By Bethany Webb
The first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has finally arrived to Disney+ and has been met with a wave of excitement from fans.
Marvel and Disney+ welcomed the brand-new Marvel Original series, exclusive to its streaming services, at 8am GMT on the 19th March. Following a lifetime of service and combat, Captain America finally retired from heroism, handing over the reins to two of the franchise’s most popular supporting heroes; the Falcon and the Winter Soldier now deal with the aftermath of the events of Avengers: Endgame.
At Marvel Studios’ recent press conference, it was revealed that the series was originally supposed to air in late summer 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic and rescheduled for a later date. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige mentioned in the press conference that this was their first project and was intended to be released before recent series WandaVision started filming. Feige stressed that: “Just because it’s on TV doesn’t mean it’s not going to be as big as it possibly could be. We were working just as hard on it [as the films] and putting all of our blood, sweat, and tears into [it].”
As part of Phase Four of the Marvel cinematic universe, the show is set only a few months after they defeated Thanos and his army in 2019’s Endgame. The end of the film shows Captain America’s shield presented by the now-aged Captain Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson, the Falcon. The responsibility has now passed over to Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, following Steve Rogers’ decision to go back in time to live out the rest of his life in the 20th century with his love, Peggy Carter.
Viewers are expecting this new series to tackle topics of mental health, similarly to their previous works; Iron Man 3 explored Tony Stark’s PTSD following the attack on New York, and WandaVision explored Wanda Maximoff’s grief following the loss of her twin brother Pietro and her love Vision. Fans will embark on both an emotional adventure tackling personal conflicts as well as fighting the series’ new villains. In previous films, Bucky has suffered extreme trauma including brainwashing, and now appears to be battling severe symptoms of PTSD and depression.
Feige said: “What’s great about the Marvel characters… is their flaws. For as crazy and extraordinary and science fiction and fantasy and supernatural as the MCU can get, it’s grounding in the character experiences and the emotions of the character.”
Actor Sebastian Stan, who plays Bucky, reflected: “The consequences of Steve missing [have] thrown [Sam and Bucky] into opposite corners in terms of facing their lives and their demons. They’ve got different things they’re facing, but they’re in similar places in terms of the questions that are asked.”
Fans and producers alike are now excited to see which direction this series will take, how it will carve out a route in Phase Four, and the battles that the Falcon and the Winter Soldier will endure.