Why ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Is So Pointed About Race, Nationalism and the World Today

I think this is going to be an extremely relevant show in a lot of ways, and that is not by accident. The magic of embracing diversity in the writers room and having an almost all-Black staff allows you to tap into pop culture.

I mean, Black folk are the masters of it, and when we get a shot, to do what we do, it is universal for everyone because our struggle and our point of view is a concentrated version of the greater human struggle.

So it is yeah, those moments you’re talking about are pointed, and we dig deeper and deeper and deeper as the series progresses. ~ Malcolm Spellman (TFTWS head writer)


SPOILER WARNING: This story discusses major storylines in the first episode of Disney Plus’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

After “WandaVision” debuted in January, many commented that Marvel Studios’ first TV series for Disney Plus felt eerily prescient for the pandemic age, with its heroine avoiding dealing with her grief by creating a world in the image of classic American sitcoms.

On paper, Marvel’s next Disney Plus series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” would seem to take the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to more familiar territory. There are no fantasy alternate realities or otherworldly superpowers. Instead, it focuses on Sam “Falcon” Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky “Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), as they confront the world after returning from the Blip — i.e., when half the world’s population was snapped back into reality at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.”

As viewers of the first episode can see, however, “FAWS” is in many ways just as connected to the world we live in now as “WandaVision.” For one, Sam has to deal with being a Black man who is handed the mantle of Captain America by (a very old) Steve Rogers, at a time when issues of race and representation are at the forefront of a fraught national conversation. And the premiere also makes clear that as the series continues, both Sam and Bucky will have to confront how the Blip put the entire world in turmoil, while a resistant group called the Flag-Smashers tries to bring back a world without nationalist borders. Sound familiar?

As “FAWS” head writer Malcolm Spellman explains to Variety, all of this was very much by design — and became even more so after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the production. Here’s what he had to say.

The title of the show is “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” but Sam and Bucky spend the entire first episode apart. There’s an urge in storytelling to cut to the action as quickly as possible, so why did you want to start with us not having those two characters together?

Kevin [Feige] really wanted to position them with their own storylines, so that we understood, this is going to be these characters’ chance to emerge as fully realized human beings. If you bring them together too quickly, all of a sudden they exist as a duo and not as individuals.

I would like to say I would have also come to that conclusion had Kevin not come to it. But that’s why we did that. We wanted the audience to understand, yes, this is going to be a buddy two-hander, but first, let us introduce you to these people as individuals.

The episode ends with the reveal that the government lied to Sam, and used Steve Rogers’ shield to create a new, white Captain America — after Sam had publicly set that mantle aside. That felt pointed to me…

Oh, it is. [Laughs] I think this is going to be an extremely relevant show in a lot of ways, and that is not by accident. The magic of embracing diversity in the writers room and having an almost all-Black staff allows you to tap into pop culture.

I mean, Black folk are the masters of it, and when we get a shot, to do what we do, it is universal for everyone because our struggle and our point of view is a concentrated version of the greater human struggle. So it is yeah, those moments you’re talking about are pointed, and we dig deeper and deeper and deeper as the series progresses.

Read more>>>


Malcolm Spellman Interview: The Falcon & The Winter Soldier ~ Video via blackfilmandtv

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