‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Will Tell a Darker Story Than Expected

When Steve Rogers turned over his Captain America shield over to Sam in Avengers: Endgame, he wasn’t just giving him a new weapon. He was passing on the torch, with a humbled Sam promising to do his best. Fans thought that the next time we saw him, he would be Captain America. 

Then Marvel announced its slate of Disney+ series based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the very first one threw fans for a loop: It was The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. What happened to Captain America? As it turns out, Sam isn’t quite ready Or the world may not be quite ready for Sam to be Captain America. 

The cast of The Falcon and the Winter Solider onstage
Kevin Feige, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Sam vs.Bucky: Who wore it best?

When Steve turned over the shield to Sam, a lot of fans objected. That wasn’t a knock on Sam so much as it was thought that Bucky made more sense dramatically. Steve and Bucky were best buddies before Steve became Captain America, with the two risking life and limb for each other. When Steve thought he saw Bucky fall to his death in The First Avenger,  the event haunted him. 

So when Steve found that Bucky, like him, had been frozen in time but was working for the bad guys, Steve became determined to save Bucky – even to the point of splitting the Avengers apart when it turned out that the Winter Soldier killed Tony Stark’s parents.

That’s a legitimate reason to be mad, and the fight made Iron Man and Captain America the worse for the wear. 

After a lot of trials and tribulations, Bucky became a good guy again, helping in the fight against Thanos. Having redeemed himself, why couldn’t he have the shield? The filmmakers argued that Bucky was still struggling with PTSD, so keeping him on the battlefield might not be the best idea.

What will the Falcon do with the Winter Soldier?

Screen Rant reported Kevin Feige as saying, “We saw Old Man Cap hand that shield to Sam Wilson at the end of [Endgame], and the question is, what did he do with it next? What does it mean for Sam Wilson and that shield? That’s a big responsibility, and that’s very much what the show focuses on and is about.”

So in other words, Sam may be willing to take the shield from Steve, but living up to it – that’s a tall order and a long shadow from which to emerge. The show’s writer, Derek Kolstad, indicated it would be a process and not an automatic transition.

A major obstacle may be the government, which does not accept Sam as the new Cap. 

Complicating matters even further is the fact that there’s another candidate for the title in the form of US Agent John Walker. He will be played by Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt Russell, who played Star-Lord’s father in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  What goes around comes around.

What’s to become of Bucky? 

Of course, the show isn’t called just The Falcon. The Winter Soldier is in the title too. So one would assume Bucky has at least a strong B story if he’s not a co-lead. Just because Steve didn’t pick him doesn’t mean Bucky doesn’t have a story to tell. 

He was obviously on the road to rehabilitation even before the first big Thanos battle, having recuperated in Wakanda, where he became known as The White Wolf. But the show isn’t called The Falcon and the White Wolf either. 

Why is Winter Soldier in the title when Bucky had seemingly renounced that life?  Perhaps the after-effects of the snap will make him susceptible to manipulation by Baron Zemo, with Daniel Bruhl reprising the role for the new show. It premieres on Disney+ in the fall of 2020.