The penultimate episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to stream now and it’s a doozy, setting the stage for an epic finale next week.
Marvel’s second original series for Disney Plus has been an ambitious comedy drama, that has balanced a thoughtful conversation about race with the blockbuster thrills that fans have come to adore.
Many mysteries still remain as we eagerly await the final episode, with some fans questioning the true motives of disgraced CIA agent Sharon Carter and wondering if she could be in cahoots with the formidable villain known as Power Broker.
On top of that, the terrorist group known as the Flag-Smashers are closer than ever to enacting their master plan, as citizens of the world are left reeling by the brutal actions of John Walker aka Captain America.
As was the case with WandaVision, some fans are predicting that there could be a major cameo in the series finale, but they would be wise to exercise caution given what happened last time.
Producer Nate Moore has confirmed to Vanity Fair that King T’Challa (aka Black Panther), played by the late Chadwick Boseman, will not be appearing in the series as some had speculated following the arrival of the Dora Milaje.
If you’re bang up to date and want our spoiler-filled thoughts on the fifth episode, check out our latest The Falcon and the Winter Soldier review.
Alternatively, fans can also find more information about upcoming Marvel TV series on Disney Plus, as the shows look set to have a huge impact on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Read on for everything we know about the series as it continues on Disney Plus.
What is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s release date?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Friday 19th March 2021, with the first episode appearing on Disney Plus from 8am GMT.
Entertainment Weekly marked the occasion with a star-studded virtual launch event, featuring appearances from the likes of Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Kevin Feige and Emily VanCamp.
The show had been originally been intended for release in August 2020, but unfortunately hit a major setback due to the coronavirus pandemic, not wrapping filming until that October.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will run for only six episodes, with producer Kevin Feige explaining why he landed on that duration while speaking at the Television Critics Association.
“Six hours is what we landed on as the best way to tell our story,” he explained. “Six hours, whether it’s six episodes, or nine shorter episodes like WandaVision. The shows aren’t inexpensive, so the per-episode cost is very high and to get that bar I was talking about.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier release schedule
The series premiered on Friday 19th March and will continue across the next five weeks, with no double-bills planned (unlike WandaVision, which started its run with two episodes).
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1 (New World Order): Friday 19th March (out now)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 2 (The Star-Spangled Man) : Friday 26th March (out now)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3 (Power Broker): Friday 2nd April (out now)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 4 (The Whole World is Watching): Friday 9th April (out now)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5 (Truth): Friday 16th April (out now)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6: Friday 23rd April
That puts a sizeable gap between the end of this series and the launch of Marvel’s next big miniseries, Loki, which has now been confirmed to premiere on 11th June.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan lead The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast, as they reprise their respective roles as wingman Sam Wilson (aka Falcon) and reformed KGB assassin Bucky Barnes, better known by his codename The Winter Soldier.
But they aren’t the only familiar faces returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for this series, as Daniel Brühl is also back in the role of Captain America: Civil War baddie Baron Zemo.
He made a big impression in that 2016 crossover, driving a sizeable wedge between Captain America and Iron Man which ultimately left Earth vulnerable to Thanos’ forces in Avengers: Infinity War.
For his reappearance, Brühl is sometimes sporting the character’s iconic costume from the comics, which includes a distinctive purple face mask – particularly appropriate in the era of COVID-19.
“I was incredibly thrilled to go back because I remember that I had a lot of fun being in something completely different and getting to explore the MCU and become part of that,” Brühl said.
Another returning character who had been conspicuously absent since Civil War is Agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who Steve Rogers had a brief romance with before travelling back in time to marry her great aunt (awkward).
Sharon has been involved in several major Captain America storylines in the comic books, so her casting here is quite significant, and she makes a major appearance in the third episode as she helps Sam and Bucky track down leads in Madripoor.
Don Cheadle also returns to the MCU for this series as his Avengers character War Machine (aka Colonel James Rhodes), who makes a guest appearance in the first episode at a Smithsonian event honouring Steve Rogers.
Black Mirror star Wyatt Russell appears as John Walker, a government-sanctioned Captain America copycat with a dark side, who quickly becomes a rival to both Sam and Bucky.
Meanwhile, Adepero Oduye (When They See Us) makes her debut as Sarah Wilson, sister to Sam, who disagrees with him over what they should do with their struggling family business.
On My Block star Danny Ramirez plays Joaquin Torres, a serving member of the US Air Force who was recently introduced in the Marvel Comics as the second Falcon, so this series could put him in a position to take over the mantle from Sam.
Noah Mills (The Brave) and Carl Lumbly (Alias) have also joined the cast with Lumbly playing Isaiah Bradley, the first Black Captain America.
In the comics, Bradley was the product of secret experiments by the US government on African-Americans as they attempted to replicate the super-soldier serum, a storyline inspired by the very real Tuskegee syphilis studies.
Writer Malcolm Spellman told RadioTimes.com that the series in which that story was first told, Captain America: Truth, was a big influence on his outline for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Erin Kellyman’s villainous role is a new version of the supervillain Flag-Smasher named Karli Morgenthau. Speaking about her character after making her first appearance on the show, Kellyman compared the character to Enfys Nest, the character she played in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
“I think people are finding a lot of similarities with the two characters, and there definitely are some,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “But as the series goes on and you learn more about Karli, you’ll see that they are quite different.”
The character is based on comic book character Karl Morgenthau, but Kellyman says she didn’t think too much about that when playing the role.
“I tried to treat her as a new character, honestly,” she revealed. “There were already so many changes, and I felt differently about her than the way I did when I read about Karl. So I tried to stick with the scripts and go off of that, mainly.”
Meanwhile, Chris Evans is unlikely to return as Captain America in the series with Kevin Feige explaining to Entertainment Weekly that rumours surrounding Cap’s return were wide of the mark.
“I rarely answer no to anything anymore because things are always surprising me with what happens,” he said. “But that rumour, I think, was dispelled rather quickly by the man himself.”
This was a reference to a tweet from Evans back in January which simply read “News to me” with regards to reports that he would be back.
What is the Falcon and the Winter Soldier TV series about?
In Avengers: Endgame, after the dust had settled on the climactic battle with Thanos and his goons, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) ventured back into the past to return the stolen Infinity Stones to their rightful place in time and space.
He returned as an elderly man, having lived a full and happy life with his first love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), effectively ending his tenure as Captain America.
He then handed his shield to loyal friend Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), intending to pass on the mantle of Captain America too – but it’s a responsibility that comes with a lot of weight.
Sam is uneasy about becoming the next Captain America, partly due to how African-American people have been treated in the United States throughout the country’s entire history – which all adds to the shield’s “complicated” legacy.
As for Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), he’s no longer under the control of sinister outside forces and has even acquired a shiny new Vibranium arm during his time in Wakanda.
“I think it’s time for Bucky to go out there and have an identity outside of the circumstances that we’ve met him through,” Stan said of his man out of time while attending a convention in Italy.
“So, I don’t know, he might do all kinds of things. He might even go on a date. I don’t know… I think it’s gonna be a lot of dealing with Anthony’s character.”
The duo find themselves up against a terrorist organisation known as the Flag Smashers, who want to restore the world to what it was like during the blip, as well as an unstable new Captain America: John Walker.
Given that Steve Rogers is not expected to feature in the series, some have theorised that the original Cap may have passed away before the events of this series.
In the fifth episode, Sam and Bucky have an intense conversation where they refer to Steve as “gone”, suggesting he might well have died of old age – but many fans are still betting on a cameo of some variety.
While the show does explore serious themes, there are plenty of laughs too as it pays homage to classic buddy cop movies from days gone by.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, it was revealed that stars Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie would even improvise insults aimed at each other’s characters.
“We didn’t lose that feeling of security and espionage,” Mackie said. “It still feels like you’re in a Philip K Dick novel [or] a Tom Clancy movie. But at the same time, it’s Sebastian and I, and we’re idiots, so you get more of us being ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the show is also set to tie into several future Marvel projects, with writer Malcolm Spelling telling Entertainment Weekly that it will link to at least three further works, although he said he was “not allowed to talk about” which ones.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailers
The first full-length trailer for Falcon and the Winter Soldier landed in February 2021, teasing the buddy cop dynamic between its two titular heroes as well as re-introducing Emily VanCamp’s Agent 13 on top form.
At this stage, Marvel were still holding out on showing us Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo, complete with a comics-accurate purple mask, but we do get a good look at Erin Kellyman’s mysterious and dangerous new villain.
This was followed by a further teaser trailer in March 2021, which further hinted at the humorous dynamic between the mismatched Sam and Bucky – as they argue about the existence of wizards.
And a few days later the final full-length trailer was released, showing Sam Wilson training with Captain America’s shield while we also finally get a new glimpse of Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo.
As if all those trailers wasn’t enough. Marvel also offered fans a few more treats – including a one-minute featurette which gave a behind-the-scenes look at Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie as they share their experiences on set.
And Marvel also released a couple of further first-look clips, including one which gave a greater look at the debate between Bucky and Sam about the existence of “the big three” – aliens, androids and wizards.
One final preview clip showed how tense the relationship between the pair looks to be – with Sam refusing to explain a plan to Bucky, who objects to being called “Buck: by his accomplice.
Prior to episode 2 being released, we got a short trailer/featurette called ‘Continuation’ that fills us in on what was happening with the two titular characters when we last saw them at the conclusion of Avengers Endgame.
Back in December 2020, Marvel had released a shorter first-look promo which shows Falcon hesitant to take over as Captain America whilst taking on a new set of villains alongside the Winter Soldier.
Who wrote The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
A couple of writers have been mentioned in connection with the new show. First off, Variety reported the involvement of Malcolm Spellman, who is best known for working on hit Fox series Empire.
The second name, revealed by The Wrap, is arguably the more intriguing of the two – Derek Kolstad, co-creator of the popular John Wick franchise starring Keanu Reeves, which is prepping a fourth instalment.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier posters
In March 2021, roughly two weeks before the launch of the series, Marvel revealed these glossy character posters that show the four main cast members in full costume.
This gives us our best look yet at Daniel Brühl’s return as Baron Zemo, now wearing a comics-accurate costume that is sure to make the die-hard fans swoon.
Sam Wilson: The Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
Agent 13: Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp)
Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is scheduled for release on Disney Plus in 2020. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year now. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.