deeper into Sam and Bucky's backstory." Tweeted Fandango's Erik Davis, "It's solid. Definitely more somber & dramatic at the start than I was expecting (which is a good thing), but also features the best Falcon action we've seen yet. Good mix of fights & story. I'm sold & hungry for more." MTV News correspondent Josh Horowitz wrote that there's "probably more character development for these 2 characters in these 45 minutes than the previous 10 films." We can't wait to watch!
In mid-March, Kevin Feige hinted that unlike "WandaVision," there could be a second season of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier." Said the Marvel Studios boss, "If we were able to do another one, there's certainly ideas." He went on to say that storylines "really will go back and forth" between Marvel's Disney+ shows and the studio's feature films: "Sometimes [there] will be a season 2, sometimes [there] will be a feature," he said. As for how "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" will impact upcoming films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "The characters of Bucky and Sam are essential to the MCU — whatever they go through could and should have an impact on the MCU," he said, adding that "there can be character shifts that have massive, massive implications for the future."