The Falcon and the Winter Soldier didn’t quite earn the fanfare that its, predecessor, WandaVision, did, but there’s still plenty to celebrate. Wyatt Russell’s MCU debut as the love-to-hate-him John Walker. Danny Ramirez showing up as our probably-definitely new Falcon. And, through Isaiah Bradley’s story, social commentary that Marvel hardly dared to touch before this series.
The rest of the series? A tiny bit muddled. Most superhero stories suffer from a too-many-villains problem. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had a too-many-storylines problem. You had Sam Wilson’s journey to becoming Captain America, Bucky Barnes recovering from his time as the Winter Soldier, whatever the hell was going on with Sharon Carter, and the Flag-Smashers wreaking havoc with hard-to-place motivations. And that’s just a few of the plot hits! Now, thanks to the team over at New Rockstars, we might have an idea why The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s story was occasionally tough to pin down. Their theory? That the show originally featured a subplot related to either the use of a bioweapon or the spread of a virus. So when the pandemic hit, The Falcon and the Winter Solider‘s creative team rewrote a portion of the script at the last minute.
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First thing you should know: Disney delayed The Falcon and the Winter Soldier for about a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. This happened during production, so we can assume there was a large chunk of time for the show’s writers to hypothetically make any big changes to the script during lockdown. That’s exactly what New Rockstars thinks happened. Looking at the first four episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the video pinpoints quite a few moments that might nod to a scrapped storyline that saw the Flag-Smashers trying to stop the spread of a disease ailing its community.
For example, the video points out the large crates of vaccines the Flag-Smashers stole in one of the earlier episodes. Plus, the casting of well-known TV character actor Veronica Falcón as Donya Madani—only to minimize her role in the final cut. According to New Rockstars, it’s possible that she was dying of this virus, which is why the Flag-Smashers were so desperate to steal vaccines and stop anyone in their way. Finally—and you’ll have to run through the whole video to get a solid grasp on this one—New Rockstars pointed out that several lines of ADR (dialogue recorded after filming wrapped up and inserted in the final cut, usually to add clarity) often served to smooth out the motivations and whereabouts of the Flag-Smashers, specifically. Basically, that would indicate a last-minute tweak of the script to make the Flag-Smashers more focused on the super-soldier serum, not vaccine vials.
As always, New Rockstars makes a convincing case. Check out the full video to see for yourself. But if it is true that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier scrapped a plot involving viruses and vaccines? We can thank them for it. If anything, commentary on our real-life masked world would’ve further diluted what the show had to say about racial politics in America, what happens when the wrong person gains power, and that the Captain America helmet doesn’t look good on everyone.
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