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Preview: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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Disney Plus is currently enjoying a successful freshman season of their first Marvel television series, Wandavision, and during the Super Bowl they aired their finale trailer for the next series coming to the streaming service. Falcon and the Winter Soldier will take place sometime after the events of Avengers Endgame and in it will show how Sam Wilson is dealing, or not dealing, with Captain America passing the torch (or shield) to him as the titular hero. The trailers we have seen to date have shown that Sam is reluctant to take up the shield, as he says "the legacy of that shield is complicated." Steve Rogers passed it to him knowing that he would do his best in living up to the hero that Rogers had created. The idea of Captain America in this world may be bigger then the actual hero as it isn't just a hero, it's a symbol of the best parts of America. It is a beacon of hope. So, naturally, it is understandable for Sam to have issues and concerns with taking the mantle. Beyond that, I fully believe that the government will take issue with Sam being the new Captain America and instead give the reign to a US Agent known as John Walker. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will still carry out missions similar to how Sam used to with Natasha Romanoff and Steve Rogers prior to the Infinity War film. However, at some point they will realize that this new candidate is up to no good. In the comics John Walker is essentially the evil Steve Rogers. When Rogers retired in the comics, the government saw an up and coming Walker, known as Super Patriot at the time, and deemed him to be a worthy successor. Walker tried his best to be like Rogers, but instead used his power and nearly killed people a few times. In this series, I believe that Walker will be an agent placed into the government ranks by Baron Zemo to achieve his goal of eliminating all superheroes forcing Sam and Bucky to take down the false Captain America and help Sam become the beacon of hope that his friend once was.

Baron Zemo's inclusion to this series makes perfect sense in many ways. He is a mastermind that as we've seen, is steps ahead of the heroes and a master manipulator. He could see that without Steve Rogers in play anymore, the chance to overthrow an empire would be much easier now. His hatred for all heroes still burns bright, and after Civil War he has had plenty of time to concoct a plan to kill them all. In the trailer he even says, "superheroes cannot be allowed to exist." Zemo won't be allow in this series, as I believe based on the trailer and the people in a certain distinct mask allude to Flag Smasher and ULTIMATUM. In the comics, Flag Smasher was essentially the antithesis to Captain America, and all he stood for was pure anarchy. He didn't have powers to oppose Captain America and instead created an army of like minded people to defeat and demean Captain America by shear numbers. In the world of Falcon and Winter Soldier, and a post Thanos world, it has to be in anarchy as the government is desperately attempting to bring things back to normal. While Zemo funds Flag Smasher and his disciples to create complete anarchy and swing two heroes back into his path. Completely unrelated but nonetheless important, I am also positive that Zemo will be set up as a long arching villain for these Earth based heroes as in the comics he was one of the leaders of the Thunderbolts and even a part of the Masters of Evil. With the knowledge of separate singular stories ahead in the MCU, I am positive we will be seeing more of Zemo past Falcon and Winter Soldier.

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Sharon Carter will also be making an appearance on the series as we had last seen her back in Civil War. In that film, she aided Captain America and his friends escape custody which most likely made her into a fugitive that is being hunted down by the government. It explains why we see a much different and hardened Sharon in the trailer. She has been on the run for over five years at the least, but all of this will also probably lead to her working alongside the heroes. Hopefully, the writers don't take her down the route of a love interest like she was in an awkward way for Steve Rogers in his films. Sharon can stand on her own as a secondary character without the need of making her a love interest that boosts up Bucky or Sam in this series, even more so knowing that she has been on the run for so long now.

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There are sure to be a lot of moving pieces and plenty of espionage in the new series, but the trailer certainly showed plenty of humor and action scenes. Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie have shown incredible chemistry in previous films together and that will also make for compelling and entertaining television in the coming month. In a way their adventure here works like a buddy cop show which is perfect considering their complicated friendship. The duo also seem to be shown in Madripoor which is a fictional island located in Southeast Asia, as the trailer seemed to show off some of the extremely rich society of Hightown and the very poor Lowtown. Hightown, is an economic powerhouse that has plenty of money laundering and a corrupt government that turns a blind eye to illegal activities willingly, all the while also being the center for countless criminal empires such as Hydra and the Hand. The idea that the show would feature these areas is probably just an Easter Egg but with the world of the MCU expanding it could be another hint to the eventual reveal of the X-Men being in this universe as Madame Hydra, Daken (Wolverine's son) and Mystique have all been rulers of Madripoor at random points in the comics history. Madripoor is a good location for this series to incorporate for it's steep connection to other future projects in the MCU but also in how it fits the tone the series is trying to hit, similar to that of the Winter Soldier, a high concept political espionage action series. Luckily, we don't have to wait too long to watch as it'll be airing in a little over a month and in between then and now we still have a few more episodes of Wandavision.