Just like any Captain America film, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier boasts quite the roster of characters. The streaming series is set to take the Marvel players involved to places they have never been before. 

From the returning leading men to familiar adversaries, the series has enough recognizable names to rope in tenured MCU fans. That said, the show will include a number of new faces, both good and bad.

BALANCING THE BAD GUYS

Pirates, anarchists, and terrorists, oh my!

In an exclusive interview with The Direct, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland discussed the show's extensive rogues' gallery. Unlike past Marvel movies, Skogland noted that audiences get more time to understand where these bad guys are coming from.

“Well, like with anything you have you cherry-pick how much time you’re going to spend with them. I think also villains in general have a big concept behind them. What I do love is that in all of the cases we’re able to spend a little bit more time with them and get to know them and understand them a bit better.”

Skogland then teased that some of the show's adversaries could be non-human.

“So as humans, or not humans as the case may be, whatever, we understand their motives a bit more.”

Getting those intimate moments with antagonists allows them to be more intriguing characters, according to Skogland. The director says the show's antagonists all operate in a grey area.

“That makes for nuanced, and I’d like to say trickier grey zones. No one’s all bad, but no one’s all good. So it’s the exploration of where that takes you.”

Aside from the familiar faces coming back, a number of new characters are set to debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. When it came to dedicating screen time, Skogland says dividing screen time came “organically” and her team was able to find a “sweet spot” that balanced everyone perfectly.

“You know, like with any show you try for all of it, and you also let it organically settle. So, I don’t know if we sat back and said, ‘Oh, we have to have’ or, ‘We need to be with these characters a particular amount of time.’ It’s just you feel that you want to be, you know, I always enjoy the sort of sensibility of, ‘Gee, I wonder what’s going on with that character right now? Ah, let’s go find out!’

“Even as you’re in post-production putting together, there’s sort of an organic, clear process of where you want to be when. In this case, we enjoyed being both Sam and Bucky individually, and together throughout, but we also find it very important to be with our other characters which round out not just the story, but the character stories. So, hopefully we found a sweet spot where everybody gets their due.”

OTHER-WORLDLY ANTAGONISTS?

“Androids, aliens, and wizards. Every time we fight, we have to fight one of the three!”

Combining Skogland's "not human" tease with the above quote from Sam Wilson in a recently released scene, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could very well see some type of otherworldly threat.

Considering how much the MCU has been teasing them, everyone's minds immediately jump to Skrulls. Skrulls have been the subject of the two of Marvel's recent post-credit scenes, and that's no mistake. Marvel is going to great lengths to make sure audiences are familiar with this shape-shifting species, and knowing they could literally pop up anywhere at any time, who's to say they don't show face in this star-spangled series?

Aside from the potential of alien antagonists, Skogland's words about achieving a "sweet spot" between characters' runtimes should only increase the hype. Marvel is no stranger to giant ensemble pieces, but whenever a new director joins the fold, there is always the question of whether they can replicate that illusive Russo Brothers' roster balance. Skogland appears confident in his runtime divide, which is a great sign for the next six weeks.

On top of all that, fans should be especially excited about how these villains operate in a shade of grey.

The best MCU villains are the ones that offer an intimate look at their points of view. Loki just wanted to make his father proud. Thanos wanted to avenge his dead population. Vulture was just trying to put food on his family's table. If The Falcon and the Winter Soldier includes bad guys that lean into understandable motivations, this show's narrative is shaping up to be as strong as ever.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres next Friday, March 19, streaming exclusively on Disney+.