The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
The series is set six months after the film Avengers: Endgame (2019), which depicts Steve Rogers bequeathing his shield and the mantle of Captain America to Wilson. Feige said this was intended to be a “classic passing of the torch from one hero to another”, but when Marvel Studios got the opportunity to make television series for Disney+ they decided to expand this into an entire story about Wilson, who is a Black man, becoming Captain America. Skogland called the series “a story about the first Black Captain America”. Mackie was hesitant about the series because he felt it would not be able to match the quality of the MCU films, and he did not want a Black actor to be the lead of Marvel’s first failure, but he was won over by Spellman’s writing. Mackie said the series would explore Wilson’s backstory and treat him as a “regular guy” in a world of superheroes, while “walk[ing] the line of who is going to take up the [Captain America] shield” after Endgame. He felt that there was a specific “brand of person” that was expected of Captain America, and part of Wilson questioning the mantle came from knowing as a Black man that “you can’t be the same person in every room you walk in because every person you meet expects a different person”. Spellman felt the series was “a nice progression” from the themes of racial identity that were presented in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther (2018), and was hopeful that the series would have a positive impact on Black youth like that film did. He noted that in addition to himself and Moore, over half of the series’ writing staff was also Black which reinforced the series’ portrayal of Wilson as a “decidedly Black character”. Mackie said he was picking up the mantle left by Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died in August 2020. Stan explained that Barnes feels protective of Rogers’ legacy, and wants Wilson to become Captain America since he was Rogers’ choice. The doubt that Wilson has about taking on the role becomes a conflict for Barnes. Regarding Wilson’s progression in the series from being reluctant to wield the shield to ultimately using it, Skogland indicated that he needed “to engage in both a public and private conversation of what it means for a Black man to pick up such an iconic historically White symbol” which would help him define what it means to be a hero in modern society versus when Rogers became Captain America in the 1940s. Skogland also believed this was an important progression for the viewers to have along with Wilson since “the shield means different things to different people” and all aspects of it as a symbol needed to be explored.
Derek Kolstad joined the series’ writing team in July 2019, and said he would be bringing “a wink and a nod” to the style of world building and character development from his film franchise John Wick. Feige said the series would be more of a reflection of the real world than previous MCU projects, with composer Henry Jackman saying the series deals with “less comfortable… weighty issues” such as what kind of person should hold the shield and how a Black man would feel about being Captain America. Skogland added that other topical, “hard-to-talk about issues” that the series explores include ideas of patriotism and extremism, asking the questions: “Who is an American, and who gets to decide what principles the country stands for? What compels people to take extreme actions in the name of what they believe is patriotism?” Skogland noted that Captain America has always been used to explore political ideas, since the character’s first comic book in 1941 where he was depicted punching Adolf Hitler. Stan said viewers would be able to compare events in the series to the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, though this was unintentional since the series was written before that event.
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