The Inverse Interview

Falcon and the Winter Soldier director reveals her surprising real-world inspiration

The show’s creative team didn’t just look at other movies and TV shows for ideas.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is — among other things — a buddy comedy. That means a lot of the Marvel series, which premieres this week on Disney+, lives and dies on the chemistry between Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes. Fortunately, the two characters are already a proven comedic pair within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which meant the series did have an established relationship to build on.

It didn’t hurt that Stan and Mackie have had some well-publicized fun working the Marvel press circuit together over the past several years either. In fact, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland tells Inverse that the duo’s previous Marvel press work was actually used as reference material for the show’s creative team.

Creating The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Kari Skogland directing Anthony Mackie and Adepero Oduye on the set of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.Marvel Studios

At the heart of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s story is the friendship/rivalry between Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson. The two characters briefly crossed paths for the first time in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, before interacting more directly with each other in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Now, the two characters are set to spend more time together on screen than they ever have before in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As a result, the team behind Marvel’s new show looked to Mackie and Stan’s own real-life friendship for inspiration while crafting the series.

“One of the things we looked at which was really important was a lot of the interviews that Anthony and Sebastian did together,” says Skogland. “They’re so fun, and in the writer’s room, we watched them with the idea of really trying to understand them as people and understand their own history together because they’re great friends. It was great to see the two of them together in that way, and we built on that.”

(For the record: Skogland isn’t wrong. Mackie and Stan’s Marvel press interviews really are so much fun to watch.)

Separate From the Rest — While Falcon and the Winter Soldier does deal pretty directly with the events of past MCU films — especially Steve Rogers’ retirement in Avengers: Endgame — the series itself seems fairly self-contained and separate from the rest of Marvel’s upcoming TV shows and films. That separation was evident during the making of the series as well.

Unlike WandaVision director Matt Shakman, who reportedly worked closely with other Marvel directors while he was making the Disney+ series, Skogland says she more or less worked on her own without collaborating directly with other Marvel filmmakers.

WandaVision was so different that I can see why Matt would be quite specific in reaching out to other directors... I didn’t do that on purpose because this series is very grounded and very authentic and very character-driven,” said Skogland. “That meant the show was always going to have its own unique signature, and that’s really what I was going for while making it.”

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Verdict — Skogland’s comments about the differences between WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier echo what the show’s head writer, Malcolm Spellman, recently told Inverse about the two shows.

While WandaVision felt deeply connected to both the past and the future of the MCU, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier seems far more concerned with the issues that Bucky and Sam are dealing with in the present moment. That means it may end up being even more character-focused than WandaVision was.

But just in case that’s not enough to make you want to watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the series also promises to provide fans with more on-screen banter between Bucky and Sam than any of us will likely know what to do with. Fortunately, that’s a good problem to have.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins streaming March 19 on Disney+.