Taking place after the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER reunites Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) over six episodes as the duo take on a ruthless anti-patriotism group, the Flag-Smashers. The new Series continues Marvel‘s foray into Television, hot off the success of WandaVision. These two Series are just the first of least ten in development right now for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU.
The Series in the vein of Buddy Cop Comedies like Rush Hour/Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours, pairs Sam and Bucky together as they cope with PTSD, exploring its emotional repercussion on these characters.
We were fortunate to join the Global Press Conference for THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER today. Speaking today were:
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson Sebastian Stan – Bucky Barnes Kevin Feige – Producer Malcolm Spellman – Writer/Producer Kari Skogland – Director
Interesting Canadian connections, the Series stars Canada’s Emily VanCamp, reprising her role as Sharon Carter, and Director Skogland hails from Ottawa and has been behind the lens on acclaimed Series like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Loudest Voice.
Mackie and Stan are asked about getting an opportunity and more room to explore new sides to their characters on THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER.
Mackie: “It’s always a surprise when the minds get together and the information trickles down to you. When I first read the Script, I was really happy and acknowledged the fact that Sam was from Louisiana, the best state in the union and New Orleans is the best city in the world. I had one request that if he was from Louisiana that he got to eat crawfish on camera. I don’t know who said ‘no’, but somebody said ‘no’. I don’t know if it was because they were out of season, but it was too much to eat crawfish.”.
“The idea of Sam Wilson, he’s always evolved in the world of Marvel Comic Books and now he’s evolved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because if you remember when Sam Wilson first started out, he was a hustler from Harlem and as African-American culture evolved, Stan Lee evolved him in the Comic Book to different incarnations of himself. I’m excited for everyone to see the new and improved Sam Wilson.”.
Stan: “I always learn something about myself from this character. But ten years with this character, it’s impossible not to. You grow and you evolve with the character and I was pretty freaked out. Again, I felt like we had established the character a certain way and there were certain things I knew about him that I was comfortable with tonally in the movies and we had the contrast of going into this now and asking ‘What is he like now?’.”.
“Part of this was us really honing-in on his sense of humour so to speak, into the tone of the Series, particularly with is dynamic with Sam Wilson along with my own dynamic with Anthony – kinda just marrying the two. I think that was scary and exciting and Malcolm (Head Writer/Producer) really honed-in on that. I think we’re really finally zooming-in on his quest for identity in terms of really accepting his past and re-educating himself. The world that he’s in currently, the ideas and principles he might’ve lived by and been driven by at one point, no longer serve him the same way. He’s really an interesting trajectory when we start-out the Show and that’s always exciting for an Actor.”.
Mackie and Stan talk about their working dynamic together.
Mackie: “What I enjoy so much is that you can’t find two people further opposite from each other than Sebastian and I. But there’s a mutual respect, appreciation and understanding. We listen, learn and we teach each other. We’re friends and that’s a term I don’t think either of us would use lightly. I think because of that as Mr. T would say, ‘There’s no jibber-jabber‘. We allow ourselves to be our best selves and correct ourselves when we’re not our best selves. So you always look for that other person, that second hand. And I think that’s kind of our relationship. We allow ourselves to be ourselves.”.
Stan: “I think he said it best. I always believed you were always better because of the people you surround yourself with and I feel particularly in acting, the scenes and material, it’s always about the people that bring out things in you actually. I think in this particular situation it was important because I think about the tone and it was a fine line between making sure these characters were grounded real and deal with very serious issues. There’s sorta another piece to this about having fun, connecting and I always turn to Anthony for guidance in that and it works out.”.
The Series really focuses in on its characters in the aftermath of PTSD.Its stars elaborate on this.
Mackie: “To be able to go back and dive into his back story, his family and his surroundings only betters the character for the audience. We’re in a place now where we want the audience to know and learn these new characters especially since Kevin Feige killed Iron Man! (jokingly) We have to introduce these new characters to the audience and give them that relationship, that history that they’ve built over ten years. We have six episodes to play catch-up, post-Blip. It’s always great to learn more and give more from your character and have it not feel like heavy exposition and just like a good cinematic experience.”.
Stan: “The whole subject of PTSD and the experience they both share as soldiers and men who have served is one of the things that brings them together. There’s a bit of an honour code between and even though they come from different ideas and opinions of things, there’s a mutual respect. As everybody knows, PTSD isn’t something you’re just done with, it’s something that one has to continue to grow with to become better at dealing with. It’s a major part of our Show and grounds both of these characters in very realistic ways.”.
ProducerFeige comments on the possibility of additional seasons to come.
Feige: “It’s one we get asked a lot more in Television because people expect it to be like things they’ve known before. We really did approach it like the Movies in that we better make this great or we won’t be able to make another one! If we were able to make another one, we’ve definitely got ideas. The slight difference is like in Wandavision, they will go back and forth between the Disney+ Series and Marvel Studios movies, so where characters show up and whether it be in Season Two or a Feature, we’re just not going to say who does what right this second.”.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, we see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) pass-on his shield to Falcon (Sam Wilson). Mackie is asked why it is so tough for his character to accept the shield.
Mackie: “Sam Wilson went on this Avengers journey over six movies with Steve Rogers (Captain America) because of his respect and admiration for Steve. He says in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ‘When Captain America shows up at your door, you answer.'”.
“There’s still people out there who appreciate camaraderie and friendship. Sam is one of those people. He enjoys his friend. Just like everyone else, you don’t want to see Steve Rogers go away. Because just like Captain America was your captain, he was Sam Wilson‘s captain. That’s why at the end of Avengers: Endgame, he’s holding Steve‘s shield and says, ‘It feels like someone else’s, it feels like it’s yours’, because he was a fan just like everyone else.”.
“Sam Wilson is just a regular guy who won the lottery just because Black Widow knocked on his door and needed a place to hide. And he fell in love and was hoping to have a spinoff with Black Widow.“. (he jokes again)
The stars are asked about the difference between Stunt Work for TV and Film.
Stan: “It was pretty on-par with the films and actually even more evolved and intense. Definitely for Falcon it feels like the action really intensified, even for Bucky as well. We’re always finding new ways to have them evolve with their action sequences, but it’s totally the same as the movies.”.
Mackie: “The great thing about what we were able to do with this is that nothing was watered-down. The same stunt guys we work with on the films are the same guys who choreographed and did all of our stunts on the Show. Because of that, the stunts are really amazing. Kari (Director) had a great idea of taking weaponry away, so there’s a lot more hand-to-hand combat, it’s more assertive and more utilizing our strengths instead of something else. Because of that, the stunt guys had a field day. Some of the stuff you see is us, but we had amazing Stuntmen go in to kick ass for us.”.
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER is just one of many productions that was impacted by the Pandemic. Director Skogland explains how it worked out for the better even.
Skogland: “The story didn’t really change, though yes, we had to pivot reacting to everything that was happening in the world. What really was exciting was that once we were shut-down through COVID, we just didn’t skip a beat and went right into Post-Production. We were able to continue editing and sharpening the pencil. While the world was changing, we were really able to sharpen our focus. When we went back, we really knew what we were going for and shooting to finalize the Series.”.
This Series will contain many surprises and new characters. Mackie and Stan are asked which characters they are most excited for. Note, Stan fumbles a bit recalling the name of his favourite, which Mackie teases him about, only for Stan to snap-back and reveal that Mackie seen from waist-up only, isn’t even wearing pants.
Stan: “One character I think that sounds really, really cool is Oscar Isaac‘s Moon Knight. I heard that story and thought ‘That’s going to be amazing!’. That’s got my vote.”.
Mackie: “Okay, so you had to bring-up that I wasn’t wearing pants! I would have to say that She-Hulk is an interesting character. Kevin, I’d really like to spend some time in Blade world. I remember they were shooting Spider-Man 2 in Harlem on 25th Street and there was this restaurant where I was sitting outside having lunch with a friend, who was the manager of the restaurant. I was a huge Tobey Maguire fan and I saw Joy Bryant and she had one line and said “It’s Spider-Man!“. And I called my Agent and said, “Damn! I better have one line in one of these movies!”. So Kevin, I want to be the Joy Bryant of She-Hulk or Blade!”.
Head Writer and Producer Spellman is asked about the bigger message to take away from this Series.
Spellman: “I think what worked out really nicely was that where Endgame leaves-off, Thanos has really created a situation where the entire world is dealing with one single issue, which is very familiar to what’s going on today. Everything is born from that. The villains in the Series are responding to that. In fact, every villain in the Series would tell you he/she is a hero. The hero is always responding to that in their personal lives and a story plot is born from one single organic thing in this continuum from what happens after Endgame. That sorta galvanizes and affects everyone on the planet at the same time and creates a nice cohesion and direct lineage to the MCU.”.