The upcoming Disney+ series is set to premiere just two weeks after Marvel’s previous series, WandaVision, aired its finale. Across the board, the Wanda Maximoff saga was a rousing success for both Disney and Marvel, the rare TV series that inspired and invited viewer participation. Both casual fans and Marvel die-hards alike spent weeks coming up with theories about the series, all of which aimed to uncover the truth behind its various mysteries.
The theory-crafting added an extra level of fun to watching WandaVision, but will it be the same for Falcon and Winter Soldier? Not so fast, according to what the show’s head writer, Malcolm Spellman, tells Inverse. Here’s why Spellman views Falcon and the Winter Soldier as the “antithesis” of WandaVision.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier vs. WandaVision
Compared to WandaVision, which gradually teased and hinted at what was going on in its central story before finally laying all its truths bare in its final pair of episodes, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels much more straightforward. Where WandaVision was a trippy sitcom mystery, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a straight-up buddy action-comedy. That was always the plan.
“One thing Marvel knew they wanted before I ever walked through the door was a buddy two-hander,” says Spellman, “and when I say ‘buddy two-hander,’ I mean the energy and vibe of those things and the way buddy two-handers are able to deal with issues of the moment while keeping them fun.”
“The other thing about buddy two-handers, if you’ve seen any of them, is there’s really not a mystery to them,” Spellman continues. “They’re all character-first. They’re all about the emotion and connection, or lack of connection, between characters, and that’s something I do as a writer, and it’s something that the genre wants. As amazing as WandaVision was, this is an antithesis in every single way.”
“There is no mystery,” he adds, before correcting himself with a smile and adding, “well, I shouldn’t be saying that.”
Different expectations — Indeed, there is some mystery in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but not nearly as much as there was in WandaVision. Unlike its Disney+ predecessor, the mystery in Falcon and the Winter Soldier plays much less of a key role in the show’s overall plot and the emotional journeys of its characters.
In other words, fans shouldn’t be wondering if a villain like Mephisto is hiding in the curtains of every Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode the same way they did in WandaVision.
“It’s not about figuring something out. It is about characters,” teases Spellman. “One of the primary themes of this series is identity and the fact that Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) all saw themselves as one way at the beginning of the story. This is about a muscular story forcing these characters to rethink how they see themselves and confront how the world sees them. To get the emotion of that, you want as much of that to be outward and of-the-moment so that you can have as emotional an experience [as possible].”
The Inverse verdict — WandaVision was a genuine pop culture phenomenon, and part of the show’s success was a result of its engrossing, intriguing mystery. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier promises to offer a much different type of experience — one told in an admittedly more linear way and which is filled with far more espionage and action than WandaVision had.
You may not spend every episode wondering what’s real and what isn’t, or if certain characters are someone else in disguise, but that doesn’t mean The Falcon and the Winter Soldier won’t keep you just as entertained. In fact, all signs indicate that it will, above all else, do exactly that.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins streaming March 19 on Disney+.