After a critically and financially successful debut with WandaVision, Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues on Disney+ with the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The six-episode miniseries will pick up six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame after Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) passes his shield to one of his closest confidants Sam Wilson/Falcon (Antony Mackie). Wilson will team up with Roger’s best friend Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) to take on a global threat from an anti-patriotism organization known as the Flag-Smashers, led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).
Notable MCU characters that will be appearing in the series include Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle). With the series debuting on Friday, March 19, now is the perfect time to go back and watch the following movies as a refresher for everything you need to know going into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The first movie in the Captain America trilogy, The First Avenger was the MCU’s introduction to the Super Soldier Serum as Steve Rogers takes the mantle of Captain America to take on the Red Skull in the 1940s.
Why is it important? The First Avenger does a great job at exploring what kind of man Steve Rogers is before he becomes a superhero. The integrity of Rogers shows us the weight that the mantle of Captain America has. It’s more than just a suit and a shield, there’s substance behind those stars and stripes. Plus, the film delves into the relationship he has with Bucky Barnes and what kind of person he is before he’s brainwashed by Hydra into becoming the assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
A political thriller in the form of a superhero film, Captain America is joined by Black Widow and Falcon, as they come together to fight a mysterious assassin and a conspiracy inside an infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.
Why is it important? The Winter Soldier is the introduction to Bucky post-The First Avenger and the introduction to Sam Wilson. Both of these characters are the closest friends of Steve Rogers, with Wilson meeting present-day Rogers, and Bucky knowing him from childhood. As the Winter Soldier, Bucky’s combat skills are on par with Captain America; however, he is brainwashed and suffers from a memory problem. With Hydra’s version of the Super Soldier serum and his vibranium arm, the Winter Soldier is just as big of a threat as Captain America and his shield.
Where to stream? Now streaming on Disney+.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The final film in the Captain America trilogy, Civil War was a turning point in the MCU as the Avengers split into two opposing factions after disagreeing over international oversight. After Bucky is framed for an explosion at the United Nations, the Avengers implode amongst themselves as Steve Rogers protects his childhood friend.
Why is it important? Civil War may be the most important film heading into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier because it introduces Baron Helmut Zemo into the MCU, flushes out Winter Soldier’s backstory, and shows hints of the relationship between Falcon and the Winter Soldier. During the film, Bucky loses his arm after a fight with Iron Man and he is later frozen under in Wakanda during the post-credit scene.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Thanos has finally arrived to collect the Infinity Stones for his Infinity Gauntlet and complete his plan of vanquishing half of life in the universe.
Why is it important? After being unfrozen during the post-credit scene of Black Panther, Bucky is given a new vibranium arm created by Wakandan technology. This is the first time that Falcon and Captain America have appeared in the MCU since they’ve been on the run following Civil War. The titular characters of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are turned into ash after Thanos snaps his fingers after gathering all of the Infinity Stones.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Set five years after the events of Infinity War, the Avengers restore order to the universe by defeating Thanos and undoing his path of destruction caused by the Infinity Gauntlet.
Why is it important? Since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place 6 months after the events of Endgame, there will surely be direct connections between the two. At the end of Endgame, after returning the Infinity Stones to their proper timelines, Captain America chooses to live a full life and is seen as Old Steve Rogers, who is roughly 106 years old. He decides to pass on his mantle and give his shield to Sam Wilson which will lead into the upcoming series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will begin streaming Friday, March 19, exclusively on Disney+.