How will The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fit into Marvel’s Phase 4?

Disney is spending just as much on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as on any Marvel movie. And that’s good, because it could be crucial to the MCU’s future.

It’s been a while since Marvel fans had a new blockbuster film to enjoy, but they’ll be getting their fair share of content this year in the form of Disney+ series, including WandaVisionLokiHawkeye and Ms. Marvel. Among the shows scheduled to debut on the streamer in 2021 is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will arguably be one of the most important installments in the franchise’s Phase 4. After all, someone’s gotta take up the mantle of Captain American now that Steve Rogers is retired, and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) seem up to the task:

But is Marvel committing to these series as hard as it commits to the MCU movies? If you listen to actor George St-Pierre, who plays the villain Batroc the Leaper in the series, most definitely. “It’s a huge budget,” he told Inspired Traveler. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve done in my life. It’s really big.”

Disney is putting a lot of time and effort into Disney+, so it’s no surprise that it’s going all out on this first wave of Marvel shows. “I am very proud of the job I have done on the show,” St-Pierre added. “I can’t wait for people to see the result of my work.”

And a lot of these shows have another job: setting up the next generation of Avengers now that the older characters are getting on. Hawkeye will introduce Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Ms. Marvel has Ms. Marvel, and recent leaks suggest that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could introduce viewers to comic character Elijah “Eli” Bradley, known as the superhero Patriot. It looks like Marvel is laying the groundwork for a Young Avengers, either as a one-off or as a way to replace yet more outgoing legacy heroes.

With that in mind, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could actually have just as much — if not more — impact on Phase 4 of the MCU than any of the blockbuster films planned for the next few years. If that doesn’t get fans excited for this upcoming series, I don’t know what will.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on Disney+ on March 19.

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h/t Digital Spy