With WandaVision now a thing of the past, the attention now turns towards Marvel’s next series, ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’
The six-episode series airs for the first time to Disney+ subscribers on Friday 19th March, and as its title suggests, the focus is on Avengers duo Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in a post-Endgame world.
Our last sighting of the pair saw Steve Rogers pass on the Captain America title to Sam, before returning to the past to live out the remainder of his life with Peggy Carter.
Not only will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier deal therefore, with the absence of Rogers’ Avengers spearhead, but also the struggles to fill such a crucial void.
But following the earlier success of WandaVision, what do we want to see in Marvel’s next epic?
A Fractured Relationship
One key characteristic of the Wilson-Barnes relationship thus far has been their chemistry and humour.
WandaVision packed a sizeable punch as a sitcom, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could achieve similar success adopting its ‘buddy cop’ approach.
The catch is though, that neither Wilson nor Barnes are essentially ‘friends.’ They’ve fought the same battles, and fought alongside one another on Team Cap, but there has still been somewhat of a bitterness to their friendship.
From Sam’s perspective, the fact that Bucky is still to be completely free of his HYDRA shackles will make him cautious in accepting him as a trusted ally.
As for Barnes, his former best friend’s decision to choose Sam as his successor might have stung a little.
Amid the latest threat, the world will need them to work together; their partnership is out of necessity rather than choice.
Don’t Taint Cap’s Legacy
When Rogers gave up his shield, it was inevitable that one of Wilson or Barnes would take up the Captain America mantle.
The problem is, neither will deem themselves worthy of continuing Cap’s legacy; no matter the friendship between them over the years.
Both might be reluctant to step up, though the emergence of a rogue batch of super serum (used to create Captain America) forces them back into play.
Interestingly, Wyatt Russell will don the Captain America moniker in the series, albeit as a more militaristic take deployed by the US government.
It won’t be nearly the same as Rogers’ version, and intentionally so, but let’s not allow his un-appointed successor John F. Walker to taint that legacy.
Emotion vs. Action
While WandaVision was big on trauma and the emotional turmoil of Wanda Maximoff, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be quite different.
There will still be a welcome dose of emotion with the death and farewell of Steve Rogers, but this one is all about pulsating action.
In Agatha Harkness, Hela, Thanos and Kaecilius (among others), the MCU has prominently featured a number of power-based heroes.
Though two of the MCU’s best movies – Captain America sequels ‘The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Civil War’ saw a more human adversary play centre stage, and to great effect.
In terms of action and choreography, if we get something here along the lines of The Winter Soldier (the best non-Avengers movie in the MCU), then we’ll be in for a treat.
Marvel Studios haven’t held back on the budget either, so that bodes well.
Additionally, we can only hope that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also boasts at least some kind of emotional depth beyond the obvious farewell Rogers narrative.
It would be interesting to see just how physically and emotionally draining it could be to follow in Captain America’s footsteps.
Before I finish, let’s spare one final though for Baron Zemo.
The MCU has only had a taste of what Zemo is capable of, but it is important to note the crucial role he played as an adversary in Captain America: Civil War.
Zemo was ultimately responsible for the fallout between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, and the subsequent disbanding of the Avengers.
They of course reunited amid the threat of Thanos; but the emotional scars inflicted by Zemo’s manipulation had already taken a heavy toll across the MCU’s frontlines.
Played once again by Daniel Bruhl, Zemo returns as a key part of the series; adopting his traditional purple mask from the comics.
Check back for my review of Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s debut episode on Friday 19th March