When Disney Plus launched in November 2019, the promise of new TV series from the MCU and Star Wars universes was a big part of the draw. The first two Marvel series were WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but not long after the latter series began filming, the pandemic affected where and, more importantly, what they could shoot.
By the time The Falcon and the Winter Soldier concluded in April 2021, many MCU fans speculated that the rushed storylines and character arcs that plagued the show were a result of the pandemic affecting the story. There was even a rumor going around that a biological weapon had originally been part of the plot but that it had to be cut as it was too close to reality at the time.
Still, the show’s writers denied that the virus had ever been part of the show, and people moved on to the next Marvel series. However, a new book, MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, seems to have confirmed that a plot involving a “fast-spreading disease” was indeed cut from Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had already canceled location work in Puerto Rico after a devastating earthquake in January 2020,” the book reads [via The Direct]. The pandemic not only forced the show to abort a shoot in Prague but made a planned plotline about the heroes rushing to stop a fast-spreading disease feel a bit too close to reality. “(Spellman acknowledged that the series had removed the side story, although he said that it wasn’t because of the coronavirus)”
Now, the problems in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – including a lack of stakes, confusing timelines, and how it ties into the wider universe – are indicative of issues that some fans began to notice in Phase 4 and continue with Marvel’s Phase 5 so we can’t blame the pandemic for everything.
But in the case of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel was put in an impossible position and didn’t have time to rewrite and reshoot the entire series, so maybe we should start being a little kinder to the show.
Fans are still hopeful that upcoming Marvel movies can begin to course correct as we start to build to the two next Avengers movies in Marvel’s Phase 6 and if Loki’s anything to go by, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the MCU.
Still, with the amount of time that passes between us seeing our favorite MCU characters, we worry that people are losing interest. By the time Captain America 4 is released in 2024, it will have been more than three years since we saw Mackie as Cap. Will general audiences still care?
Oh, and don’t get us started on the Marvel villain they chose for the film. We love Tim Blake Nelson, but who can honestly say they remember Samuel Sterns from The Incredible Hulk, who we haven’t seen since 2008?
Realistically, it’s make or break time for the MCU, and all eyes are going to be on The Marvels and Loki season 2 as it sets up Kang as the Big Bad moving forward. We know you can do this, Marvel, and we want to be excited about the MCU again. Loki’s second season has started with a bang, so keep it up.