Marvel is deep in the process of bringing top-notch content to add to the MCU in early 2021, starting with WandaVision and continuing immediately with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Both series have been wildly successful with fans watching new episodes the moment they drop on Friday nights, even leading to both shows becoming two of the three most-watched Disney+ premieres in the service's history.
One aspect of the shows for which Marvel is receiving a lot of praise is the movie-quality visuals, which help the stories feel even more directly connected to their big-screen counterparts in the MCU. In addition to the visual effects, the costuming for both series has taken the excitement to another level for fans, first with Wanda's updated outfit and continuing with Sam Wilson's new Captain America suit straight out of Wakanda.
According to the biggest names behind the MCU's sophomore Disney+ show, that suit didn't come without some serious worries...
SAM WILSON'S SUIT UPGRADE
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the cast and crew of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier went into some details on Sam Wilson's new Captain America suit that debuted in Episode 6. Only in terms of the logistics of putting it on, actor Anthony Mackie revealed that the costume has "10 or 12 pieces" that connect together when he puts it on.
Co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout credited Marvel head of visual development Ryan Meinerding for finding "the best version of that suit that paid tribute to the comics" when pulling everything for the new costume together. She also commented on how the team wanted to "make sure that it felt grounded" based on director Kari Skogland's vision, trying their best to "take superheroes and make them people":
"We also wanted to make sure that it felt grounded because that's the sensibility of our director, Kari Skogland, but also just the sensibility of the show in general — to take superheroes and make them people, make them human, put their feet on the ground."
The biggest worry for the costume and VFX departments was the look of Sam Wilson's cowl. The concern, according to Nagelhout, was that the neck-piece was something "that looks great in a comic book drawing," but possibly wouldn't "look so great on a human's head." In the end, "Anthony [Mackie] ended up kind of falling in love with it" due to how comic-accurate it was:
"It's one of those things that looks great in a comic book drawing, but maybe it doesn't look so great on a human's head. It was something that we went back and forth on quite a bit, but our costume department did an amazing job of building it for us. You can test it out, and Anthony ended up kind of falling in love with it, partly because of how true it was to the comic book iteration."
Head writer Malcolm Spellman added that "15,000 man hours" went into making the suit right and "deciding every micro detail of it":
"It for sure started with the [comic] books and then 15,000 man hours go into deciding every micro detail of it. They are beyond attentive to every detail, every shade of color. Just meticulous."
A COMIC-ACCURATE MASTERPIECE
Sam Wilson's new suit was one of the most talked-about moments in Episode 6 after the previous episode teased the hero opening the box from Wakanda without a hint of what was actually in it. The season finale proceeded to have him suited up for over half the episode, showcasing the impressive capabilities of the new wings and thrusters while Sam gave fans a Captain America unlike any seen in the MCU before.
Marvel Studios has gone back and forth between using CGI costumes and dressing their actors on set, and it appears to have been a great decision for the team to take the latter option for Anthony Mackie's leading man. Even having one of the more visually appealing suits throughout his time in the MCU before this series, this Captain America upgrade took the "wow" factor to new levels as he began his run as an Avengers leader.
This suit should see plenty more screen time now that Mackie is confirmed to return to the MCU in the recently announced Captain America 4. It's unknown if he will come back to the franchise before then, but fans can count on Mackie continuing Steve Rogers' legacy for a long time to come.
All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are available to stream on Disney+.