“”It was paramount to me that we be honest all the way through,” explains “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” head writer and showrunner Malcolm Spellman. The Marvel series follows the adventures of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) after the disappearance of Captain America. The Disney+ series expertly tackles contemporary issues of trauma and race within the constructs of a superhero story. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
A major story thread examines Sam’s conflicted feelings about what it would mean for him to take on the mantle of Captain America as a black man. “That was the vast majority of what I emphasized,” says Spellman, “I felt like I could really hit that with passion and do it justice.”
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Despite helping save the world several times over, Sam is not immune from the racist systems that persist in American society. Even though the show depicts costumed crime fighters, the dialogue around race makes “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” feel startlingly relevant. “The way things were evolving in our real life, the more honest we were in tackling that story, claims Spellman. “With a black man carrying the red, white, and blue, and with us being where we’re at, you would have had to be straight up lying and being evasive to do anything but the version we did.”
The writer reveals that his mission statement for the series was always about “creating heroes that deal with situations that are relevant right now.” Spellman gives credit to Marvel for giving their creatives the leeway to deliver their vision on each project. For Spellman, that meant not only delivering epic “superhero moments,” but grounding those moments in recognizable elements of the real world. Marvel has “captured the magic of what’s past, and presented it to where we are at now,” suggest Spellman. “You truly feel like you’re a part of something way bigger than yourself.”
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