Fans may have missed this heartbreaking detail in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s season opener.
The six-part series – which debuted its first episode last week – takes place in the immediate aftermath of Captain America’s last stand in Avengers: Endgame.
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan star as the respective heroes of the title. Both characters were best friends of Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) in different time periods – Mackie’s Sam Wilson was chosen as his successor in Endgame, and Stan’s Bucky Barnes was a Second World War army sergeant turned brainwashed super-soldier.
As with most Marvel productions, if you look closely enough you’ll find a number of Easter eggs connecting one feature to a string of others.
Many viewers were quick to notice that the episode’s opening voice-over, in which Sam tests out Captain America’s shield, was lifted from 2019’s Endgame, but fewer people picked up on one heartbreaking detail that called back to a different interaction the duo previously shared.
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Stan’s Bucky is introduced into the series initially through a flashback, which sees him (as The Winter Soldier) ruthlessly assassinate two people. The episode then shows Bucky waking up from the nightmare/memory sweating and distressed.
In the opening scene of 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Mackie’s Sam and Evans’s Steve open up about their shared post-traumatic stress disorder and specifically how they find it difficult to sleep in a bed after their time in the army.
Sam explains: “When I was over there, I’d sleep on the ground, use rocks for pillows like a caveman,” to which Steve responds that sleeping in a bed now makes him feel as if he is “sink[ing] right to the floor”.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place several years after Bucky’s brainwashing has been ostensibly fixed.
This call-back, however, likely speaks to how Bucky is still haunted by his traumatic memories of the devastating crimes he had committed when acting as a brainwashed super-soldier.
Read more: Avengers: Every Marvel superhero ranked
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The Falcon and the Winter is available to stream on Disney Plus, and will run for six episodes until 23 April.
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