Before pandemic precautions shook up Marvel's entire Phase 4 schedule, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was rumored to kick off the MCU's Disney+ expansion. Initially slated for an August 2020 release date, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan's solo series would've preceded other streaming shows like WandaVision, Loki, and What If..?.

When COVID-19 forced the star-spangled series to halt production, WandaVision was bumped up ahead of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, officially making the sinister sitcom the first project of Phase 4.

With high praise from fans and critics alike, WandaVision set a gold standard for future Marvel television projects to live up to.

WANDAVISION PRESSURE?

In an exclusive interview with The Direct, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland discussed having to follow WandaVision just two weeks after that show wrapped up.

While Skogland hopes to garner similar praise to Phase 4's debut project, she emphasized that the two shows have “very different” narratives at play.

"Oh well, listen, I hope we come close to what they accomplished. It's fantastic. So, I mean, I don't know if I feel the pressure so much. We're very different stories, of course, and very different characters. Let's hope we keep the train rolling."

AIN'T NO PARTY LIKE AN MCU PARTY

Just two weeks after WandaVision re-introduced viewers to the MCU, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will continue the Phase 4 momentum into late April.

While The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has a tall order in living up to the quality WandaVision set, the TFATWS has the luxury of being a very different chronicle.

The MCU has more or less put the superhero genre to rest. Since Phase 2, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been telling distinct stories from a variety of genres that just so happen to include superheroes. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller. Ant-Man was a heist movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was a space opera. 

Considering their proximity in release, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will undoubtedly be compared to WandaVision. That said, everything shown from promotional material paints this patriotic program to be high-energy, "mini-movie" action that repeats similar espionage beats from the Captain America franchise, with very little parallels to Elizabeth Olsen's series.

Both shows operate inside the MCU, but something indicates that Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan won't be recreating Family Matters anytime soon.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuts next Friday, March 19, streaming exclusively on Disney+.