Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is ready to blast off. Just two weeks on from WandaVision, Marvel Studios is back with its second Disney+ series (available in India on Disney+ Hotstar). After an experimental sitcom-inspired start, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier returns the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its action-oriented roots, with a sprinkling of comedy. As Marvel chief Kevin Feige said in a release: “Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are spectacular actors and we felt like we hadn't explored their stories enough as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. We wanted to learn more about both of them after the interactions they had with each other in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War.”
And that's exactly what The Falcon and the Winter Soldier promises. At the same time, it's set in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, which means the new MCU series must also deal with the fallout of that huge moment when Chris Evans's (digitally-aged) Steve Rogers handed his Captain America shield to Mackie's Sam. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier creator Malcolm Spellman notes that he's clearly reluctant: “The single line from Sam when Steve asks him how it feels. ‘Like it belongs to someone else.' When he said that, he's obviously in a state of crisis. That scene did everything it needed to do to prop him up for the series and lock in that central conflict.”
“Our story begins with the journey of the shield,” The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland added. “I was really interested in exploring that.” Of course, the latest Marvel property will no doubt do a lot more along the way — including potentially set up future movies or series, as did WandaVision. It's worth noting that Marvel has been unusually quiet about the characters' future, suggesting that it has some surprises in store for everyone. Might they be part of an upcoming film that we are not aware of? We'll find out in the next month and a half.
For now, here's all you need to know about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
All The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episodes will drop around 12:30pm IST / 12am PT. Note that the India release time is an hour prior to what it was for WandaVision. That's due to daylight saving time (DST) kicking in on Sunday, March 14 in the US that pushes their clocks an hour forward, reducing the gap to IST by an hour.
The MCU series will also be available in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu — the first Disney+ original to be dubbed for Indian viewers. That means The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will also be available to Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscribers, a membership that costs just Rs. 399 per year.
Of course, if you want to watch it in the original English audio, you'll need Disney+ Hotstar Premium that comes in at Rs. 299 per month or Rs. 1,499 per year.
And you thought we left you unheard?— Marvel India (@Marvel_India) March 9, 2021
Brace yourselves and enjoy Marvel Studios' #TheFalconAndTheWinterSoldier streaming on March 19 in English on @DisneyplusHSP and in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, only on @DisneyplusHSVIP. pic.twitter.com/4TICLJXVQi
There are six episodes in total on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Each of them will run for about 40–50 minutes, Feige has revealed. You can download all episodes on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar apps for Android and iOS.
Here's the full release schedule for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier:
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1||March 19, 2021|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2||March 26, 2021|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3||April 2, 2021|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4||April 9, 2021|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5||April 16, 2021|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6||April 23, 2021|
The new Marvel series is led by the aforementioned Mackie as Sam Wilson/ Falcon, and Stan as Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier.
“I feel like with this series, we've been able to show you why Sam and Bucky are who they are and why they believe in what they believe,” Mackie said. “You get to meet and get to know them as three-dimensional characters. You get to see them as people. It's funny because usually in a movie forum, you only have two hours to tell the beginning, middle and ending of a story. But we have six episodes to tell the entire scope of where these characters have been, how they feel about the world they're in, and where they're going once this series is over.”
At the start of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam is at his sister's in Louisiana to help save the family business. Spellman said: “Sam became a hero because of where he's from—he saw that the world was not fair. He ran off to save the world by joining the military. But he's always worried if joining the military was really about running away from problems at home—they seemed so insurmountable, it'd be easier to save the world.”
Of course, he also has to deal with that thing he was handed: Cap's shield. “He truly believes that there's an argument to be made that red, white and blue — stars and stripes — inherently represents oppression,” Spellman said of that inner conflict, to which Mackie added: “Sam considers the shield a representation of the country that we live in. There's a lot of trepidation as far as how does a Black man represent a country that does not represent him?”
For Stan, it's about “trying to embrace his new life,” he said, “but he's pretty lost and having an identity crisis again. He's doing his best, finding his own path after Steve, after all those events. It feels like this is the first time he's finally free, so to speak, to look after himself. But it's not easy. How does this character now function in the world? What's his life going back to Brooklyn? How is he meeting people? How is he interacting at coffee shops? Is he dating? Is he thinking about another career? Is he in therapy? There were all these questions about where we could take this character. There were a lot of fun and exciting things that came out of that exploration.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout noted that Bucky “is working to unburden himself from the trauma of being the Winter Soldier. He believes that will get him closer to knowing what he wants.” But Stan believes that “there's always going to be a darker side of this character, which I've always loved—it's what makes him more interesting and complex. I feel like that doesn't go away. It's still there deep down. He's just learning how to deal with it a little bit better.”
Carter has been on the run ever since she helped the Avengers in Civil War and she's become somewhat jaded, VanCamp said: “When we find Sharon, she's in a pretty dark place. When we first see her, there's a little bit of anger. She's tougher, a little raw and rough around the edges—a totally different version of Sharon than what we've seen in the films. That's really interesting to explore.”
“In Civil War, I was fascinated by the fact that Zemo is a multi-layered villain,” Brühl said of his character. “He's not just a sinister bad guy. But there was not that much time to explore different facets of him, so it was great to be given the opportunity to revisit this character [on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier].”
“I kind of fell in love with Zemo,” Skogland added. “He's a man who's struggling with this desire for revenge. But his story is a slippery slope of trying to make something right, but going about it all wrong. So, when we meet him, he's paying for his crimes. He's lost everything. He's in a very sad place. I couldn't help but feel a certain amount of sympathy for him.”
The biggest new addition is Wyatt Russell as John Walker, described as “one of the highest-ranking soldiers in the US military. He is patriotic, strong, good-intentioned, and every bit of him will be put to the test as he tries to team up with Sam and Bucky to protect the world from a new threat.” In the comics, John Walker becomes US Agent, the militaristic successor to Captain America as deemed by the American government.
“I gravitate towards characters who need to make difficult decisions,” Walker said. “His dichotomies are what attracted me to him, and I've been allowed the leeway to shape him a little because we've never met this character before.”
“We thought Wyatt was an interesting choice because a lot of his work before had him playing the slacker with long hair and a beard,” The Falcon and the Winter Soldier executive producer Nate Moore added. “But we found this unique energy in him that neither Sam Wilson nor Bucky Barnes has, and we felt that was important so that John Walker stood apart from these two characters.”
Beyond that, we have Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau, a member of the anarchist anti-patriotic outfit Flag-Smashers, Georges St-Pierre as mercenary Georges Batroc from The Winter Soldier, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/ War Machine, Adepero Oduye as Sam's sister Sarah Wilson, and Amy Aquino as an unnamed therapist.
The Marvel series also involves Danny Ramirez (On My Block) in a “pivotal role”. And there are undisclosed roles for the likes of Desmond Chiam (Reef Break), Miki Ishikawa (The Terror: Infamy), model Noah Mills, and Carl Lumbly (Doctor Sleep).
Skogland has directed all six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. She has previously directed episodes of The Handmaid's Tale, The Loudest Voice, The Borgias, and The Listener. Her last feature film was 2008's Fifty Dead Men Walking.
“It's an epic, character-driven story,” Skogland said of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. “We get to go inside these characters and their world in a much more intimate way. If the movies were a snack, this six-hour series is the meal. And yet, it has all of the wonderful things that come with the MCU—action, comedy, the high-octane pace, familiar faces and new characters. It's all incredibly relatable.”
Spellman is the creator and head writer on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He wrote and produced for Empire during the first three seasons, and served as an executive producer on Apple TV+'s Truth Be Told.
Of Sam and Bucky's dynamic, Spellman said: “Take away the mutual best friend and the truth of their relationship is laid bare. They are like fire and ice. Sam reacts spontaneously from the gut, and Bucky is more cold and calculated. Everyone saw the 30-second clip in Civil War when they bicker about the placement of Sam's seat. We build on that chemistry.”
Executive producers on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier include Feige, Skogland, Spellman, Moore, Louis D'Esposito, and Victoria Alonso. Co-executive producers are Nagelhout, Trevor Waterson, and Derek Kolstad.
P.J. Dillon is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's director of photography. Raymond Chan is production designer. Michael Crow is the costume designer. Jeffrey Ford, Kelley Dixon, Todd Desrosiers, and Rosanne Tan are among the editors. And Henry Jackman is the composer.
We got the first look at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier at Disney's big presentation back in December, which gave us a peek at the MCU series' action and the dynamic between its co-leads.
And then at the NFL Super Bowl in February, Marvel Studios dropped the first official trailer (below), featuring even more action — with Carter (VanCamp) displaying some serious action chops of her own — alongside setting up Zemo's (Brühl) objective.
Marvel Studios' The Falcon and The Winter Soldier stars Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka The Falcon, and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. The pair, who came together in the final moments of “Avengers: Endgame,” team up on a global adventure that tests their abilities — and their patience.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier explores the relationship between MCU favorites Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes — two strong-willed individuals who don't always see eye to eye. Thrown into an unexpected mission that may hit too close to home, the pair find themselves in a world of intriguing characters where it's hard to differentiate the good guys from the bad.
The first reviews for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be available a day prior to premiere.
Just like with WandaVision, I'll be posting The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episodic recaps, shortly after each episode airs, that will be full of spoilers. The first of them is due Friday, March 19 around 12:30pm IST.
The short answer: no. As with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has also been designed as a miniseries. But of course, with Marvel, never say never — as we know all too well.
What makes things curious is that no one has spoken about what's next. With WandaVision, we knew Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) was headed to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, while Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) would be in Captain Marvel 2.
But there's no word on when we'll see Falcon or Winter Soldier next — or any of the other characters.
Still, we can look forward to a lot more MCU content coming directly to Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar.
Loki will be followed by the animated What If...? in summer 2021, which looks at pivotal MCU moments in an alternate universe. It's a non-canonical series — that means its events won't affect the rest of the MCU.
There are three more MCU Disney+ series in development: Secret Invasion (with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos); Ironheart (with Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams / Ironheart); and Armor Wars (with Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine).
Here's the official poster for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier from Disney and Marvel Studios: