The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere on Disney+ tomorrow, and there have been plenty of interviews with cast and crew leading up to the show's launch.
In addition to continuing the journeys of Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes in the MCU after Avengers: Endgame , the series is set to deal with some heavy topics that have parallels with various real-world events.
THE WORLD AFTER THE BLIP
Malcom Spellman, head writer on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , recently spoke with Deadline about the upcoming series. When asked about how the pandemic-forced break in shooting may have changed the series, Spellman explained why the Blip (the MCU's name for when everyone on Earth came back after being dusted for five years) felt like an appropriate event to form the plot around:
"I’ll say one of the things I’m most proud of with this project is how prescient it was before all this stuff. I dream of the day when Kevin (Feige) talks about the versions of this series that did not go forward because you would think we had a crystal ball, and that’s one of the things I think that happens when you let people of color be involved with the creative process is we have a pretty unique grasp on society and culture. When we came together and picked the Blip as the primary source of conflict, meaning this whole series is defined by villains who are responding to the Blip and the people in the world who are responding to what’s happening in the Blip. We did that because we already knew that that chaos in the Blip felt like the anarchy that we were just feeling in general in the world at the time.
Spellman explained that the pandemic allowed the show's creative team to "draw even more connectivity between the MCU and the current world we live in:"
"So, when COVID hit and we got shut down, we were able to actually, with a very light hand, draw even more connectivity between the MCU and the current world we live in. But I think it’s a testament to our creative team how close we were to it from the beginning, from the first time we ever sat down."
Spellman was also asked if the show would explore the aftermath of Stark Industries after Tony Stark's sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame , and whether Pepper Potts was still in charge of the company. He replied "This particular series is so tangled into just the aftermath of The Blip. We don’t get there in it."
THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE VERSUS THE REAL ONE
Marvel Studios is no stranger to incorporating social and political themes into its projects. The Russo brothers recently admitted that the MCU films they directed were intended to " be influential in helping people make potentially better decisions." The scenes taking place during The Blip in Endgame also ended up having some unintentional parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic which began a little under a year after the movie was released, and of course, Black Panther has some very resonant messages, particularly for those who are members of the Black community.
It's no surprise that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is following in the footsteps of these projects, especially since Captain America - and by extension, the character's iconic shield - has always been involved in telling politically-charged stories since his inception during World War II. The decision to focus the series on the aftermath of the Blip seems to have been a prime way to be able to include these kinds of topics in the project in a modern-day context.
As for Stark Industries, its lack of presence in the series comes as no real surprise. Sam and Bucky have both been much more entangled in Steve Rogers' story than Tony Stark's, and other upcoming projects like Armor Wars and Ironheart seem more suited to follow-up on these matters than TF&TWS .
It's worth noting for fans wondering if Pepper Potts is still running the company (Tony made her CEO back in Iron Man 2 , but the topic hasn't come up much since then) that it is very likely the case; hers is the signature on the Stark Industries check donated to Aunt May's cause in Spider-Man: Far From Home , which takes place after TF&TWS , so she probably is still CEO at this point in the MCU.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 's first episode will become available to stream on Disney+ March 19.