The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to launch the Disney+ pocket of the Marvel Cinematic Universe later this year, continuing the story of Captain America’s sidekicks James Buchanan Barnes and Sam Wilson as they navigate their way through a post-Endgame world without Steve Rogers, who bestowed his shield and mantle on the hero formerly known as the Falcon following the final battle against Thanos.
Yesterday, co-star Sebastian Stan shared a photo from the set of the series on Instagram. In the picture – seen below – the Winter Soldier is poised in near-silhouette at the foot of a sprawling puddle that reflects his imposing figure, advancing in mid-stride beneath a large piece of metalwork scaffold in the middle of an otherwise abandoned industrial warehouse. His hair has clearly been cut short, matching his clean-shaven appearance on the posters released at the D23 Expo in late August of last year, and returning Bucky to the look he wore during his World War II career as a Howling Commando in Captain America: The First Avenger.
That transition would seem to signal that Barnes has truly broken free of the Winter Soldier identity and will be returning to a variation of his role as brother-in-arms, and now mentor, to the soldier carrying the shield and name of Captain America. The pair of characters will be men in transition, both moving away from the obsolete titles by which their governments defined them for so long as they strive to find new roles in a world that has rapidly changed around them. Given that, it will be intriguing to watch their concurrent transformations occur in a series named after the personas they are trying to move beyond.
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Emily VanCamp and Daniel Brühl, both last seen in Captain America: Civil War as Sharon Carter and Helmut Zemo respectively, are also set to return for the series, with Wyatt Russell appearing as John Walker, the government-sanctioned successor to Captain America alternately known as Super-Patriot and U.S.Agent in a story that seems based at least in part on Nick Spencer’s comic series Captain America: Sam Wilson, which ran from 2015 to 2017.
Though plot details are scant at the moment, the show will almost certainly see Wilson encountering resistance from the United States government, as well as sectors of the American public, as he works to assume the role passed on to him by an aged Steve Rogers. The persona of Captain America is, after all, a piece of wartime propaganda created by the United States Army within the context of the films, and the military undoubtedly considers the title and the mantle theirs, and not Steve’s, to reassign.
That will be where Walker comes into play as the man chosen by the military to play the part they created. That conflict played out on the page in Captain America: Sam Wilson #13, but we’ll have to wait until later this year to learn how the live-action version will unfold when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs on Disney+.