Warning - This article contains spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's finale is now available to stream on Disney+, but the legacy of Captain America continues on. Just hours after the final episode dropped, news broke that a fourth Captain America film was in development.
Sam Wilson just accepted the title of Captain America, and many of the series' other characters have been set up for interesting futures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, here are the seeds that have been planted by the show - particularly its finale - which could lead into the next Captain America movie.
SAM AND BUCKY'S RELATIONSHIP
The first nod to any interaction, or lack thereof, between Sam and Bucky comes in “New World Order” when Dr. Raynor confronts the latter about ignoring texts from the former. The next episode begins with Bucky confronting Sam about giving up the shield and letting it get into the hands of someone else and ends with the two agreeing to go their separate ways for good once their mission is complete.
Fast-forward to the last two episodes of the series, and while the two may say they’re only “co-workers” it’s clear they’ve become true friends. Bucky helps fix Sam’s family boat, Sam gives Bucky some sound advice on how to deal with his demons, and at the end of the series, they celebrate all they’ve achieved together at Sam’s barbeque in Louisiana.
It hasn’t been confirmed whether Bucky will appear in Sam’s Captain America movie, but given how The Falcon and the Winter Soldier spends so much time getting them to the point of being friends - and despite their statement to the contrary, partners - that it’d truly be a waste for them not to team up again in the near future.
Bucky has played a key role in all three Captain America movies so far, so it’d only be fitting for him to return for the fourth.
BUCKY'S FOUND FAMILY
There’s a decent chance Sarah Wilson and her sons will be included in the upcoming Captain America movie, seeing as a family member of theirs now holds the titular mantle. Their main potential for a future storyline seems to lie less with Sam and more with Bucky, though, as he is seen flirting with Sarah as well as playing with the boys in the final two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Admittedly, Marvel isn’t always great with developing their romantic relationships in the movies, and a series would be better for this sort of storyline, but it wouldn’t need to be treated like a big deal. Since the seeds are already planted for this pairing, it wouldn’t be too out of left field for the filmmakers to simply show Sarah and Bucky in an established relationship, as it’s likely some time will have passed between the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the Captain America film.
This would also be a natural way of bringing Sam and Bucky back together to do battle as a duo once again, since Bucky lives in New York while Sam lives in Louisiana. (Perhaps Bucky will move down there if he ends up dating Sarah?)
A NEW FALCON?
Joaquín Torres’ prominence in several key scenes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and his growing fan base amongst enthusiasts of the franchise, seem to nicely prime him for a return. Given that Sam is the established character he has the most ties within both comics and the MCU, a role in the upcoming Captain America movie would be a natural fit.
The Marvel Comics version of Torres ultimately suits up as the Falcon once Sam becomes Captain America, and no one currently holds the former mantle in the MCU now that Sam has officially accepted the latter (as Torres watched proudly via television broadcast). The only connection between Torres and the Falcon mantle on screen, though, is the brief moment in “Truth” when he examines Sam’s broken wings to see if the damage done to them can be fixed.
While the series finale didn’t hint as strongly at this potential passing of the torch as one might expect (only including one shot of Torres watching Sam Wilson's Captain America speech on TV), it seems like Torres has a natural position in the MCU going forward if the filmmakers decide to bring him back.
U.S. AGENT SUITS UP
John Walker finally suited up under his comics moniker, U.S. Agent, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s finale. While he seems to have chilled out a bit about no longer being Captain America, it seems unlikely his MCU story is over.
Admittedly, Val’s ominous words hinting at “when things get weird” are probably pointing in more of a Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers direction, with Walker joining one of those groups. For now, though, his ties to the MCU lie with the Captain America characters, so an appearance from him in the next movie (though likely in a smaller role) might not be out of the question.
A new batch of concept art for 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' was officially revealed.
Malcolm Spellman said that the writers of 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' discussed incorporating Sam Wilson's comic ability to communicate with birds, but there wasn't "a way to do that right" in the series.
Concept art of Bucky's White Wolf attire from 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' was officially revealed.
ZEMO IS DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
While Zemo’s storyline seemed to conclude for the time being when he was sent to the Raft prison in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s fifth episode, his brief scene in the finale shows that he still has some level of power and is more than willing to use it.
Zemo ordered his butler to kill the majority of the remaining Flag Smashers, which puts his future in the MCU into question. Many fans had pinned him down for a potential Thunderbolts adaptation, but that group is focused on bad guys redeeming themselves, and that doesn’t seem to be Zemo quite yet.
Still, this scene hinted that there’s likely more to come of Zemo in the MCU, and if he doesn’t join the Thunderbolts right away, the Captain America franchise will likely remain his home.
THE LAST REMAINING FLAG SMASHER
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier started with a Flag Smasher group consisting of eight members. By the time the finale started, they were down to six, and when the episode was over only one member of the group - Diego - was (presumably) left standing.
Sam was called to save Diego after making his big speech on the news, and while the character isn’t seen again after this, he is assumed to be alive.
The Flag Smasher message is still out there even though Karli and the others are now dead, and Diego may turn to other methods of trying to promote it and do good in the world. If he ended up seeing Sam’s speech after his recovery, he could be a good character to include in the next Captain America movie as someone who could be an ally in some way, shape, or form now that Sam has made it clear he wants to fight for the same things too.
SHARON CARTER’S STORY
The one true “cliffhanger” The Falcon and the Winter Soldier left fans with came in the finale’s mid-credits scene. Sharon Carter is pardoned and offered her old position and title of “Agent Carter” back. She accepts, but promptly gets on the phone once outside and tells the recipient that she has opened up their resource access to assets of the U.S. government that they can sell to clients, presumably in Madripoor since she was revealed to be the notorious Power Broker earlier in the episode.
This sets up Sharon to return to the MCU in a big way, likely sooner rather than later. While many have speculated the stinger hints that she’ll return in Armor Wars, it could also be set-up for a storyline in the next Captain America movie.
Neither Sam nor Bucky finds out Sharon is the Power Broker by the time the series is over, which leaves the door open for an even more devastating reveal down the line, particularly for Sam with him being the one who got Sharon her pardon and subsequent access to secret government weapons and technology.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s title card appears at the beginning of every episode, but it also shows up at the end of the finale...with one big change.
It now reads “Captain America and the Winter Soldier” which many fans believed to be a nod to the title of a potential second season. While this seems less likely now that a fourth Captain America film is in development, it does confirm that Sam Wilson’s superhero title is now officially Captain America rather than the Falcon.
It’s unlikely this will be the title of the movie, simply because the second film in the franchise is already called Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Hopefully, though, it does indicate that the two heroes will be working alongside each other in projects to come, including this upcoming fourth film.
All of the MCU’s Captain America movies and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episodes are available to stream on Disney+.