Captain America: Civil War was a big movie--easily the biggest Marvel had done up until that point. It was so big in fact, that if someone said it was an Avengers movie, no one would correct them.
With the plot centering around a massive divide amongst ideologies within the core Avengers team, the film was bound to blossom into a huge event film. Not only did the film have to juggle an entire team of Avengers, but it also had to introduce two new key characters: Black Panther and Spider-Man.
The simple fact that Civil War succeeded in everything it was trying to accomplish is a cinematic feat, one that the Russo Brothers only continued to one-up with their following two Avengers films.
Now while Captain America: Civil War was actively setting up films such as Spider-Man: Homecoming , Black Panther , and Avengers: Infinity War , it also managed to create another project without meaning to.
That project? None other than the upcoming Disney+ show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
WEAVING A WEB
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, head writer and show creator Malcolm Spellman pointed at a very specific scene from Captain America: Civil War as "the moment the show was born." That moment would be none other than the infamous Volkswagen Beetle banter, as Sam and Bucky sat cramped together in the back seat waiting to be taken to the airport.
Another very important scene that led to the conception of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier , as noted by Kevin Feige, is the duo's battle with Spider-Man in the phenomenal airport fight sequence.
"They're so funny...Those are the two moments that we [at Marvel Studios] would watch and go, 'I want to watch that! I want to watch them together more!'"
That quote alone shows that Kevin Feige himself even saw the potential for a show starring Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, just like the audience did when they first saw their scenes.
In talking to Polygon , Malcolm Spellman elaborated on how Sam and Bucky came back together, and if he was involved in the decision.
"Not for this one. I believe this series was ordained by Mr. Feige and all the Marvel fans in that 12-second moment of Captain America: Civil War when Sam and Bucky are sitting in a car together. I think everyone knew they had to have something together from that moment on. And it was just about the right time to bring it to life."
The fact that an entire series spun out of just a few lines of comedic banter from two characters is quite unique. So naturally, Spellman was asked to elaborate.
"In a weird way, I feel guilty. I feel like it’s a cheat code. Because what those guys did in those 12 seconds was so rare, in that you know exactly what it’s going to feel like to have them onscreen. And you know you can lean into it. But as far as actual character work, we did a deep dive.
Spellman then went on to discuss how the show was able to dig deep into the character of Bucky Barnes in a way the movies had not been able to over the years.
"We really processed all the baggage Bucky is carrying around from all those murders, and from being manipulated by HYDRA for decade after decade after decade. We brought that to bear and personified that through one character he’s going to have to deal with, and he’s going to either fail or succeed in absolving his sins through this character. That’s his own personal story that has nothing to do with the A-story. On top of that, we had all his backstory right there for the taking. We knew he’s 106 years old, which is another thing that makes him feel very much like an other."
He continued by talking about Sam, and what the producers felt like his character needed to be dealing with after the fallout of Avengers: Endgame .
"And for Sam, it was pretty obvious to us that his character needed to begin with dealing with the stars and stripes on the shield, in two ways. Number one, the loss of a dear friend, and those huge shoes that anyone who picked up that mantle would need to fill. And then the other thing being as a Black man, is it even appropriate to have that symbol? That symbol means something very different in Sam’s hands than it does in Steve’s. And I think the audience is going to be surprised to see how he responds to it. Because I think a lot of people are thinking, 'Oh, after Endgame , we kind of know what Sam’s gonna do.' And they’re gonna be shocked."
A DEEP DIVE INTO THE TAG TEAM
What's so exciting about all of these Disney+ shows is what the format can bring to the table in terms of the stories that can be told, and how much further can Marvel dive into these characters.
As seen in WandaVision , the show completely focused on two heroes who only truly got a handful of scenes over the course of five years. Yet now, thanks to Phase 4's debut project, Wanda and Vision are as deep of characters as our mainstay Avengers were--maybe even deeper.
So now it's Sam and Bucky's turn to get that sort of attention. Both truly deserve deeper character exploration , as the pair doesn't really have much backstory going for them. All that is truly known about the two Avengers are small bits and pieces that are tangentially related to the story being told for another character/group. In fact, Bucky hardly has any dialogue in the entirety of both Avengers: Infinity War and A vengers: Endgame, despite being around since Captain America: The First Avenger .
It is an insane notion that a show of this scale came into existence because of a line or two of witty banter. The things that can be done with a cinematic universe are astounding, and the fact that the MCU exists as it does is a true feat, one that may never be done to the same scale ever again.
Going forward it will be hard for fans not to overanalyze every bit of banter presented to us. Because who knows? That one line could lead the biggest project of the next phase of the MCU.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins its Disney+ run on Friday, March 19th.