‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Stars on Sam & Bucky Teaming Up Over Shared Grief

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan
Disney+/Marvel Studios

Marvel’s latest Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is under some pressure to live up to the mega-success of WandaVision, Marvel’s first series for the streamer. But it seems up for the job. For one thing, it shares a main ingredient with that show: people working through trauma.

Like Wanda (Elizabeth Olson), who’s grieving the loss of Vision (Paul Bettany), the heroes at the center of Falcon, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), are grieving the absence of their friend and hero, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans). Their emotional journey grounds the series, Kevin Feige creator and producer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, told reporters.

“I think you feel that more because we have more time with Disney+,” he told reporters. “It’s always about exploring. What’s great about the Marvel characters is their flaws, the experiences and emotions. And that’s always by far the most important anchor for any story we’re going to tell.”

The Falcon and the winter soldier anthony mackie

(Credit: Disney+/Marvel Studios)

Sam’s story, Mackie told reporters, involves coping with Steve’s absence. “Just like everybody else, you don’t want to see Captain America go away,” said Mackie. (We get it.) “Captain America was Sam Wilson’s captain.”

But that’s not all. He and his Sarah (Adepero Oduye) are also struggling with the economic fallout caused in part by the Blip (the reappearance of half of the universe’s population in the MCU).

“The idea of Sam Wilson, he’s always evolved in the world of the Marvel comic books, and now he’s evolved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Mackie said of his character. “So, I’m excited for everyone to see the new and improved Sam Wilson.”

As for Bucky, he’s got more than Captain America weighing him down. He’s in therapy dealing with PTSD after remembering how in his pre-Blip past, when he was under Hydra’s control, he was an assassin. He also faces the fact that he’s a shut-in.

This season, he’ll try to change, but in ways you might not expect.

“I always learn something about myself from this character,” Stan revealed. “I was pretty freaked out because I felt like we had established a character that I knew and was very comfortable with tonally. And then, we had to go into this and [ask], ‘Well, what is he like now?’ Part of that was us homing in on his sense of humor.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Bucky Sebastian Stan

(Credit: Disney+/Marvel Studios)

And the humor increases when he and Sam team up.

“You can’t find two people further opposite than each other than Sebastian and I,” Mackie said. ” But there’s a mutual respect, understanding, appreciation of that person. We listen, learn, and teach each other a great deal.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Series Premiere, Friday, March 19, Disney+