The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will finally hit Disney+ later this week, on March 19. When initially announced, it was intended to be the first Marvel Studios original series to hit Disney+, but COVID-19 forced the schedule to be reworked significantly.
As suggested by the title, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will follow Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in a new globetrotting adventure that will pit them against villains new and old. It will also explore the legacy of Captain America and the weight of carrying on the mantle, after Steve Rogers passed the iconic shield on to Sam at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
How will ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ be released?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to air weekly, just as WandaVision did before it, confirmed by outlets like Deadline. At six episodes in length, that means the finale should premiere on April 23, two weeks before Black Widow is planned to hit theaters. That is, of course, unless two episodes are released at once, like what was done with WandaVision, but no such plans have been confirmed.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has previously talked about how the company was influenced by the success of LucasFilm’s The Mandalorian, which also airs weekly Disney+. Many industry pundits credit that release strategy with keeping the discourse around certain shows alive for longer, as opposed to releasing every episode at once, which is the standard for every series produced by Netflix.
“We want to feel that same excitement and the Disney marketing team is best in the world (at that),” Feige said at TCA 2021, as reported by Den of Geek. “They certainly showed that they can do that spectacularly on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, and also the fun week-to-week discussion… Sometimes a series drops all at once on streaming services, and Disney I think was very smart to do the week-by-week because that conversation that happens every week between episodes, I think, is very important, and frankly just a lot of fun.”
Marvel plans to stick with weekly releases
While Netflix has doggedly stuck to its all-at-once release paradigm, competitors have found great success with weekly release plans. Shows like The Mandalorian, Watchmen, and WandaVision have dominated pop culture conversations for months, by virtue of playing out over a longer time frame. Netflix shows, by comparison, are lucky if they’re still being talked about after a week.
Marvel has indicated its intention to continue releasing all of its Disney+ shows weekly. After The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the other planned series in 2021 include Loki on June 11, What If…? later in the summer, Hawkeye sometime in the fall, and Ms. Marvel near the end of the year.
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