The MCU is already coming in hot with its new venture into long-form storytelling on Disney+, which is currently on a short hiatus after the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered last week. That being said, this series' ending still has fans abuzz both about the content of that sixth short story and what the future of the MCU could hold.
Sam Wilson now has a brand-new Captain America suit as he takes over the mantle of Captain America while Bucky Barnes seems well on his way to atoning for his life as the Winter Soldier and being the man he wants to be. With so much story to tell for these two, there were some intriguing subplots that some fans feel were a bit lost in the shuffle.
According to one of Marvel's top executives, this was an intentional choice, although it has the right intentions behind the decision.
NATE MOORE TALKS THUNDERBOLTS
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore touched on the tease for the MCU's Thunderbolts introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
In the end, Moore said the villain team wasn't considered in any way for the season 1 plot because "there was so much on the table" that needed attention:
"Not because we don't think they're cool because they are, but because we already felt like there was so much on the table in this series that we didn't also then want to introduce a group of characters, or reintroduce people that we've seen in the past, and cloud the story."
In any story, as Moore feels, all the characters introduced have to be serviced in some way no matter how many there are. If the Thunderbolts had held a more prominent place in the story, the team "wouldn't have had time to maybe go home with Sam and Bucky to Louisiana" or expand on more character-based moments through the series:
"The more characters you produce, then you have to service them. And then we wouldn't have had time to maybe go home with Sam and Bucky to Louisiana, or do some of those things. That, on a character level, got us interested in doing this [show] in the first place."
Additionally, the show's head writer, Malcolm Spellman, wouldn't count the Thunderbolts completely out of the MCU's future. Even with as tight-lipped as he's been about what's coming, he admited that "there seems to be a lot of chatter around" the chances that this team comes to life:
"I don't know. I just know there seems to be a lot of chatter around that. I don't know if fans are crazy or not."
Marvel Studios has a way of laying out teases for characters from the comics. Sometimes, heroes and villains don't come until years or full movie phases down the road. A prime example of this is the end of The Avengers in 2012 when Thanos appeared for less than ten seconds in a mid-credits scene before playing nearly the leading role in his own movie six years later.
In this case, the Thunderbolts isn't just one villain but an entire team of them. Additionally, only a few members of a potential MCU Thunderbolts team have been established in the MCU. This includes Helmut Zemo, Ghost, and U.S. Agent. They could even be joined by people like Norman Osborn or Taskmaster depending on what happens in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Black Widow respectively.
As for their tease in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it makes sense that Marvel Studios held off on the Thunderbolts to make sure they get the care and treatment they deserve upon their true arrival. The team behind the MCU always has a plan when it comes to debuts like this, and whenever this team does arrive, fans can be assured that it will be as epic as it's expected to be.
All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are available to stream on Disney+.