The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no longer reserved for the big screen.
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Following the conclusion to the Infinity Saga, which lasted for 22 films and 11 years, the studio has pumped money into new TV shows that are expected to be just as costly and high-profile as its blockbuster films.
Below is everything we know about the new show, from its cast to the planned release details as well as potential spoilers.
When will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier be released?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will start streaming on Disney+ on 19 March in the US and in the UK.
How many episodes will there be?
The show will run for six hour-long episodes, which – like Star Wars series The Mandalorian – will be released weekly.
Who stars in the show and who is the showrunner/director?
MCU actors Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier) will reprise their roles for the TV show.
Other familiar faces to show up in the series wil include Emily VanCamp and Daniel Brühl, whose characters Sharon Carter and Helmut Zemo were last seen in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
Meanwhile, Wyatt Russell will make his Marvel debut playing Agent John Walker alongside newcomers Adepero Oduye, Desmond Chiam, Miki Ishikawa, Noah Mills, and Carl Lumbly.
Overseeing the series is Empire’s Malcolm Spellman and Handmaid’s Tale director Kari Skogland.
What is the plot and where does it fit into the MCU chronologically?
This series follows on from 2019 blockbuster Avengers: Endgame and will catch up with the duo after Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) passed his vibranium shield over to Sam.
Blocking his attempts to become the new Captain America, though, is the US government, who much prefer Wyatt Russell’s Agent John Walker for the role. Lest we forget, Sam and Bucky are still fugitives following the events of Civil War.
Just because Sam and Bucky have been thrown together by Steve’s decision doesn’t mean they’re going to be best of friends, either. A recent trailer saw Bucky point this out, suggesting they help each other for no reason other than to honour their mutual friend.
There will be laughs to be had despite this tension, with Skogland telling TV Guide: “They’re going to go on a wild ride together.”
Spellman pitched the show in the buddy cop genre, likening it to Lethal Weapon.
Zemo will be the show’s primary villain, but it’s unknown how he’ll factor in – although recent reports indicated how this might occur (more on that below).
Any potential spoilers?
So, after speculation that the the series could revisit the super soldier programme from past Captain America films, this seems to have been confirmed in leaked footage shown to Disney bosses.
Reports revealed it depicted Bucky visiting the villainous Zemo in prison to investigate the programme. During their encounter, Zemo attempts to activate his Winter Soldier brainwashing – but it doesn’t work as he had it successfully deprogrammed by Shuri (Letitia Wright) in Wakanda.
After much expectation, Zemo will also be shown fighting while wearing his famous mask and costume from the Marvel comics.
Another moment in the footage reportedly showed the government on the cusp of revealing Walker as the new Cap. The scene in question shows “a figure with the shield standing backstage draped in silhouette”.
Intriguingly, Walker flirts with villainy in the comic books and his story is closely related to that of the mysterious Taskmaster, who will make their debut in new Marvel film Black Widow. The identity of the actor playing him has been kept secret.
Considering the reveal might have been planned to directly follow his introduction in the prequel, which was originally scheduled for release on 1 May before it was delayed due to coronavirus, this could mean that Marvel will go on to shift The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s release date after all.
Will the series introduce the X-Men to the MCU?
Could this TV show also be the thing to introduce the X-Men to the MCU? A leaked image from the set showed an emblem of a location integral to the mutants’ comic books: the flag of Madripoor.
In the comics, Madripoor is a fictional island based near Singapore. Its introduction dates back to 1983, but the island has remained an important Marvel location ever since – especially in tales focused on Wolverine.
Most notably, though, the island was once home to Charles Xavier’s mansion that housed the mutants – and if it’s going to be visited in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it could finally mark the arrival of the heroes.