'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Showrunner Malcolm Spellman Wants to Revolutionize What a Marvel Hero Can Be [Interview]

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier initially looks and sounds like another entry in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s got a lot on its mind. Yes, this is a buddy-action series starring Captain America’s BFFs. Yes, it features big action, charming actors, and enough Easter eggs to choke a comic book geek. Yes, it’s going to scratch the Marvel itch for MCU obsessives and casual viewers alike.

But showrunner Malcolm Spellman wants to make it clear: this is a show about the here and now. Avengers: Endgame concluded with Steve Rogers handing his shield, and the mantle of Captain America, to Sam Wilson. But what does that actually mean? Not just for Sam – a Black man being asked to wear and wield the stars and stripes – but for the rest of the world? Those kinds of questions power The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Spellman says those kinds of questions will continue to fuel the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“We wanted heroes that felt like they are of the times,” Spellman told me over Zoom as we discussed the first episode of the series. It was one hell of a conversation, as the series showrunner made it very clear that this show isn’t going to shy away from the tough questions and tough answers. “If you keep it fun and entertaining, you can also keep it honest and relevant,” he said, emphasizing that the success of Black Panther has given Marvel the confidence to take chances.

Our full conversation is below. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on March 19, 2021 on Disney +.

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