The last two months saw WandaVision come out of nowhere and become one of the most talked about shows across the internet. One of the more frequent questions I saw from people was “What do I need to watch in order to watch this?” The Marvel Cinematic Universe is made up of over 20 movies across 13 years; it’s understandable that some folks are going to need a guide. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to break down everything you need to watch so you’re fully prepared when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier drops this Friday.
The Captain America Trilogy (Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War)
Honestly, you could watch just these three movies and have a pretty good understanding of who Sam Wilson, a.k.a Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes a.k.a The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), are. Honestly, if you’re just going for efficiency, you could skip The First Avenger, as The Winter Soldier does a solid job recapping Bucky’s origin and introducing Sam into the mix.
Civil War seems to be the most pivotal movie to watch before Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as the show carries over the film’s villain, and the foundation of the titular characters’ relationship is built here. If you only have time in your week to watch one of these, Civil War is probably your best bet in terms of set-up, though I strongly recommend watching The Winter Soldier as it is high-key one of the best action movies made by a major studio in the last decade.
These movies are essential to understanding the new status quo Sam and Bucky are going to be navigating through their upcoming series. If you’re new-new to the MCU, I’d suggest watching the first two Avengers movies just for context, but if you don’t have time like that I’ll try and break down what exactly led up to these two.
So, there’s these things called the infinity stones, and if one being manages to collect all six stones they’re granted the power to reshape reality at will. Across many of the post-credits scenes of the Marvel movies leading up to these two, we follow a big, purple, nasty son-of-a-bitch named Thanos as he journeys to collect these stones in order to do some bad guy shit.
Infinity War and Endgame are the culmination of the first decade of storytelling in the MCU and follow the consequences that arise from Thanos’ quest to acquire the stones. While neither movie goes deep into expanding Sam and Bucky as characters, they do provide the context for the world the characters find themselves facing in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Look, I know a good chunk of y’all are grown-ass adults with jobs, partners, and possibly even kids. Watching five movies to gain context for one show is a heavy ask, and one you simply may not have the time to do.
Luckily, Marvel Legends on Disney+ is a show made just for you. The episodes are only five to seven minutes long, with each episode being made up of clips that provide context for the story of each hero so far. The heroes spotlighted so far have all been characters in the upcoming TV shows, so if you still wish to watch WandaVision, the first two episodes will give you a primer on both Wanda Maximoff and Vision. The most recent episodes center around Falcon, Winter Soldier, and the villain Zemo. They do a pretty solid job breaking down their history and what their journey so far has been.
I know a lot of folks were feeling a little left out of the discourse and memes that seemed to pop-off every Friday when a new episode of WandaVision dropped. I hope this guide helps you get prepared so that you too can get those memes off when Falcon and the Winter Soldier drops this Friday.