‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: How Coronavirus Delays Changed the Marvel Disney+ Series

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to be the first Marvel series on Disney+. Unfortunately, they were still filming when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced production to shut down. Fortunately, WandaVision was ready to air in January while they finished Falcon. Director Kari Skogland and producer Kevin Feige discussed the effect the coronavirus had on the series.

Marvel heroes Winter Soldier and Falcon look at each other on a mission
L-R: Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie | Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Coronavirus didn’t change the story of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) after Avengers: Endgame. The conclusion of that journey didn’t change.

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“We started with this story and the story didn’t change,” Skogland said at a Zoom press conference for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. “Yes, we had to pivot and react to what was happening in the world here and there. What really was exciting was once we were shut down through COVID, we didn’t skip a beat and went straight into post-production. We were able to continue editing and sharpening the pencil.”

The pandemic gave ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ more time to perfect the show

Skogland did acknowledge that being in lockdown while editing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier affected the show in broad strokes. The final episodes will benefit from editing the previous ones during lockdown. 

Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ | Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

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“It sort of turned into a weird opportunity that while the world was changing, we were also able to really sharpen our focus,” Skogland said. “So, when we went back, we really knew what we were going for, at that point what we were now shooting to finalize the series. But, it didn’t change anything.  It really just helped us focus, I guess.”

‘WandaVision’ gave Marvel more confidence in their second show

Feige said that switching the order of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did not affect the story of Marvel Phase 4. However, the success of WandaVision eased any doubts they may have had about their other series.

It was really meant to prove — to ourselves to the audience and to Mr. Mackie and Stan — that just because it’s on TV doesn’t mean it’s not going to be as big as it possibly could be as a movie. We were working just as hard on it and putting all of our blood, sweat, and tears into [it] which is why, in this first episode, it really starts off with a bang. We kept saying, ‘If we’re going to do a series with-with Falcon and Winter Soldier in it, we need to at least start off with the best action that we’ve ever seen.’

Kevin Feige, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier press conference, 3/14/21

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier not only takes the action to the next level, but spends more time with Sam and Bucky than the movies have.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in Marvel’s ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.’ | Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

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“We’ve seen a lot of cool action with both of them before,” Feige said. “More importantly, as I think you also learn who the heck they are. We know a little bit about poor Bucky Barnes and what he’d been through. Sam Wilson, other than that he likes the job and is an inherently moral man and had been in the service and worked with PTSD, we didn’t know much about ’em. So, it was really an opportunity to go deep.”