Sam Wilson: 6 Things To Remember Before Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

When Sam Wilson made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, many fans of the Avenger otherwise known as Falcon hoped he may one day get a movie of his own. Well, instead, he is getting the next best thing with his own TV show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, that he is sharing with Bucky Barnes.

The highly anticipated series, which will exclusively debut on Disney+ Friday, March 19, 2021, follows the continuing adventures of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), but where exactly the next stage in the lives of these war veterans (and best friends of Steve Rogers) are destined to take them is not very clear. Save a few things we do know about the Marvel show, such as sightings of an island known as Madripoor and the return of familiar MCU characters like Sharon Carter and Zemo, there are many questions we still have about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that remain unanswered.

However, there is seven years (and six movies) worth of information about Sam Wilson that, honestly, should be enough to prepare viewers for the what is in store with this upcoming series. For those who do not have the time to rewatch all of the necessary MCU installments before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres, we empathize with you. Thus, we have summarized Falcon’s journey up to this point into the following six most essential facts to remember, starting with his military background.

Anthony Mackie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Sam Wilson Served In The U.S. Air Force

Even before he took on the role of a superhero, Sam Wilson was saving the world while stationed in Afghanistan as part of the United States Air Force. He was assigned to the 58th Rescue Squadron, for which he was a test pilot for a winged, wearable flight harness called the EXO-7 Falcon, which he would eventually repurpose as his own when fighting with the Avengers and base his alias off of.

Of course, as his later role as an advisor to veterans suffering from PTSD would show, Sam Wilson’s time in the military was not without its hardships. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he recounts to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) that his wingman, Riley, was also using the EXO-7 Falcon for a rescue operation when an RPG “knocked his dumb ass out of the sky.” Surely, there is more to be revealed about Wilson on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and that may involve revisiting haunting memories such as this.

Anthony Mackie in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Sam Wilson Joined The Avengers As Falcon In 2015

After exposing HYDRA for posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades, Sam Wilson remained friends and partners in the search for Bucky Barnes with Steve Rogers, who invited him to a party celebrating a victory in Avengers: Age of Ultron’s opening scene. At the gathering, Cap apologized to Wilson for not asking him to join the raid of Baron Von Strucker’s HYDRA base, to which he responded that joining the superhero collective was not in the cards for him anyway.

That was until after the defeat of Ultron (James Spader) in Sokovia and the Avengers lost a few key members to retirement (Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye), a search for the remaining Infinity Stones (Thor), and a voluntary demotion to be non-combative (Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man). Along with Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes as War Machine (Don Cheadle), Sam Wilson became one of the newest members of the team, equipped with an upgraded Falcon harness, courtesy of Stark.

Anthony Mackie in Captain America: Civil War

Sam Wilson Became A Fugitive After The Sokovia Accords Dispute

Things seemed to be going well among the new Avengers line-up until an accident involving Wanda Maximoff's telekinesis put the world's trust of the vigilantes in question. This would prompt the drafting of the Sokovia Accords, which proposed stricter governmental control of the team and incited conflict among them. This was only worsened by Steve Rogers' unsupervised attempt to find Bucky Barnes, a prime suspect in the assassination of Wakandan king T'Chaka.

Of course, Bucky was actually framed by a vengeful Sokovian named Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), but the Avengers would only learn after physically engaging in the epic titular conflict of Captain America: Civil War at an airport hangar in German. This resulted in Captain America and Winter Soldier getting away, but the rest on his side (including Sam Wilson) getting arrested. However, after a devastating dispute with Tony Stark, Rogers would return with and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) to break Wilson out of prison and go on the run.

Anthony Mackie in Avengers: Infinity War

A Dusted Sam Wilson Was Later Blipped Back Into Reality

What finally brought Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow out of hiding in Avengers: Infinity War was the warning from Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) about Thanos (Josh Brolin). The big, purple, tyrannical Titan was now closer than ever to obtaining all six Infinity Stones, which would put the entire universe at his mercy. As it turns out, he was only merciful to half of all living creatures, while the other 50 percent (including Sam Wilson) were erased from existence.

Five years later, at the enthralling final act of Avengers: Endgame, the remaining Avengers managed to reverse Thanos' "snap" and revive their fallen comrades, which would come to be known as "The Blip." What confirmed the Blip's success was Falcon telling Steve Rogers he was "on [his] left" through his headset before joining the ultimate assembly of warriors against 2014-era Thanos' army.

Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie in Avengers: Endgame

Steve Rogers Passed His Shield On To Sam Wilson In Avengers: Endgame

In typical MCU fashion, the defeat of Thanos (thanks to Iron Man's sacrifice) was not the last of Avengers: Endgame's game-changing moments. While Captain America was meant to come back to the present after returning the Infinity Stones to their rightful places in time, he instead made himself at home at his rightful place in time: the 1940s.

Yet, after getting "some of that 'life' Stark was always talking about," Steve Rogers gives his friends an update on his time travel trip from a nearby bench, where Sam Wilson joins him in a conversation. He tells his "old" friend that he is sad to live in a world without Captain America, but Rogers assures him that he will not have to by passing his famed shield over to him.

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in Captain America: Civil War

Sam Wilson And Bucky Barnes Have A Bit Of Friendly Rivalry

Bucky Barnes seems to silently offer his approval of Sam Wilson as the new Captain America, but that cordiality was a long time coming. The duo have never really been the best of friends as most of their past interactions throughout the MCU serve as evidence of.

In fact, their rivalry has led to some of the funniest moments from Captain America: Civil War, such as when Bucky is sternly and immediately shut down after politely asking Sam, sitting in the front of a cramped Beetle, to move his seat up. Considering how the most recent trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins and ends with the frenemies at a dual therapy session, I have no doubt we have not seen the last of their bickering.

Honestly, I believe it is their discordant rapport that makes Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes the perfect choice to be the co-leads of a Marvel TV series. What better way to keep things interesting on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when the duo is not facing external conflict than with internal conflict.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.