Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe ‘ended’ with Avengers: Endgame the search started on how to continue. Marvel and Disney refer to the current line-up as Phase Four and now cover both films and series. That marks the first integration of the stories of both media types. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a problem for the production of Phase Four. Nonetheless before the end of the year we will get the outings with Black Widow (November 6th) starring Scarlett Johansson and a new series entitled The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The titular characters from the movies will be reprised by the same actors: Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. That is another first and marks the continued integration of the big screen and the small screen.
Falcon and Winter Soldier? Who?
I am getting very excited by the series which promises to deliver cinematic action and the return of one of the most enigmatic characters – The Winter Soldier. Sebastian Stan first depicted the character James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes in the film The First Avenger in 2011. He then returned as the brainwashed villain Winter Soldier in the similarly titled movie from 2014. That movie is still one of my favorites of the entire MCU, along with Ant-Man, Iron Man and Civil War. I like the Winter Soldier for a number of reasons. He is a bad-ass, mysterious, an excellent fighter and has a metal arm with the Soviet red star emblemed on. And like characters such as Kylo Ren he is not beyond redemption. Bucky knows a lot of secrets from decades he worked as a brainwashed assassin for Hydra. And I want to know them all.
It is clear that the intention with this series is to produce something akin to a 6 hour movie. The first season will have 6 episodes but the story will not be procedural, like Agents of Shield. What the story will be about remains largely unknown. However, when Captain America passed to Sam Wilson his iconic shield so did a lot of responsibility. Sam Wilson or his alter ego Falcon also made his introduction in the movie Captain America The Winter Soldier. This again makes me believe Hydra will become an important storyline. This is all but confirmed by the fact Daniel Brühl will reprise his role of Colonel Zemo from Civil War. In that film Zemo has uncovered the darkest secrets of Hydra that made the Avengers turn against each other.
The Falcon and Winter Soldier angle
Another alumni returning is Emily VanCamp as agent Sharon Carter. As you may recall she was once Captain America’s love interest before he settled down with her aunt Peggy. And if that does not form part of an awkward subplot I will never forgive show-runner Malcolm Spellman. So, in a post-Endgame world two superhero need to step out of the shadow left by their now geriatric friend Steve Rogers. The fact they throughout their time in the MCU both characters disliked one another sure to lead to plenty of hilarious moments. Sebastian Stan even compared the potential of this series to buddy comedy movie of the 80s such as Midnight Run and 48 Hrs. I also hope it will channel movies such as Three Days of the Condor and Red Sparrow.
But what will the series actually be about? Specifics are few, one can only guess the post-Endgame world is in turmoil with rivaling factions vying for power. Sam Wilson will have to pull out all of the stops to use the shield. don’t forget that when it comes to superhero powers he is somewhat challenged, like Iron Man. Bucky will no doubt be tempted to solve crises his way, using the strength and fighting prowess given to him by the treatment Hydra used on him. That will lead to rivalry, no doubt Carter and Zemo will play their part in either bringing them together, or separating them. What we don’t actually know is a release date for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. While the release date is still tentatively set for August that will most likely slip. My guess is October, before Black Widow and WandaVision.
An uncertain release date
Production of the series had to be curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally filming started in Atlanta Georgia last year before moving to Prague in the Czech Republic. There production was halted. Now the series had received an exemption by the authorities there for a 9-day shoot. More pick-up shoots are planned for August in Atlanta. This would mean to be that a release date before October is unreasonable unless the first episodes are completely done. Marvel and Disney may choose to split the season into two, thus keeping their August promise. Yet, I doubt it.
Those that have been following the news will know The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is not the only series announced. Plenty of others will feature fan favorite characters. These include WandaVision that will see the characters played by the actors that previously depicted them on the big screen: Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany. The series will put both characters in an apparent suburban blissful setting lampooning the post-war traditional marriage. And then there is Loki, a long-awaited series starring Tom Hiddleston as everybody’s favorite villain from the Thor series. That series will be released sometime in 2021, though it is interesting to note filming will also take place in Atlanta Georgia. And that was it for my preview of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the new MCU series soon to arrive on Disney+.