How The Falcon and The Winter Soldier fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe ahead of Disney+ release

THE FALCON and The Winter Soldier is the latest film in the Marvel series that fans just can't get enough of.

But how exactly does the superhero film, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The new series is set to hit Disney Plus on Friday and for those who binge-watched the recent offering of WandaVision, it comes at just the right time to fill a viewing void.

Despite their previous differences, Falcon (Mackie) and Winter Soldier (Stan) will team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities and their patience.

How does the story fit into the MCU?

The series is part of the second release of Phase Four of the MCU.

Phase Four previously kicked off on Disney Plus with WandaVision starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.

Other titles set to be released include Loki and the film Black Widow.

In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the action takes place after the Avengers finale Endgame – specifically, six months later.

The last fans saw, Steve Rogers was retiring from his duties as Captain America and passed his shield on to Falcon, with the Winter Soldier looking on.

The events in WandaVision take place three weeks after Avengers Endgame, so The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is five months after the drama depicted in that scenario.

What's the Falcon's story?

Mackie stars as Sam Wilson, who because of his specially designed mechanical wings, takes on the name the Falcon.

Sam first meets Steve Rogers in Captain America: Winter Soldier and they quickly become friends while out training in Washington DC.

And Steve later reaches out to the former US Air Force pararescueman when he and Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) are on the run from Hydra.

Sam later takes his spot as a member of the Avengers – always at Captain America's side.

He has a cameo in Ant-Man, as well as appearances in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

And what role does the Winter Soldier play?

The Winter Soldier is actually the best friend of Steve Rodgers from way back in the day.

Before he was corrupted, he was known as Bucky Barnes and made his debut in the first Captain America film in 2011.

Pals with Steve before he was injected with the legendary serum, during WWII Bucky was enlisted in the 107rth division of the army as a sergeant.

When his regiment was captured by Hydra, Steve comes to his rescue – unfortunately, only after Hydra scientist Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) has carried out experiments on him.

On the plus side the experiments allow him to survive when he falls from a speeding train while on a mission with Captain America and the Howling Commandos.

Fast forward 70 years and the friends meet again in the 2014 sequel Captain America: Winter Soldier – although Bucky has no memory of Steve and Steve is stunned to see his pal alive.

It's left to Black Widow to explain Bucky is now a deadly assassin with a lethal mechanical arm, under the control of corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).

As the film rolls, Bucky can be seen to be remembering more of his friendship with Steve.

In 2016's Captain America: Civil War he battles against the previous brainwashing and Helmut Zemo's (Daniel Brühl) attempts to use him to tear the Avengers apart from within.

Steve asks the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to help Bucky and they put him in a cryogenic sleep before he later appears in Avengers: Infinity War battling alongside the good guys.

He is one of the heroes to disappear during the Blip before being revived in Avengers: Endgame.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to view on Disney Plus from Friday March 19.

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