After months of delays and uncertainty, we now know a bit more about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Marvel President Kevin Feige unveiled the show's debut trailer at Disney Investor Day, which was stacked with not just action-packed footage, but an official release date too. The sub-two minute teaser stuffed a ton of enticing content into a short amount of time. From brief plot hints to subtle nostalgia nods, this show's first footage left us with a lot to digest.
Without further adieu, let's break it all down. Here are 13 things from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer — including Easter eggs and hidden references — that you (probably) missed.
Captain America: The First Avenger Nods
The opening frame sees a suit and tied Sam Wilson visiting what appears to be a Captain America museum. Some have speculated that the display is actually a memorial, considering Sam's formal attire, but the well-lit pageantry of the set-up leads me to believe it's more of a memorabilia gallery.
Included among the trinket's from Cap's past are numerous newspaper headlines that directly reference moments from Captain America: The First Avenger.
As Sam ponders the Cap museum, his narration echoes over his movements.
“The legacy of that shield is... complicated.”
While the line may just seem like Falcon being reluctant to fill Steve Rogers's massive shoes, there are actually deeper implications to his words. Sam might be referencing Isaiah Bradley, Carl Lumbly's rumored character for the show. In the comics, Bradley was one of over 300 forcibly recruited African-American test subjects for another round of Super Soldier serum.
As the only subject to survive, Bradley was tasked with carrying out Super Soldier missions, where he was eventually captured donning a stolen Captain America suit and shield. After being rescued, he spent 17 years in solitary confinement, due to the U.S. government accusing him of going AWOL and impersonating their precious Star-Spangled hero.
If Sam is referencing a complicated legacy, it likely surrounds the treatment of a former African-American Captain America. Considering Bradley has yet to be mentioned in the MCU, it's possible that Sam discovers his hidden history when researching Cap in that museum. Based on Bucky's pained expression after Sam drops the 'complicated' line, it's also possible the Winter Soldier himself was aware of Bradley's existence.
From there, we get quick glimpses of Sam and Bucky embarking on a mission in a brightly-lit city. The duo is joined by numerous black SUVs and men in SWAT gear. Not long after, an explosion erupts, and a familiar face masks herself with a noteworthy emblem.
This mystery character is played by Erin Kellyman, an actress rumored to be involved in the show for since May. Kellyman's black mask contains a red hand print, the logo of the villainous group, the Flag Smashers. In the comics, Flag Smasher is the name of a singular Captain America adversary, but this series seems to be adapting that character as a group.
As Kellyman smiles at her group's explosive acts, Bucky narrates that the world is "upside down." This could be referencing the Flag Smashers and other antagonists' taking crime to a fever pitch in Captain America's absence. Later in the trailer, we see Bucky shooting a pistol near some charred cargo crates, which looks to be the wreckage Kellyman and the Flag Smashers caused here.
An Expert Assassin... and a Therapist?
Following shots see Sam and Bucky on a boat donning civilian attire. A dock is shown attached to what looks like the same house Sam is training at, which likely puts these boat scenes at the same location. Sam lifts a briefcase into frame, but we never see it open.
During all of this, Bucky is telling Sam that people need “something to get behind.” While it is unclear why Bucky is giving Sam this speech, I believe it is added motivation for Falcon to take on the Captain America mantle. When Sam is passed the shield in Avengers: Endgame, he notes that it feels like it belongs to someone else. Just because he was asked to assume the mantle, it doesn't mean that he wants to.
If Bucky feels the need to inspire Sam by telling him people need someone to rally around again, it is likely because Sam is having second thoughts about taking on the shield. Beyond that, it is entirely possible that the government has already found their new Captain America, but more on that later.
Hints at Wolverine?
As a black car approaches a well-lit tunnel, it is surrounded by a gang of at least six bikers. We know from set photos that a biker gang is set to play some sort of role in this series, and while we can't tell who this trailer's motorcycle riders are, it's safe to assume they are the same group from earlier reports.
Set photos showed a biker gang donning the symbol of Ogun, who in the comics is a martial arts master and an antagonist of Wolverine. Other set photos revealed what appears to be Madripoor, a fictional island heavily linked to the metal-clawed mutant on the page.
There is no telling how this biker gang will factor into the series, but based on how they circled that black car, it is safe to assume they mean trouble. Madripoor and Ogun are far from confirmation that Wolverine will make his MCU debut in this series, but it does indicate that Marvel is planting the seeds for Weapon X's eventual entrance.
Red Wing Returns
In a blink and you'll miss it frame, Falcon swoops out of a warehouse behind a running man, unclear whether he is following or chasing the mystery figure. A blurry splotch flies down towards Falcon before attaching itself to the back of his wings.
This blurry dot is Red Wing, Falcon's automated drone first introduced in the opening act of Captain America: Civil War. Sam usually uses the drone to scout out locations ahead of time, so it's possible that this warehouse was home to some sort of villainous gathering before it emptied.
Zemo Visits Sokovian Memorial
Daniel Brühl's Zemo will be receiving a wardrobe update in this series, but it looks like his Age of Ultron grief remains the same.
Here, Zemo visits a monument memorial of a family of four, which is surrounded by flowers and Sokovian flags. It is unclear where this memorial is, but given the rocky nature of its surroundings, it is entirely plausible that it is in Sokovia itself (or what's left of it).
In the following frame, Zemo is confronted by the Winter Soldier, who empties a handful of bullets in front of the antagonist.
Reports have circulated that we could see Zemo team up with our titular heroes, so it's possible Bucky confronting him here is his way of extending an olive branch to the man that framed him for the United Nations bombing.
US Agent Introduction Ceremony
While details on the character are scarce, the US Agent is one of my most anticipated characters to be introduced in Phase 4. From what we know about Wyatt Russell's John Walker, he will be the government-appointed Captain America, despite having a vicious mean streak.
This is an overhead shot of the frame we got in that brief Super Bowl ad back in February. Wait a minute, that was THIS YEAR?
We see a red, white, and blue marching band welcoming Russell's US Agent to the stage, located on a high school football field. The stands roar as Walker high-fives an enthusiastic marching band member, elated to welcome in their new Captain America.
Based on the pageantry of this whole set-up, I believe this is the public's introduction to their new Star-Spangled Man, hand-picked by those pulling the strings behind the scenes. It's no coincidence that this shot coincides with Bucky's narration that the people “need a symbol.” Considering Bucky's previous line about people needing something to get behind showed an image of Falcon, this is Marvel's way of subtly setting up both Falcon and US Agent as the leading candidates to fulfill Steve Rogers's shoes.
Cargo Truck Confrontation
The most important frame of this trailer comes and goes in under a second.
This shot is set up to be Kellyman's Flag Smasher member going toe-to-toe with Falcon on top of a cargo truck. After two establishing shots of the aforementioned characters, we get a wide view of the cargo trucks as they pass by trees. Blink and you'll miss it, but also on top of those two cargo trucks is US Agent, the Winter Soldier, and at least two other mystery characters.
One of those unclear characters could be Zemo. Their silhouette resembles a fur-collared trench coat, which is what Zemo is wearing during his memorial visit earlier in the trailer.
Did I mention the swinging character from the helicopter?
That is likely Kellyman or another Flag Smasher getting away, but it is unclear exactly who's doing their best Spider-Man impression from that chopper. Due to the sheer magnitude of important characters gathered on these trucks, mark this frame down as part of a pivotal scene in the series.
Bucky Trains Sam
Mark down Wilson and Barnes as the best Marvel bromance of 2021.
In this throwaway frame, Sam and Bucky dap up by the same house we saw Falcon tossing that shield around in the Super Bowl TV spot. The background trees are encased with padding, making it feel like this is where Bucky teaches Sam some Super Soldier tricks.
Falcon vs. Flag Smasher
Falcon faces off against Kellyman's Flag Smasher here in hand-to-hand combat. This fight takes place in a daylight-filled arched area, which is presumably from Prague. Even though she has only appeared for a few brief frames, Kellyman's involvement in numerous action-packed scenes make it even more likely that her antagonistic role will be much more prominent than just being a faceless gang member.
Fly Falcon Fly
In the trailer's crown jewel, we get an absolutely gorgeous shot of Falcon's wings in full effect.
Sam Wilson exits the plane without telling Bucky his plan (a callback to Cap's “was he wearing a parachute?” jump from Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and proceeds to swiftly and smoothly evade missile strikes from attacking helicopters. These choppers are likely the same ones that appear in the cargo truck scene, and if that chopper is indeed rescuing Kellyman there, it is safe to assume these helicopters belong to the Flag Smashers.
For a group of reckless terrorists, these guys definitely have a budget.
“I Hate You”
What's a bromance without the occasional ribbing?
Marvel executes their trademark comedic tag at the end of this trailer, which sees Falcon questioning what's going on in the Winter Soldier's cyborg brain. When Sam continues to question after being shut down numerous times, Bucky bluntly responds, “I hate you.”
At this point in the MCU, every line holds importance, and this is no different. Buck's sarcastic reply is a direct call back to 2016's Captain America: Civil War, where the Winter Soldier complained that Falcon should've set Spidey flying earlier, and Sam offered the same disdainful response.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's debut trailer laid the groundwork for a ton of fan speculation on where the series will go. All the above theories are nothing more than contextual-based predictions, and there's no telling which will turn out to be true.
What did we miss from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's debut trailer? What are your wildest theories? Let us know below, or tweet me @LiamTCrowley!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to stream on Disney+ beginning on March 19, 2021.