The killing of George Floyd by police officers in 2020 sparked an outcry from black communities, who have long suffered from police brutality and discrimination. Floyd's death triggered protests not just in America but across the globe as a conversation about systemic racism was once again brought to the forefront.
On top of this movement, the whole world continues to struggle with an ongoing pandemic that has killed millions and afflicted hundreds of millions more. It has also put a halt to multiple industries, affecting everyday life.
It has been reported that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will help carry forward what has been established culturally with Black Panther and will address a black man, Anthony Macie's Sam Wilson, becoming Captain America. The series is also expected to draw comparisons to the recent pandemic and the state of the MCU during Avengers: Endgame. In a new interview, showrunner Malcolm Spellman talks about how his show will address both.
SAM WILSON'S STRUGGLE WITH SHIELD MIRRORS REALITY
Speaking with SFX Magazine (via GamesRader+), showrunner Malcolm Spellman discussed the real-world influences on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when the show confronts the reality of Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson, a black man, potentially taking up the mantle of Captain America:
“It's funny, because if someone asked me, 'In a million years, could you have ever predicted what was going on?' I'm like, 'Yeah, I’m black.'
Spellman was thankful that he could have producer Nate Moore partner with him on Marvel Studios' second show, as both of them were “uniquely qualified:"
“We are uniquely qualified to diagnose this country and have a sense of where it's going. And Nate [Moore] is black and he's one of [Marvel Studios'] most senior execs, so he was the perfect partner for me.”
In addition to the rising tensions with the police and black communities, the show will unexpectedly have a parallel between the ongoing pandemic and what is now known as “The Blip” in the MCU:
“There's no hiding from the fact that four billion people in the MCU disappeared for five years, and then came back. And our show picks up from there and directly talks about what the world feels like to be in flux and dealing with one global issue.”
The showrunner points out, as most fans have already, that the recent pandemic has created “synergy” for the show, saying that “When the pandemic hits, and the entire planet has to come together and deal with it, the synergy there is perfect.”
Spellman said that the same was true of Sam's situation and the struggles that Black Americans still face today:
“The same thing with the issues of a black man confronting that shield...The stories have been out there. They've been in our face forever. There's no avoiding it, and Marvel doesn't ask you to avoid it. What they do ask you to do is never burden the storytelling. Let the storytelling be energetic and fun and aspirational, and within that, be honest and be truthful.”
A WHOLE FAMILIAR WORLD
It will be sobering to see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier touching on two topics that are still being felt at this very moment. The continuing confrontation of systemic racism in America and the ongoing pandemic both still permeate in everyday life, so it will be interesting to see how the series will grapple with this subject matter.
What should also excite fans is seeing more of the aftermath of “The Blip,” which was only shown briefly in WandaVision to enormous praise from fans and critics. The confusion and panic that stems from an overburdened system, along with the loss of lives, will be close to home for many viewers but potentially also an outlet too.
This show will parallel these two topics in the show, and how close they'll touch on reality will surely help ground the series in reality among its action and snark between leads.