The Falcon and the Winter Soldier released its final trailer before the series launches this Friday. It promises to be an action adventure thriller, sure to wash the fluffy and family-oriented WandaVision right out of your mind.
If WandaVision was a study in grief and existential angst, then Falcon and the Winter Soldier is mired in men unable to process their grief and fighting an overwhelming effort to fill in for a larger-than-life legacy.
Given what Captain America meant to the war effort, the US government is likely to be highly pissed their very expensive super-soldier disappeared after working with the Avengers.
To those of us with a high enough clearance, we learned Captain America (Chris Evans) opted, after returning the Infinity Stones stolen by the Avengers from parallel timelines, to stay in the past with his lost love.
From his perspective he stayed in the past and grew old there – and presumably, Peggy Carter died before he returned to the Avengers, aged and happy, dropping off his vaunted shield to ensure Captain America, the ideal, could live again.
But if the trades are to be believed, the government was in need of a super-soldier and would manufacture a new one. Why? Because the two most likely candidates, both part of the questionably useful Avenger’s Initiative, the Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie and the turned Soviet Era spy/assassin, the Winter Soldier, played by Sebastian Stan, are not considered the most reliable of operatives since they failed to stop the Snapture.
While the Avengers were ultimately responsible for the subsequent return of millions of people around the world, with the help of one courageous rat in a warehouse, world governments are likely to look at the duo with degrees of skepticism.
On the face of it, these two characters don’t have a lot in common beyond being very good soldiers. One is sleep-deprived and addicted to action, the other has wakened Rip Van Winkle decades apart from when he grew up, a man out of place with a particular set of skills …
If you were to fuse the two of them together, you could have what Chris Evans’ Captain America was, which to me is why this series has potential. Neither of these characters on their own could carry a meaningful series. Bucky Barnes is too taciturn. He would go on missions, accomplish them, with nary a bit of banter, and return home, in a fashion to what he has been doing for decades. Sam Wilson is an action hero, seeking action, solving problems and getting into trouble usually with a smile on his face. In any military unit he would be a loose-cannon except for the fact he is so very good at his job.
Now take two men, very talented men with particularly effective military capacities, diametrically-opposed mentalities and you have the Felix and Oscar of the super-soldier set, an Odd Couple whose contradictory problem-solving capacities should make for fantastic story telling.
Now stir in the most effective villain in the MCU, Baron Zemo, add a touch of mercenary, international police action, espionage and likely more than a tiny bit of murder, and you have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the successor to the comic series which featured Captain America and the Falcon beating down villains from HYDRA, AIM, and any other murder agency working the corporate spy circuit.
A lot of people don’t see this pairing working out, but Captain America and the Falcon have quite a bit of history together. In the comics, Captain America and the Falcon ran together from Captain America Vol 1 #133 until # 215. The Falcon’s name was on the book Captain America and the Falcon until issue #222 but the Falcon’s last active appearance was in #215. Nevertheless they shared almost a decade of adventuring and were a damn good team when the writing was right.
I think these two have the right stuff to do great things together. One inspired by Cap’s example in World War II, the other inspired by his heroism in the modern era, both seeking fellowship with a man who is no longer with them, but whose shadow hangs over them both.
Wait until they meet Jack Daniels, Captain America’s governmental replacement. I am certain there will be sparks. In the comics Jack Daniels, also known as USAgent, will be everything Captain America was not. A bully, a braggart, and a showoff, Daniels showcases everything wrong with America today. I can’t wait to see how they get along.
Why do I think they are going to have to meet? Because of a multi-billion dollar vibranium shield currently in possession of two fugitives from justice. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are technically going to be considered “wayward assets” which will need to be brought in for questioning. Who better than the lapdog of the government, USAgent for bringing in these fugitives and collecting government property?
Nobody. That’s who. Just ask USAgent. He’ll tell you. I am looking forward to the beatings going to be delivered that day. Currently this series will have six episodes with the presumption, if the Makie and Sean do well, they may have other seasons in the future. The two of them fill a necessary niche in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the spy/soldier working for and or against a righteous or criminal government. I bet for a while we won’t quite be sure who the bad guys really are. Just the way we like it.
There are five writing credits, head writer, Malcolm Spellman, with help from Michael Kastelein, Derek Kolstad, Dalan Musson, and Josef Sawyer. There is only one director, Kari Skogland whose directing credits include: NOS4A2, The Walking Dead, The Americans, The Punisher and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Given these credits, I am hopeful the scripting will be as dynamic as the situation our heroes will find themselves in.
The series drops this Friday on Disney+.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.