Warning - This article contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe intertwines hundreds of characters in one connected franchise.
While references to off-screen heroes and familiar locations have become commonplace, so have nods towards the MCU's history. From casual drops of "New York" when alluding to 2012's The Avengers climatic battle to Sokovia directly influencing Captain America: Civil War's conflict, the MCU's on-screen events have become immortalized within the cinematic universe's world history.
INFINITY WAR IS NOW MCU WORLD HISTORY
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier promises to be a global adventure, and it begins by referencing worldwide events of Marvel's past.
Sam Wilson and James Rhodes walk through the Smithsonian's Captain America exhibit, passing a number of relics from Steve Rogers's past. Among the war posters and star-spangled suits are informational panels educating visitors about Cap's history.
One of those panels is titled "OUT OF HIDING - NEW YORK UNDER ATTACK," summarizing Cap's post-Civil War experience:
"For the first time, Captain America operated outside of the confines of a governing body. Rogers' new team consisting of fellow former Avengers, including Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, and Sam Wilson, was forced to operate off the grid and live a new life as fugitives after aiding the accused Barnes. With some ties to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the intelligence community still intact, the team still worked to aid in the protection of Earth and its citizens. After two years of operating outside of the law, a new threat from above brought Steve Rogers and his team out of hiding to once again join the fight. New York was under attack and, much like the events of 2012 that led to the forming of the Avengers, the threat was from another world. While the causalities, destruction, and impact of this event seemed to leave much less of an impression as a whole, it wasn't until a short time later that the true extent of the damage was suffered."
WHERE WE WERE, WHERE WE'RE GOING
There's something really cool about how the MCU integrates its on-screen events into world history.
It's a familiar feeling. Knowing how social studies classes operate and how museums inform, taking the fictional events of Civil War and Infinity War and integrating them into the MCU's history alongside real-world historic events like World War II makes the cinematic universe feel all the more authentic.
As for what this panel reveals, it's noteworthy that Wanda Maximoff is listed among Steve's team. Considering Cap, Sam, and Natasha came to her and Vision's defense almost immediately in Infinity War, it makes sense that she was living among them during the two years they spent on the run. That said, Wanda Maximoff seemed to be living a more private life with Viz while Cap's squad felt like they were more active in the crime-fighting side.
Beyond that, this panel contextualizes how the world sees Captain America in a post-Endgame world. While he was very much a fugitive between Civil War and Infinity War, Steve's reasons for "criminal activity" are understood and empathized by the public. He may have been a war criminal for a couple of years, but this exhibit emphasizes that he will be remembered as a hero.
Towards the end of the panel, it describes Infinity War's events as less destructive than 2012's attack of New York. This intriguingly contextualizes how the world saw the events of Infinity War. Thinking back to it, the only real public destruction came when Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian led an assault near Central Park. The battles on Wakanda and Titan would have been less recognized as both of those fights took place in private locations. Knowing that it took the world a couple of days to comprehend what Thanos did is somewhat chilling.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's premiere episode is streaming exclusively on Disney+.