While Marvel Studios did not prepare the same multiple-trailer showcase at this year's Super Bowl like they did last year, they still found a way to command the internet by dropping a new look at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier during the big game.
During the Super Bowl's first quarter of play, Marvel debuted a fresh 30-second look at the upcoming star-spangled series, followed by the full two-minute trailer (and snazzy poster) going up on their social platforms immediately after.
The newest trailer for the series continued the mysterious espionage plot set up in the initial teaser. Details about this show's plot are still being kept close to the vest, but this new footage offers numerous frames that subtly hint at the bigger picture.
So, without further ado, here are 15 Easter eggs, hidden meanings, and plot details you (probably) missed in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's latest trailer.
“SUPERHEROES CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO EXIST.”
Helmut Zemo is back, and this chilling quote of his in the new trailer plays over several important shots (more on that later).
This line of dialogue is the first time Zemo's voice is heard in any promotional material for this series. Past trailers have shown subtle glimpses at the vengeful Sokovian, but this spot gives us actual insight into what Zemo could be scheming.While Zemo's intentions are likely similar to those from Captain America: Civil War, that conflict took place seven years ago in the MCU canonically. Bad guys are known to hold a grudge, but you have to wonder if there was a specific event that rekindled Zemo's rage.
“I have no intentions to leave my work unfinished.”
-Helmut Zemo, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Daniel Brühl's antagonist makes it very clear that whatever he's doing is a continuation of his past work, which likely has something to do with keeping the Avengers split apart. But while Earth's Mightiest Heroes did go through a rough patch for a number of years, they seem to be as united as ever in MCU present day.
That being said, multiple frames that follow in the new trailer make it clear that Zemo's plans are much more complex than his dialogue hints.
One of the more integral shots shown while Zemo speaks is the skyline of a vibrant city. Based on what we know from set photos and past trailers, this is the city of Madripoor.
In Marvel Comics, Madripoor is a fictional island located in Southeast Asia, and is heavily linked to a certain metal-clawed mutant. The inclusion of this location in the show is far from any confirmation that Wolverine will pop up somewhere within it, but it's still a strong indicator that Logan's existence will at least be teased somewhere.
The page describes Madripoor as “a place for the very rich and the very poor.” The former is very evident with the skyscrapers shown and later shots of nightclubs. The supposed poverty-stricken side of the city is not as emphasized in the new footage, but there is a possibility that the destructive Flag Smashers are impoverished Madripoorian citizens. After all, the fictional island is also known for it's “lawless quality” in Marvel lore, further highlighting the Flag Smashers as a likely link to the nation.
SAM, BUCKY, AND... ZEMO?
After the skyline shot melts into a closer look at the city, three men saunter single-file across a narrow walkway. The trio isn't well-lit enough to make out who's who, but there's some strong reason to believe these are our title characters alongside their presumed main antagonist.
The man leading the three wears a jacket that significantly broadens his shoulders, which is not unlike the fur coat Zemo rocks in nearly every shot he's been in so far. The two men that follow wear slimmer-fitting clothes, similar to what Sam and Bucky don in later shots at the nightclub.
In fact, as we puzzle-piece the new footage together, this shot lines up well with that nightclub scene. This moment on the walkway likely comes before our titular characters make a disco disturbance, but based on their attire in the shots at the club, they are presumably attending undercover.
While anyone can debate the identities of the trio, later frames make it evident that Sam, Bucky, and Zemo will not just be at this nightclub at the same time, but they will be attending together.
ZEMO VISITS SOKOVIAN MEMORIAL
While Zemo's wardrobe may be changing, his grief remains a constant.
This brief shot showcases the Sokovian visiting a memorial peppered with flags of his home nation. There is no telling exactly where this stone tribute is located, but given the displaced surroundings, it could very well be at the scene of Age of Ultron's final battle.
The memorial is a repeat shot from the past trailer, except this one excludes Bucky's arrival. Past footage indicates the Winter Soldier will confront Zemo at this memorial and empty a handful of bullets in front of a concerned Daniel Brühl. Could this moment lead to an empathetic exchange between one of our titular characters and the man who used him for evil?
THE PURPLE MASK
The Zemo content doesn't stop!
The final shot that plays over Zemo's introductory narration showcases the villain marching across a cargo container towards smoke. Cameras follow his footsteps, making note of his long trench coat, until his hand comes into frame, revealing his iconic purple mask.
In the comics, Baron Zemo is most recognizable by his purple face-covering. The villain rocks a magenta mask complete with vertical stripes, as well as gold plating around the ears. While this MCU series looks to be ditching the ear plates, all other aspects of the violet veil are pretty page-accurate.
Zemo's debut in Civil War left fans with much to be desired from the new villain, considering he operated like an everyday antagonist and didn't possess many of his noteworthy comic aspects. Knowing this show will be a continuation of his story from the third Captain America flick, it's only appropriate the villain will dive deeper into his comic lore.
Some sort of military event takes place as the trailer progresses, and while speculation has ranged from a Steve Rogers funeral to a Captain America museum opening, Bucky is clearly not welcomed at this affair.
If Barnes is rocking that impeccable Marvel disguise of a simple baseball cap, it probably means he's attempting to lie low. Despite Bucky's new haircut, he's still stained with the reputation as the MCU's most infamous terrorist.
This disguise can be further interpreted as a callback to Steve Rogers whose go-to disguise is a blank cap as well, but the look has quickly become the norm for any Marvel hero trying to stay out of sight.
(STILL) ON YOUR LEFT
Is someone chopping onions?
The next shot shows Sam Wilson in formal attire, holding the Captain America shield. Anthony Mackie begins by looking up to a banner of the original star-spangled hero, before directing his attention to the vibranium frisbee. Even as just a banner, Cap is still on his left.
Sam's look of conflict likely places this scene at a similar time to his opening line from the first trailer.
“The legacy of that shield is complicated.”
-Sam Wilson, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Whether Sam is attending a funeral or museum tribute for his old friend, it's clear that he still has hesitations about taking on the mantle.
“How does it feel?”
“Like it belongs to someone else.”
-Steve Rogers & Sam Wilson, Avengers: Endgame
“WHERE DO WE START?”
Marvel Studios and their callbacks — what a fine pair.
After some quick training montage shots, a civilian-clothed Sam and Bucky look to someone off-screen, asking about their next move.
This line is a reference to the final dialogue from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which served as Anthony Mackie's MCU debut. After taking down Hydra, the Winter Soldier fled the scene with a newfound identity crisis.
Standing by Nick Fury's fake grave, Steve Rogers peruses Bucky's file. Sam acknowledges Cap's intentions to track down his old friend, and while he is told he doesn't have to join, Sam simply states: “I know. When do we start?” Roll credits.
While the original line concluded Captain America 2, this time it will likely start whatever mission Sam and Bucky are tasked with. Their attire here only appears in this one shot, so it's anyone's guess who is tasking them with this assignment. Was it therapist from the beginning of the trailer? Sharon Carter? The US government?
SAM AND ZEMO, SIDE BY SIDE
Remember that earlier shot of the mysterious trio? If you weren't convinced those were our heroes alongside our main antagonist, there's much stronger evidence of that unlikely alliance here.
Returning to the nightclub scene, Bucky kicks a henchman across the dance floor. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Sam and Zemo watch on from the bar. But if Zemo is in fact the bad guy of this show, then why is he calmly attending a nightclub with the pair of heroes?
Let's pull on that thread a bit.
Set photos have backed up the idea of Sam and Bucky aligning with Zemo at some point in this series. With the cryptic motivations of Wyatt Russell's US Agent still remaining hush-hush, there's every possibility that the government's Captain America replacement could instead be the real antagonist here, and Zemo's “superheroes cannot be allowed to exist” line is about John Walker himself.
Other iterations of Captain America have been heavily-rumored to pop up in this show, also including Isaiah Bradley and his grandson Elijah.
I've gone wild with theorizing how Bradley's inclusion could lead to an uncomfortable storyline. If that holds true, then Zemo could be bent on shutting down the government-regulated side of the superhero world.
While he is more likely to carry out this mission by leaving a trail of bodies, there's reason to believe his plans will eventually line up with our titular heroes.
Agent 13 is back!
Making her first appearance since 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Emily VanCamp's S.H.I.E.L.D. agent returns to the MCU in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Coupling her covert attire with leaked promotional material, Sharon is still on the run for violating the Sokovia Accords.
For those keeping track at home, this puts Agent 13 at SEVEN YEARS of living in hiding canonically.
Considering she approaches Sam and Bucky by putting a pistol in their faces, it's safe to assume Peggy Carter's niece is still taking Nick Fury's “don't trust anyone” advice from The Winter Soldier.
After greeting the titular heroes, Sharon takes on a few maskless henchmen by some cargo containers. The fact that these bad guys don't wear Flag Smasher masks indicates that they are working with someone else, which could give our show multiple villainous organizations. Based on the location, it's fair to assume these are Zemo's allies, as our violent-veiled antagonist is seen orchestrating an explosion at the same spot later in the trailer.
US AGENT'S INAUGURATION
For the third consecutive teaser trailer, Marvel showcases the mysterious inauguration ceremony for the US Agent.
Just like the past footage shown, the shot opens with a bird's eye view of the stage as a red-white-and-blue marching band dances in star-formation. John Walker approaches the stage, high-fiving an enthusiastic band member with hundreds of roaring fans occupying the football field stands in the background.
As speculated in my last trailer breakdown for this show, I'm saying this scene is the public introduction of the United States' brand-new, government-appointed Captain America.
The previous trailer had this scene coinciding with Bucky's narration of how the people “need a symbol,” which is no accident. If Falcon is going to become the new Cap, there seems to be a certain government golden boy standing firmly in his way.
CARGO PLANE TAKEOVER
One of the defining shots from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier promotional material has Sam Wilson leaping out of a cargo plane while Bucky frustratingly wonders what their plan is.
The latest trailer spotlights Falcon entering the plane and immediately attacking a duo of henchmen. This conflict implies that the pair of heroes had to fight their way into this plane, which could also mean that the plane belongs to the bad guys.
Absent from this shot is the Winter Soldier. This could be because he is yet to arrive, but considering he doesn't exactly have the luxury of a wing-suit, he might have already been ejected from the flight. That, or this is a separate cargo plane from previous shots, and when Falcon jumps out without a plan, he is heading straight towards this second plane that Sam finds himself in.
In another quick shot, Bucky and Sam outrun gun fire as motorcycles race in the background. This shot doesn't offer much on initial glance, but coupling it with knowledge from past material, there's something here.
Previous footage also disguised who these riders are, but set photos indicate they will be donning a familiar emblem. Pictures show the biker gang rocking the Ogun symbol, who in the comics is a martial arts master and a villain for Wolverine.
Again, I'm not saying Weapon X is popping up in this series, but all this imagery and locations directly tied to Logan's comic lore might mean the metal-clawed mutant's existence will be nodded to on more than once.
Cargo fields, cargo planes, cargo trucks. Whatever's in those industrial shipping containers has got to be valuable.
Erin Kellyman's Flag Smasher returns in this trailer, this time Superman-punching a prone Winter Soldier while two of her terrorist teammates hold him back. This cargo truck confrontation is played up to be somewhat comedic here, as Falcon pokes fun as Bucky's tough L to a “little girl,” but other trailers indicate this scene will be extremely significant.
The first look footage showcased a wide view of the twin cargo trucks with at least seven bodies dueling it out atop of one of them. Most noteworthy of those present is Wyatt Russell's US Agent, whose presence is not felt during this new trailer shot of the trucks.
It's safe to assume John Walker is a late arrival, potentially because he is sent in by the government to handle this situation. If Bucky and Sam are still operating outside the Sokovia Accords - which were recently confirmed to still be enforced - that would make US Agent's inclusion the only man “allowed” to participate in this clash.
This trailer ends how it opens, but this time with a more detailed look into Sam and Bucky's couples therapy.
The duo has a tense staring content as their therapist berates them for childish behavior, emphasizing the Lethal Weapon-type buddy cop vibes this series is set to emulate.
While this scene will likely be played for that trademark Marvel quality, let's dig into the nature of this setting. Having Bucky and Sam at couples therapy implies they're co-existence is crucial to someone. There must be some greater purpose for the two if they are voluntarily attending a sit down with the goal of mending their fragile relationship.
I can't imagine either of these two suggesting the idea of therapy, and it's even less likely that the other would accept the notion. This makes me believe someone else is intent on getting them on the same page.
SO WHAT COMES NEXT?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's second full trailer gave fans deeper insight into where Sam and Bucky will be going, but still kept key plot points under wraps. For more noteworthy aspects of the upcoming star-spangled series, make sure to follow our The Falcon and the Winter Soldier tag.
Did we miss anything from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's debut trailer? What are your wildest theories? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet me @LiamTCrowley!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to stream on Disney+ beginning on March 19, 2021.