The Falcon and the Winter Soldier got off to a strong start last week with the first of six planned episodes. It had the thrilling, inventive action set-pieces we’ve come to expect from Marvel. But there were also many quieter but no less impactful moments that set up some weighty themes and future plotlines. Most importantly, we got to see what life is like for Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Naturally, we were keen to find out more. Here’s what director Kari Skogland and lead writer Malcolm Spellman told us to expect from the rest of the series.
Captain America’s shield is pivotal
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s first episode saw Sam hand over Cap’s shield to the US Defence Department under the pretence that it would stay in the Smithsonian museum. But in the final scene it’s revealed that the government double-crossed him, lending Steve Rogers’ signature weapon to a new, state-approved Captain America.
“The conversation we’re having from the get go is: what does it mean for a Black man to pick up that shield, and does he want it?” says Skogland. “It means something different to Bucky, and it means something different to Sam and his community. As we go through the story, we will go through all of the opinions of everybody who comes close to that shield.”
The effects of the Blip are still being felt
In WandaVision, we got an emotional look at people returning to reality after five years snapped out of existence. Skogland stayed mum on whether we might learn more about what happened during the Blip, but noted the event will loom large as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier unfolds.
“Because we’re about six months after the Blip, we’re able to embrace some imperialism and elitism,” she says. “We had half the world gone, and then during the Blip people evolved and changed and grieved, or excelled or failed. And then boom, everyone comes back. Now you’ve got this struggle which is really reflective of the politics that have been going on in the last couple of years: some want to turn the clock back, and others want to turn the clock forward, or continue on the path that they’ve started.”
Watch out for this classic comic character
The MCU has borrowed from many Marvel comic books during its 13 year run, often putting its own spin on some popular moments that originated on the page. When it comes to Sam Wilson’s tenure as Captain America there are plenty of panels to pull from, but the comic Spellman mentions doesn’t feature Sam at all.
“The ‘Truth: Red, White & Black’ series is the comic we referenced the most”, he says. “Once everyone in the writers’ room starts chiming in, it becomes its own thing. But you can definitely feel its DNA in the show.”
The ‘Truth’ series is notable for telling the story of Isaiah Bradley. Beginning in 1942, it follows a regiment of African American soldiers who are forced to take part in deadly experiments in order to create the super solider serum which turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. Ultimately, Bradley is the only survivor. It’s a dark but powerful tale that’s well worth seeking out.
Eagle-eyed viewers who were paying attention to the end credits in the first episode would have noticed a glimpse of Carl Lumbly’s face on a slightly redacted document. In February 2020, it was reported that the veteran actor would be joining the series in an undisclosed role, but many immediately speculated that he would be playing Bradley. If this is the case, it will be very interesting to see just how much of that story The Falcon and the Winter Soldier includes.
Season two isn’t confirmed – but there’s hope
With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier becoming the most watched series premiere ever on Disney+, there’s a good chance that someone at Marvel HQ is talking about making another season. Spellman tells us that these aren’t conversations he is involved in just yet, but he wouldn’t be surprised if we see many of these characters again somewhere down the line.
“I don’t think Marvel has ever introduced major characters and just left them alone. In this new phase of the MCU, Wanda, Moon Knight, Sam, and Bucky… all these characters are going to be interchangeable with the movies. So something’s gonna happen.”
‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ is now streaming on Disney+