WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now.
When Disney first announced the upcoming Falcon & Winter Soldier series coming to their new streaming service Disney+, fans were excited to see the relationship between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes explored beyond the films. There is no end to the amount of Sam/Bucky fanfiction online following their first few meetings in the MCU, so the announced limited series felt like some welcome fan-service.
However, following the climactic finale to Avengers: Endgame, we now know that the team-up series will also be dealing with Sam's new role as Captain America, though the title of the show implies he has yet to fully accept his new role. It's likely the series will be exploring more of Bucky and Sam's relationship and evolution into Captain America (for at least one of them), so today we will be taking a look at 10 storylines we might see adapted for Falcon & Winter Soldier.
10 THE BURDEN OF DREAMS
Following the "Death of Captain America" storyline, Bucky Barnes was actually the best choice for Cap's replacement at the time. He spent a bit of time building up to wielding the shield, which is something that we are likely to see in the upcoming series, whether that build-up comes from Sam or Bucky.
Captain America #31 begins the storyline, which reveals the evil Doctor Faustus' and his involvement in Cap's death, while also digging further into Winter Soldier's own past with mental manipulation. Falcon works alongside Bucky in this storyline to prepare him to be the new Cap, though the series would likely see those roles reversed.
9 CAPTAIN AMERICA OF THE 50S
Doctor Faustus played a large role in a number of Bucky-Cap's stories, including during "The Man Who Bought America." This storyline reintroduced William Burnside, the Captain America of the 50s, a replacement for the frozen Steve Rogers who had a faulty version of the super soldier serum that gave him powers but also created mental instability, which Faustus made worse.
Falcon and Winter Soldier spend much of the storyline tracking down Agent Sharon Carter, another victim of Faustus' brainwashing. This storyline would offer not only a powerful-yet-familiar enemy in the form of an evil Captain America but also the possibility of seeing Emily VanCamp return to the role of Sharon Carter.
8 ALL-NEW RED SKULL
Of course, it wasn't Bucky who was given the shield of Captain America in Endgame, and despite any possible fanservice moments that might see Bucky wielding the shield, or perhaps even donning his own version of the stars-and-stripes, Sam is the chosen one. And the All-New Captain America needs an All-New Red Skull.
In All-New Captain America #3, Sam Wilson is adjusting to his new role as the Sentinel of Liberty when he encounters his old foe Sin, better known as the daughter of the Red Skull. Sin, who was eventually deformed to become the new Red Skull, would make a great villain for Falcon and Winter Soldier, as the next generation collides.
7 US AGENT
Of course, not everyone was happy with Sam Wilson taking on the role of Captain America, especially following his very public battles with a private police force known as the Americops. There was a public campaign that was heavily funded by a corrupt company to force Wilson to give up being Captain America, which could lead to the debut of a new MCU hero.
In Captain America: Sam Wilson #11, former Cap-replacement John Walker returns as the US Agent to try to force Sam to give up the shield. With Steve Rogers out of the MCU's picture, Falcon & Winter Soldier can still pull from a lot of years of history, and US Agent would allow the series to perfectly explore all sides to Sam's evolution into the new Captain America.
While the Falcon & Winter Soldier series seems like the best way to continue the story as it was left in Endgame, it's also possible the series could leave further questions about the next Captain America to be covered later, with the Disney+ series perhaps hoping to explore the characters further.
As Bucky hasn't had much time to explore his new life after Winter Soldier without a battle looming, it's likely Sam and Bucky could be working towards a form of redemption for Bucky, which became a key theme in the most recent Winter Soldier series from Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis that saw Bucky trying to offer others a second chance, starting with a young Hydra assassin named RJ.
5 LONGEST WINTER
Before Bucky had taken on the role of Captain America he was still dealing with some of his past misdeeds as the Winter Soldier in his 2012 solo series from Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice. While the beginnings of the series focused a lot on Bucky and Natasha/Black Widow's relationship both in the past and the present, that's obviously no longer possible.
However, with some key tweaks to include Sam as Bucky deals with some past business of his which includes a similarly enhanced group of assassins known as the Zephyr Squad. Sam and Bucky could keep themselves very busy hunting down other attempts at making a new Winter Soldier, which we've already seen in Captain America: Civil War.
4 TAKE FLIGHT
Of course, if Falcon &Winter Soldier is looking to take the MCU into new territory, they would have to look no further than the most recent Falcon series, which takes place after Steve Rogers has returned and Sam has become the Falcon once again. During the opening storyline, he takes on a new partner named Patriot, who is currently starring in the Marvel Rising animated releases.
This series is also known for bringing the armies of Hell to war against Falcon and the streets of Harlem, which would definitely add a new element to the MCU. The demon Blackheart would attempt to trap Sam in hell, which allowed the series to further explore Sam's history as a hero, something the Disney+ series might be keen on exploring further.
3 MAN ON THE WALL
During Original Sin, it was revealed that comics' original Nick Fury was not only the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a super-spy, but he was also Earth's cosmic protector known as the "Man on the Wall." This premise would lead to a spin-off series called Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier that would take Buck on a wild new direction, alongside Daisy Johnson AKA Quake from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
This is a role Bucky inherits following Fury's transformation into The Unseen, and his time as the Man on the Wall sends Bucky into the farthest reaches of the cosmos to proactively defend Earth from possible threats. This may be a bit much for Disney +, but it does offer the chance to bring Crossbones back to the MCU, even if it's an alien imitation hellbent on killing the Winter Soldier.
It's also entirely possible that Falcon & Winter Soldier could see the formation of some new superhero groups, considering Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that the Disney+ series would have long-reaching ramifications for the future of the MCU.
Bucky has been a member of the Invaders in WWII, and even led his own team of Avengers during the Dark Reign era, but it's his time with the reformed villains-turned-heroes known as the Thunderbolts that could open up a new franchise in the MCU, though we haven't actually seen any of the villains that make up Winter Soldier's team of Thunderbolts in the MCU yet.
1 ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS
Sam Wilson has also been a member of many teams, from his controversial affirmative action hire to the Avengers that he walked out on to his time with the street-level Heroes for Hire. However, it's his time as Captain America when he was a part of the All-New All-Different Avengers that might be used for the series.
While Sam was on the team with Tony Stark's Iron Man, the majority of the other members were untested youths like Ms. Marvel, Nova, and the new Spider-Man, showcasing the Avengers new support for younger legacy heroes. This is an avenue that could be further explored by the Disney+ series and used as a way to bring some fresh blood into the MCU.