There isn’t much time before we pick back up with the adventures of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, aka Steve Rogers’ two best friends, but there are a lot of questions we have about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier before it premieres on Disney+, Friday, March 19. We previously asked what familiar characters from the MCU we could expect from the Marvel series, which is a question that has since turned into an honest conversation.
With Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson having crossed paths with so many memorable characters since they were first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, respectively, the odds of some of those enemies and allies returning in the upcoming Marvel TV show are stacked in the fans’ favor. Below we will break down nine of the characters who could appear in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross
The last time we saw General Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), he was attending Tony Stark’s funeral at the end of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Even though the Secretary of State was standing with the Avengers for the somber occasion, the former general hasn’t always been on the best of terms with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Do the Sokovia Accords ring a bell? What about Thunderbolt Ross’ never-ending crusade to bring in The Winter Soldier for crimes he may or may not have committed? What about his attempt at making his own super soldier serum? With the confirmation that U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), the government’s replacement for Captain America, is showing up, it almost seems like a given we’ll see Ross return in some capacity.
Everett K. Ross
When we last saw CIA Agent Everett K. Ross, he was trying to dissuade T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) from revealing Wakanda to the world in Black Panther. But, if you'll remember, Ross has been an integral part of the MCU story for a number of years now, going back to Captain America: Civil War where he first sought to capture the Winter Soldier before learning that Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) was behind the attack at the signing of the Sokovia Accords.
That is why it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Everett K. Ross appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Considering his ties to the confirmed characters and the fact that Martin Freeman has been confirmed to be returning for future MCU movies, his appearance could further connect the individual stories of Falcon, the Winter Soldier, and Wakanda in Black Panther II.
Shuri (Letitia Wright) has apparently been up to a lot since we last saw her being brought in for Avengers: Endgame’s epic final battle, and while the future of the Black Panther mantle and leadership of Wakanda is the flux, this member of the royal family will surely play a role in both regards. How and when the character returns also remains to be seen.
One way Shuri could be brought back into the fold (especially leading into Black Panther II) would be to have her show up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. With a prior connection to Bucky Barnes (she helped wipe the Winter Soldier protocol from his brain and gave him a brand new arm) and the Disney+ series being advertised as a globe-trotting adventure, doesn’t it seem possible that Sam and Bucky show up in Wakanda for some help?
Nick Fury (Or Talos As The Former S.H.I.E.L.D. Leader)
Anyone who was suspicious of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his actions in Spider-Man: Far From Home had them confirmed in the film’s post-credits scene, when it was revealed the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was actually in outerspace and the Skrull Talos was filling in for him back on Earth.
Nick Fury is next slated to appear in the Disney+ series Secret Invasion, but the character does have a habit of appearing when you least expect it, like when he faked his death in Captain America: The Winder Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. This makes it entirely possible he (or at least maybe Talos) shows up and provides assistance to the heroes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
I know, I know, former Hammer Industries CEO Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) is currently behind bars after attempting to take over the world and steal Tony Stark’s tech in Iron Man 2 (this was confirmed in the one-shot All Hail the King), but a character already confirmed for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is also supposed to be locked away.
With Justin Hammer’s ties to high-ranking members of the U.S. Government (you can’t tell me all of Hydra was wiped out), there could be some backdoor deals and off the record conversations to help Tony Stark’s one-time rival escape and help out U.S. Agent, or better yet, Helmut Zemo.
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) got his family back and looked to move beyond that dark chapter in his life during the emotional Avengers: Endgame finale, which could have honestly been a superb sendoff for Hawkeye. But, with Barton getting a Disney+ show of his own at some point in the near future, it looks like the insanely accurate archer isn’t finished just yet.
One way to bridge the gap between Endgame and Hawkeye could be to have the character show up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to either provide backup or guidance for his allies from Captain America: Civil War. The three characters already have a connection (not to mention great chemistry), and it could further expand the universe.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is another one of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ former allies who could return in a time of need. We last saw Lang adjusting to post-Blip life in Avengers: Endgame, but with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania set for a 2022 release, there has to be a way to get him back into the fold, and The Falcon and the Winter Solder could be that vehicle. Hell, it could even be something as brief as Falcon’s appearance in Ant-Man.
The Howling Commandos
This one is a stretch, but if The Falcon and the Winter Soldier makes an attempt to further develop Bucky Barnes’ character, it could do so through flashbacks to his days knocking out Hydra bases with the Howling Commandos during World War II. Introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Howling Commandos went on to appear on Agent Carter, as well as in the exhibit at the Smithsonian in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Perhaps have Bucky revisit the exhibit now that he’s no longer a wanted fugitive and have him relive old memories.
And, there is Steve Rogers, the force that brought two enemies-turned-friends together through various titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the news of Chris Evans possibly returning to the MCU in some capacity, it would make sense for Cap to show up at least for a moment in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Not so much that it takes away from Sam and Bucky’s journey, but just enough for a quick scene and to maybe explain what he did when he went back to return the stones in Avengers: Endgame.
Who knows if any of these names or some of the forgotten MCU characters will return for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but you’ll be able to find out when the show premieres on Disney+, Friday, March 19.