The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a six-part series on the popular Marvel characters Sam Wilson or Falcon and James Buchanan (Bucky) Barnes or The Winter Soldier, is all set to premier on Friday, March 19. The series has been in production since 2018 and after facing a few hurdles, namely the 2020 earthquakes in Puerto Rico and the Covid-19 induced lockdown during which filming was halted, the series wrapped its principle production by late 2020.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been a highly anticipated show since as early as 2014 after fans realised that actors Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie had a solid camaraderie. In 2016, when Captain America: Civil War released, fans saw Bucky and Sam interact properly for the first time. Back then, Sam and Bucky had a strained relationship but by the events of Avengers: Endgame, we saw the two bond after Captain America decided to go back in time and live his life with Peggy Carter.
In the several promotional videos and trailers for the new show, we see the duo come back together again to fight against a newly divided world, still healing from Thanos’ blip. However, before the exciting series drops let us take a look at everything we know about these two and everything we can expect from the series.
Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier
Even though Bucky’s journey in the Marvel Comics is a little different, we will pan out how we see the character progress in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We first saw Bucky Barnes in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger, as Steve Rogers’ best friend who gets drafted off to war while Steve tries to lie and enroll. After Steve Rogers gets the serum to gain superpowers and become Captain America, we see him disobeying orders and fly to enemy lines into the Nazi Hydra camp to rescue Bucky and the other soldiers in his battalion. After an initial confrontation with Red Skull, Steve rescues Bucky and others and Bucky becomes a part of the Howling Commandos. However, during a mission, Bucky falls off a train and is presumed dead.
He then appears in the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a brainwashed Hydra assassin whose mission is to kill Steve Rogers. We see the Winter Soldier recognise Steve but get his memory reset. During the final confrontation, Steve, along with his team manage to stop the secret Hydra branch in SHIELD from killing millions of citizens. However, he is almost beaten to death by Bucky. However, when an unconscious Steve Rogers is drowning, we see the Winter Soldier rescuing him and disappearing.
In Captain America: Civil War (2016), the confrontation between team Iron Man and team Captain America technically gets escalated due to Bucky Barnes. We see Iron Man and Captain America disagree on the Sokovia Accords, however, the real confrontation starts when Helmut Zemo, a former Sokovian soldier, tries to exact revenge from the Avengers by creating a divide between them. He disguises himself as Bucky and bombed the United Nations conference in Vienna, killing 12 people. This leads to half of the Avengers wanting Bucky’s arrest and the rest trying to protect him. However, the lead up to the finale is that Iron Man finds out that his parents were killed by Bucky when he was brainwashed as the Winter Soldier. This leads to an epic showdown between Iron and Captain America with Avengers being disbanded till Avengers: Infinity War.
In Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Bucky who is under treatment in Wakanda, fights with the rest of the Avengers who are there so that Shuri can take the Mind Stone out of Vision without killing him. However, when Thanos manages to get all the Infinity Stones and snap, Bucky is among the first to be reduced to ashes.
In Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers go back in time and collect the Infinity Stones to reverse Thanos snap. Bucky is then among the dusted off Avengers who come back to fight Thanos and his army before Iron Man sacrifices his life by snapping Thanos into oblivion.
Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon
Sam Wilson is a former United States Air Force pararescue airman, who left active duty after the death of his wingman Riley. In Captain America: The WInter Soldier (2014) we first see him meeting Steve during his morning run. We then see him as a counsellor who helps other war veterans deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Soon Steve and Sam form a friendship. When Nick Fury is allegedly dead and Steve finds out that Hydra has infiltrated SHIELD even in top levels, he and Black Widow Natasha Romaoff go into hiding. They seek Sam’s help and find out that Hydra have developed weapons that can wipe off millions of citizens in a minute. Sam along with Natasha fights against Bucky as the Winter Soldier and other Hydra agents, while Steve tries to stop the weapons from being fired. Sam also has an epic fight with Brock Rumlow, a Hydra agent and known in Comics as the villain Crossbones.
In Civil War, Sam fights alongside Captain America as he tries to save Bucky from team Iron Man. We see the first ‘SamBucky’ interactions in this movie. He is also indirectly responsible for James Rhodes (Rhodey) or the War Machine’s (Don Cheadle) injury after he ducks an attack from Vision, which hits Rhodey and makes him fall off a high-altitude. Despite Tony and Sam’s efforts, they cannot catch Rhodey and he suffers a spinal injury. Sam, along with other Avengers are arrested by the government and are later broken out by Steve.
In Avengers: Infinity War, he fights against Thanos’ snap. He also gets dusted off during the snap. In Avengers: Endgame, he utters the iconic line, ‘On your left’ and is one of the first Avengers to appear to help in the final fight against Thanos.
What We Can Expect From the Falcon and the Winter Soldier
We must acknowledge the fact that Marvel Studios are notorious for their secrecy. This means even if the promotional videos have given us a hint, there might be a lot more going on that we will find out by watching the series. However, from everything that we have seen so far, we can make some guesses. For starters, the series will dive deeper into these characters’ lives, we can expect more details into their past, probably flashbacks of Sam serving as a pararescue airman, and Bucky as the Winter Soldier.
From the trailer, we know that Bucky has a therapist and Sebastian Stan addressed in a press-conference that we will see the character dealing with PTSD. On the other hand, we will see Sam struggling to keep Captain America’s shield. Both these characters will be reeling from the loss of Captain America. This also means we will find out if he is extremely old or dead.
Daniel Bruhl, who played Zemo in Civil War is in the show, which means he will be the one wreaking havoc in the show, which will require Sam and Bucky to team up.
There will also be obvious commentary on racial politics. Captain America giving his shield to Sam Wilson is a symbol of a new era of unity. However, in the trailer we see a “new” Captain America, a White man given the responsibility to carry on Steve Rogers’ legacy.
Apart from that, there aren’t a lot of fan-theories online. Taking cues from WandaVision, we can say for sure that what we speculate isn’t what ends up happening in MCU. Hence, we can only wait and see what happens next.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on Disney+ Hostar on March 19, 2021. Directed by Kari Skogland, the show also stars Emily Vancamp, Wyatt Russel and Daniel Bruhl in pivotal roles.