‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Creator Says Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes ‘Blame’ Each Other ‘for the Loss of Steve Rogers’

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Disney+ on March 19. In the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier try to pick up the pieces of their lives after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Before the miniseries premiered, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier creator and writer Malcolm Spellman explained how Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) fits into Sam and Bucky’s storylines.

[Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 1 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.]

'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' stars Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie at San Diego Comic-Con
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Steve Rogers is gone in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

In the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam and Bucky do not interact aside from it being mentioned that Sam texts Bucky. Instead, the episode sets up their stories separately.

It is unclear if Steve is actually dead or if he is just living out his final days in peace while the world thinks he is gone. However, one thing is apparent throughout the episode, and it is that Steve’s absence is looming over Sam and Bucky.

According to Spellman, this theme will be expanded on throughout The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

“First of all, they both have to deal with the loss of Steve Rogers. And the fact that he’s gone is exposing their relationship. It’s almost like they’re feeding off each other as a point of blame for the loss of Steve Rogers,” Spellman told Polygon. “And on top of that, they have this symbol to remind them that their best friend is gone.”

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Sam Wilson decides to not be Captain America

In Avengers: Endgame, Steve chooses Sam as his successor and gives Sam his shield. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows Sam struggling with this, and he eventually decides to donate the shield because he feels it does not belong to him.

The new Disney+ series also deals with race issues and the first episode shows Sam facing racial discrimination. While speaking with Polygon, Spellman said that in addition to dealing with the loss of Steve, Sam struggles with what it means to be Captain America as a Black man.

“… for Sam, it was pretty obvious to us that his character needed to begin with dealing with the stars and stripes on the shield, in two ways. Number one, the loss of a dear friend, and those huge shoes that anyone who picked up that mantle would need to fill,” said Spellman.

He continued, “And then the other thing being as a Black man, is it even appropriate to have that symbol? That symbol means something very different in Sam’s hands than it does in Steve’s.”

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Bucky Barnes is grieving in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

When Bucky was the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed assassin for Hydra, he killed a lot of people. Now that Bucky is in control of his mind, the knowledge of what he did as the Winter Soldier is weighing on him.

“We really processed all the baggage Bucky is carrying around from all those murders, and from being manipulated by HYDRA for decade after decade after decade,” Spellman told Polygon.

The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows Bucky has started therapy, but overcoming his trauma is something he is still actively working on.