The highly anticipated finale of Marvel’s action-packed series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has landed. The sixth episode, “One World, One People,” depicted Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes’ final showdown with the Flag Smashers in New York City and the subsequent after effects of that, along with some other odds and ends.
As promised, the finale did indeed pack a punch with moments like Sam’s Captain America suit reveal, his speech to the GRC and the world, closure for Isaiah Bradley, and the final note that seemingly confirmed that Sam and Bucky were finally ready to be friends. There were also other mic drops, like Zemo’s last laugh, John Walker’s new mantle, and the reveal of the identity of the Power Broker. When it all comes down to it, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was an epic series from start to finish (stay tuned for our review!), and a true accomplishment for Marvel Studios. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t admit that there were some things that we felt were missing when all was said and done.
1. The Thunderbolts
Listen, you can’t tell me that it was all just a cute coincidence that Helmut Zemo ended up on the Raft of all places. We laid out exactly why all signs were pointing toward the introduction of this team from the comics last week, which would have been the perfect end credits scene for the finale. After his remarkable comeback to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s hard to believe that Marvel would squander the opportunity to further utilize Daniel Brühl’s captivating (and now reaching fan favorite status!) portrayal of Baron Zemo. He can clearly command scenes with ease and thus lead a show (and a team) on this level. And furthermore, as we look toward Phase 4 and beyond, the pressure is on for Marvel Studios to continue introducing engaging new characters and teams from the comics to carry on the legacy of the MCU. The Thunderbolts would undoubtedly be the perfect addition to that roster.
2. Joaquín Torres, the next Falcon
As soon as the first episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier premiered, fans were quick to dive into excited chatter about the introduction of Danny Ramirez’s Air Force lieutenant Joaquín Torres. The character first appeared in Sam Wilson’s Captain America comic series, in which he was turned into a falcon/human hybrid. He then went on to step into the role of Sam’s sidekick as the new Falcon. Granted, we all knew that chances were slim to none that Joaquín would be sporting feathered wings anytime soon. But with Sam on the precipice of becoming Captain America, the fact that he was introduced to the MCU had to be deliberate, right? And then in episode 5, Sam went as far as giving his old, broken wings to Joaquín after Walker destroyed them. Was it too much to ask for him to come swooping in to lend at hand during the battle in New York City with the newly repaired wings? Maybe. But you can’t deny the fact that that would have been quite the epic scene. Ramirez has been a wonderful addition to the MCU, and this would have been the perfect time to at least further confirm the intentions for his future. For now, we’ll be crossing our fingers.
3. Steve Rogers, anyone?
So, how about that lack of closure for Steve Rogers? Despite the fact that the concept of the series was born from the existence of Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier never explicitly confirmed his fate. Ahead of the finale, we questioned if perhaps the show glossed over his death and then subsequently broke down the various bits of evidence as to what the real truth may be. However, the answer unfortunately never came before the credits rolled on “One World, One People.”
4. What’s Next for Bucky Barnes?
Whereas for Sam Wilson, the series was about his transition to becoming Captain America, for Bucky Barnes, it was very much about his mental healing process. The scope of the series, spread out over six episodes, allowed Marvel to finally dig deep into his trauma. An MCU film would have never had the time to do this, so we’re thankful to have been able to watch Bucky work his way through it, and to have been given scenes like the emotional moment that he realized Wakanda’s Winter Soldier deprogramming truly worked.
In the finale, Bucky not only finally admitted the truth to Yori, but he also proudly returned his completed book of amends to Dr. Raynor. And he even went to spend some time back in Louisiana with Sam and his family. However, the show also made it very clear that his past as the Winter Soldier is still haunting him in his nightmares. Although Bucky retains his title as the Winter Soldier in the comics, the series almost seemed to hint that perhaps shedding that mantle and becoming the White Wolf would be another big step in his healing process. And it would have felt fitting and poetic to see both he and Sam take on new mantles together. So we know that Sam is now truly Captain America — and we’re damn proud — but what’s next for Bucky Barnes?
5. Solid Confirmation of Season 2 or a Film
Yes, that switch to the new title card in the credits — Captain America and The Winter Soldier — was a great touch. It served as a final visual nod that Sam Wilson finally accepted Steve Rogers’ shield and embraced the mantle of Captain America. However, it’s also very ambiguous. It could be a nod to a title for a second season or an upcoming film, or it could simply be nothing more than a neat detail to tie off the show. There’s been endless speculation about what’s next for these characters, and clearly there are still quite a few more stories to tell with the various players on the board, so we can only hope that Marvel Studios will drop some real news sooner or later.
On the bright side, when it comes to the future of the MCU — especially considering the success of the first two Disney+ shows — it appears that the sky’s the limit. There’s still time to return to these various questions and loose ends, so for now … we’ll be here waiting.
All six episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Make sure to follow along with all of our coverage on the series, and check out our recent interview with series composer Henry Jackman here.