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WandaVision is over, but a new era of Marvel-based television is just getting started. Disney+ takes off for the clouds next Friday with the season premiere for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which reunites Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) following the events of Avengers: Endgame.
While the rest of us poor schmoes have to wait another week to check out the sophomore MCU TV series, certain members of the press are sharing their early reactions to the show after checking out an advance screener of the high-octane first episode. And if you think you've already seen everything with WandaVision, think again. Journalists and other lucky members of the audience are stressing that Falcon and the Winter Soldier could not be more different than the sitcom-hopping introduction to Phase 4.
The repartee between Mackie and Stan — and the story's commitment to deepening our understanding of these characters — definitely seem to be the standout elements of the series. In particular, Sam is trying to figure out his life after blipping back into existence, while Bucky grapples with his dark past as a mindless killer for HYDRA. Add in some heart-thumping action sequences as well as some dangling mysteries, and baby, you've got yourself quite a stew going.
See what folks are saying below...
"I've watched the first episode of #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier & it's solid. Definitely more somber & dramatic at the start than I was expecting (which is a good thing), but also features the best Falcon action we've seen yet. Good mix of fights & story. I'm sold & hungry for more...
What I love most about this series & #WandaVision too is that you just get to know these characters on a level that instantly brings you closer to them than you've ever been before. Both Falcon & Bucky are going through some heavy stuff in this one, that's for sure...
One last thing I'll mention that I've really loved about these Marvel shows so far are the little details not always explored in a film. Like chaos in a hospital as people come back from The Blip. Also, tiny things like how do superheroes get paid? These kinds of details I adore" - Fandango's Erik Davis.
"I saw the first episode of #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier and dug it! The opening action sequence is very cool, has a surprise appearance, and I like where the story is going as we get deeper into Sam And Bucky's backstory." - The Wrap's Umberto Gonzalez.
"The first episode of #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier is another big step forward for the MCU. The action is very impressive and losses nothing in it’s transition to TV. The series tone carries over from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and leaves you wanting more!" - Geeks of Color.
"You will be blown away by the first episode of #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier! So many scenes are satisfying on many different levels. A lot of callbacks. A lot of respect. And a lot of emotion in just the 1st episode. It’s perhaps one of the most “Marvel feeling” projects there is!" - The Cosmic Wonder | Warren.
"I watched Episode 1 of #TheFalconAndTheWinterSoldier! It has some dope action sequences with CA: TWS vibes! Not the pace I expected but spending time with Sam's family and Bucky's mental state is great development. Mackie & Stan are really good in very different ways.
#TheFalconAndTheWinterSoldier has some really touching ties to the MCU and those are some of my favorite parts of Episode 1. References to other characters, questions about the Avengers, the world's view of Endgame storylines... some small-scale, fun MCU world building." - @BrandonDavisBD.
"1st ep of #FalconAndWinterSoldier is INTENSE! Kicks off with a lightning speed high altitude 10 min action scene that is pure adrenaline! Story gets REAL. Mackie commands & Stan's scenes run deep surprise here will break your [heart] it's for all wounded & lonely. #CaptainAmerica is [key]. And yeah get ready for cliffhangers. And oh yeah if you ask me to compare to #Wandavision - it's yin and yang! #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier #TheFalconAndTheWinterSoldier" - Fandango's Nikki Novak.
"Got the chance to catch the first episode of @MarvelStudios' and @disneyplus' #TheFalconAndWinterSoldier and oh my am I already in love with this series. Fast-paced and explosive without sacrificing any meaningful character moments or development, exploring timely themes..." - Coming Soon's Grant Hermanns.
Disney+ was also kind enough to release a whole bunch of new footage, including a featurette that highlight's the main characters' rocky dynamic.
"It's an example of opposites attract," Mackie says. "We couldn't be more different."
"There are definitely days where I feel like he's gonna kill me," Stan adds with a laugh.
In a clip entitled "The Big Three," Sam and Bucky have a debate about the kind of threat they're up against. And you know what? Sam brings up a pretty good point — the Avengers usually face an enemy that fits into one of three possible categories: androids, aliens, or wizards (aka "The Big Three").
Bucky insists that wizards don't exist and that Doctor Strange is a sorcerer. "A sorcerer is a wizard without a hat," Sam responds. Bucky sarcastically asks if they're going to fight Gandalf, which leads to a conversation about Lord of the Rings. As it so happens, the Winter Soldier actually read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit when it was first published in 1937. It's easy to forget that Bucky, like Steve Rogers, is also a man out of time. It's a nice little callback to his WWII origins.
A second clip ("The Plan") proves that the two heroes are like an old married couple. As they're about to jump out of a military cargo plane for what must be a very important mission, Bucky berates Sam for calling him "Buck," a pet name that he only allowed Steve to use. The clip's title is rather misleading because Sam doesn't have a plan and jumps out of the plane with no warning.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier lands on Disney+ Friday, March 19. Created by Malcolm Spellman (Empire), the show was directed by Kari Skogland (The Handmaid's Tale). Emily VanCamp ("Sharon Carton"), Daniel Brühl ("Zemo"), and Wyatt Russell ("U.S. Agent") co-star alongside Mackie and Stan.