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The Real Reason The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Is Only Six Episodes Long

After a longer-than-planned lead time, the next phase of Marvel television is underway. WandaVision, the first Disney+ Marvel show, dropped its first two episodes on January 15, 2021. Since then, the show has been so exciting and so full of Marvel goodness that fans are practically salivating for the next offering. Thankfully, Marvel knows that the thirst for more content is strong, so two weeks after the WandaVision season finale airs on March 5, we'll be treated to the next series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which launches on March 19.

While both shows feature Marvel superhero duos, the series couldn't be more different in every other respect. While WandaVision is a psychological exploration of grief through the lens of the evolving style of American sitcoms, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier is more of a buddy action series with a focus on espionage. WandaVision is telling a story set in a small town that's big in its metaphysical scope, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier seems just big outright based on its trailer — lots of explosions, lots of fighting, and lots of adventure.

And there's one other big difference between the two shows — length. Whereas WandaVision got nine episodes in its first season, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier will make it happen with only 6 — and there's a reason for that.

No expense has been spared for Marvel's new Disney+ shows

At Disney's first TCA, Kevin Feige spoke about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, explaining what makes their combined story worth telling in the first place. "Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are spectacular actors which we felt we had to explore their stories and their backstories, or personal stories, enough as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes," he said. "So it was always the thought we'd like to learn more about both of them. In the little interactions they had with each other in Winter Soldier and Civil War ... as friends of a mutual best friend in Captain America. We thought we'd have a fun dynamic, if we ever had that opportunity, we'd watch a whole show with the two of them and Disney+ gives us that opportunity."

As for the number of episodes, Feige has an explanation for that as well. "Six hours is what we landed on as the best way to tell our story," said Feige. "Six hours, whether it's six episodes, or nine shorter episodes like WandaVision. The shows aren't inexpensive, so the per-episode cost is very high and to get that bar I was talking about."

It's interesting to note that, if WandaVision is nine half-hour episodes and The Falcon & The Winter Soldier is six hour-long episodes, depending on how long each episode actually is, we may wind up with more total runtime in the latter series. Regardless, it's clear Marvel and Disney are sparing no expense with their new run of Disney+ shows. Gotta maintain that MCU quality, after all. VFX don't pay for themselves.

The Falcon & The Winter Soldier begins streaming March 19, 2021.