With WandaVision now in the rearview mirror, Marvel fans have turned their attention to the imminent premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier this Friday. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Sam Wilson (the Falcon) and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) for a series set after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
As we’ve reported previously, after the Avengers and their many allies finally defeated Thanos in Endgame, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) handed over his shield to Sam so he could take on the mantle. But will Sam accept it? That’s a big part of what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will explore over the course of its six episodes, and showrunner Malcolm Spellman has said the tone will be similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Sam and Bucky will “team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience.” The primary villain will be Baron Helmut Zemo, a Sokovian colonel-turned-terrorist who is obsessed with defeating the Avengers, with Daniel Brühl reprising the role from Captain America: Civil War. Director Kari Skogland has said that his appearance in the series shows him “paying for his crimes” and “in a very sad place.”
Emily VanCamp reprises her Civil War role as Sharon Carter, daughter of Steve Rogers’ associate Peggy Carter. Don Cheadle will be making an appearance on the series as Rhodey/War Machine, and Georges St-Pierre is back as mercenary and kickboxing master Georges Batroc, whose last MCU appearance was in Winter Soldier. Wyatt Russell plays John F. Walker, who is the choice of the US government to be Captain America’s successor. (Apparently, Walker thinks he’s “a better embodiment of American values than Rogers.” So he certainly doesn’t lack confidence.)
The studio dropped an eye-popping, action-packed “first look” trailer for the series during Disney Investor day in December tha showcased the titular superheroes’ buddy-cop vibe, trading barbs and wisecracks in between battling the bad guys. A second trailer last month gave us a split-second peek at Zemo’s signature purple mask amidst all the action.
The final trailer opens with Sam practicing throwing Cap’s old shield, telling Bucky that it “feels like it belongs to someone else.” Both are clearly struggling with the burden of trying to live up to the legacy of Steve Rogers and what he represented to so many. Mackie has said that his character feels particular trepidation about taking up the shield: “How does a Black man represent a country that does not represent him?” As for Bucky, Stan has said his character in the series is “pretty lost and having an identity crisis again,” struggling with a century of trauma and his own lingering dark nature.
“Symbols are nothing without the men and women that give them meaning,” Sam says in a speech in honor of Rogers, while another scene features a politician insisting, “We need someone to inspire us again.” Those hoping for a bit more Zemo will be disappointed; he is largely absent from this final trailer, as is Walker. But we do get a bit more footage of the “anarchist anti-patriotism group” called the Flag-Smashers, with Erin Kellerman playing one of the masked members, Karli Morgenthau. “We’re never gonna stop. This world is ours,” we hear her say over a montage of masked marauders robbing a bank and generally creating havoc. “There’s no going back.” Sam tries to tell her this doesn’t need to be a war. But in Karli’s eyes, “It already is.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts on Disney+ on March 19, 2021.
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