After the success of last week’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale, Shadow and Act caught up with the show’s head writer, Malcolm Spellman, once again to debrief the show in a post-mortem conversation. The Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan-toplined show has ended its six-episode run.
Not only was the finale last week, but on the same day, news surfaced that Marvel Studios is now in early development on Captain America 4, which Spellman will be co-writing. The door also seems like it could be open for a second season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier…or should we say…Captain America and the Winter Soldier?
The writer and producer couldn’t speak to any of that (or what is to come in the MCU in general), but we were able to get a lot of insight on a lot of the seasons biggest moments, aks about that big storyline rumor and of course, try to get as much information out of him about those future projects.
There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about how the storyline for the show may have been shifted or not shifted due to the impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic. Could you speak to that and what may or may not have been included had the pandemic not happened?
I think I’m not supposed to do that anymore [talk about what may have been left out], but I used to talk about it before people started yelling at me [laughs]. But it wasn’t nothing groundbreaking. Anything that would have happened wasn’t massive, for sure.
So many people are talking about the connection between Bucky and Sarah (Adepero Oduye)…like people are living for it. What was the decision behind going in that direction and could it be explored further?
We kept playing with it. The scenes with them together…there was never a way to find as much of it as we wanted, but it just happened really naturally. And we were hoping to find even more time for them. If we could have had one extra episode where we just spent time with them at the house, they definitely would have been holding hands and kicking cans.
And lets talk about the Bradleys, both Isaiah and Eli. First off, do you see either one of them continuing and doing more in the MCU. Also, a lot of people have wondered…did you ever think about doing flashbacks of Isaiah in his heyday…or could that be something we get in the future?
I mean, the problem with the flashbacks thing is that we felt like it would have detracted from the moment. Because then, it makes it more superhero-y, you know what I’m saying? And the way Carl Lumbly was able to deliver them scenes, no one wanted to tamper with the storytelling around that. It’s like when someone’s doing that powerful a job, you don’t play with it…you don’t try and get more out it, you leave that alone. And then as far as where are they going in MCU…you know I’m not going to talk about that. Not even for Shadow and Act [laughs].
So, Karli (Erin Kellyman)…was there any possibility in letting Sam possibly save her or take her under his wing — or were there any plans to have her live or any alternative ways that the story could have gone?
We were super clear on where it needed to go. But I was getting emails from friends and other filmmakers like, ‘Please redeem her, please bring her back.’ And that was the goal was for all these antagonists…to not only believe that they were heroes, but to have a code that they operated by that the audience would be like, ‘Man, I understand them.’ It creates a more compelling story. And we knew for Sam to become Cap, it needed to be meaty…and the more heartbreaking Karli’s death is in his journey to becoming Cap, the more it adds to that moment of Sam taking the mantle. So from the beginning, we imagined him landing [and] holding this woman who probably wasn’t that different than the s**t [that] him and his sister talked about at the dinner table.
What are some things that you think the show did better because of having a predominantly Black writers room or some things you think wouldn’t have been executed as well if the room didn’t have so many Black writers?
And let me be clear, there were white writers in the room. It was majority Black though. There is a rhythm and naturalism to the Blackness of this show. It’s throw-away lines like Sam saying, ‘I’m not playing with these white people’ It doesn’t even mean nothing other than the people are like, ‘I know someone was there.’ For that to just fall out his mouth that way. So I felt like it added a naturalism to it and it also impacted the storytelling. Like the debate on when Bucky tells Sam that he and Steve never considered the weight and significance of giving a black man a shield. Because the room is diverse and there’s black folk in there, the debate on what that means to Bucky is way more layered. All Black folk were like, ‘You know what? Bucky has been used abused his whole life.’ And they start talking about the white dude that grew up in the hood with them and they focus on Bucky’s struggle in a way that Black folk are inclined to do, which meant when you get to that moment and when Bucky says that line, there’s no guilt from Bucky. It’s literally just a matter-of-fact moment. And so there are all those details in the storytelling that just have a different energy and different choices. It’s really hard to put into words, but it does make a huge, huge difference.
Is there anything that wasn’t shown on-screen in this version of the series that you would have liked to include or something that you would have liked to show more of…excluding more Bucky and Sarah?
Let me think…I don’t know. I guess like…they’re not going to just let you do it though. You can’t just do cause you like it at Marvel. Having access to Wakandans, you kind of want to be like, ‘Well, can they be in the rest of the series?’ And they’re like, ‘No, they’re not just hanging out with Ayo and the crew.’ [laughs] But that might’ve been fun to have them around a little more.
And you know what….maybe also…….nah I’ll just leave it at that.
Season one of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+.