'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier': Everything you need to know about the Disney Plus series

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier poster.
(Image credit: Disney+)

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is right around the corner. Given the fact that we haven't had any major Marvel Cinematic Universe properties outside of WandaVision since 2019, it makes sense that you might have a few questions beyond "why is Bucky so angry in that picture?" Worry not! We're here to help.

Until recently, details on the highly anticipated story were pretty sparse. Last we saw Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) the two were having a bittersweet conversation with their best friend Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). Now, we'll see their story continue in a more intimate way than the Marvel films have had the opportunity to tackle in the past. Even better, we have a couple of trailers that we can use to piece together snippets of what we'll be seeing from the new entry into the MCU.

What's the plot of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

If trailers are to be believed, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will pick up right where Avengers: Endgame cut off. Sam and Bucky bid their best friend an understanding farewell after he made it clear that Captain America wouldn't be returning to their timeline. That kinda closes the door on that situation, but we're hoping to see a couple moments of well-earned frustration between Steve Rogers' best friends. We love the guy, but he did unceremoniously dump the two of them after implying he planned to return prior to his initial departure! It's beautiful that he gets to live out the rest of his days with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and Sam and Bucky clearly support the decision as well. But you don't just say "until the end of the line" and have no real feelings about being left that the time travel platform!

While the situation with Steve is at least somewhere adjacent to resolved, there's a lot that these two heroes are going to have to tackle. A whole lot of sniping goes on between Sam and Bucky which, while hilarious, is going to have to be touched on at least a little bit before these two can form some believable kind of team. There's also the issue of the Sakovia Accords and the fact that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr)—though now deceased—ensured the government took steps to throw anyone who violated them in a black site prison. If that all weren't enough, we also know that Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) will be re-entering the story. This does not spell out great things for Bucky given the history there.

There's also the complicated legacy that Sam Wilson is currently expected to just take on out of the blue. He makes it clear he's not ready yet, but if series rumors are to be believed, the U.S. government has no interest in him ever picking up the shield in any official capacity. The series' introduction of the U.S. Agent could imply that the government intends to create their own version of Captain America. This would be bad for very obvious reasons that the series will hopefully have the stones to cover, but we'll have to see how things play out there. Either way, it does feel like we'll be seeing U.S. Agent as he was originally created—as a nationalist supervillain.

Either way, Sam and Bucky are going to have their hands very full.

Where does The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fall in the timeline?

Like the WandaVision series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes after Avengers: Endgame. That means everyone is back from The Blip, Captain America has handed over his shield to Sam, and Bucky is trying to be a better person.

We don't really know yet how much tie-in there's going to be with other characters or storylines — though Rhodes does make an appearance in the first episode, which is fun to see.

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Does The Falcon and the Winter Solider have a trailer yet?

Yes! Two, as a matter of fact. Though the first was more of a teaser from the last Disney Investor Day. The full trailer was a special spot released during Super Bowl LV. While both give us a decent sense of what we're marching into, the full spot really does the legwork here. 

As you can see, the aforementioned sniping is taking into account pretty early on. We didn't know we needed to see Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in couples counseling, but we're very glad it's in our lives now. 

We'll see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier tackle a lot about what it means to be a hero, and the ethics that come along with such a label. Baron Helmut Zemo is one of the few Marvel villains that absolutely succeeded in everything he meant to do, largely because he was right (even if his methods were fundamentally misguided). We won't be seeing the series convince him one way or another on heroes, but we will see it help its two knuckleheaded leads that they're worthy of such a label.

If Disney has any sense, we'll also see the series take on what being Captain America means today. The aforementioned U.S. Agent theoretical plot could mean big things for this conversation actually happening. Given the kind of militarized propaganda we've seen delivered from the MCU in the past, this could be a bit of a pipe dream. But a girl can hope! 

Is there a The Falcon and the Winter Soldier official poster?

There sure is, and it's slick. Check it out: 

Official poster for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

(Image credit: Disney+)

Not gonna lie—can't wait to watch Sam and/or Bucky smack U.S. Agent around for carrying a shield he shouldn't be holding. Look at how wrong this goon looks. Absolutely not. 

When will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere?

After COVID-related delays, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will finally hit Disney+ on March 19th, 2021. The series basically kicks off just as soon as WandaVision ends. Though, since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was initially supposed to release prior to WandaVision, don't expect the two to have any major ties.

Though there won't be any real narrative connections, you will see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier follow the same release schedule as the Scarlet Witch and her beau. You'll get the first episode March 19th, and the rest will air episodically in subsequent weeks. 

How many episodes will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier be?

Unlike its sister show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will only be six episodes long. Now, don't take that as confirmation that the boys will be getting a shorter story. While it is possible (and not necessarily a bad thing if it ends up being the case), we don't know how long these episodes will be. It's well within the realm of possibility that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier story lent itself to longer chapters while WandaVision's sitcom format made more sense in the thirty-minute spurts. 

This also means that the series will run from mid-March into May. 

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes return.

(Image credit: Disney+)

Who's the cast for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

The MCU has a whole host of returning faces for the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Obviously you know the two leads, but Sharon Carter was a new reveal as of the Super Bowl. Gotta be honest, it's nice to see the girl finally get a story. No family of Peggy Carter's deserves to be narratively relegated to Steve Rogers' side piece. 

  • Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson) 
  • Sebastian Stan (James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes)
  • Daniel Brühl (Baron Helmut Zemo)
  • Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter)
  • Wyatt Russell (John Walker aka U.S. Agent)

Obviously, this won't be the full cast. Marvel is known for its surprises, and they'll undoubtedly want to keep the same momentum from WandaVision going. Disney's known for keeping things pretty close to the vest so far as guest stars go, but there have been sightings of Georges St-Pierre on the set of the show. You'll recognize St-Pierre as Georges Batroc from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  

Official synopsis for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

There isn't much of an official synopsis for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, after releasing the above Super Bowl spot, Disney updated their website with the below:

Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience—in Marvel Studios’ “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.” The all-new series is directed by Kari Skogland; Malcolm Spellman is the head writer. 

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.