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Here's why Falcon and Winter Soldier is suspending filming

Sam and Bucky appear to have hit a snag.

Production on the upcoming Disney+ series Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which was to shoot for two weeks on the island of Puerto Rico, has been suspended after twin earthquakes rocked the area. It's not yet clear when shooting on the series will resume (via Deadline).

The cast and crew of the series were all set to arrive this week, but those travel plans had to be scrapped. The U.S. territory experienced a temblor measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale last Tuesday, the largest to hit the island in a century; it was followed by another, smaller quake with a magnitude of 5.9 on Saturday. The quakes killed at least one and knocked out power across the island, which has since mostly been restored, according to NPR.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier was to shoot scenes on the Northern portion of the island, in and around the small coastal town of Arecibo. Although the quakes struck off Puerto Rico's southern coast, the town certainly felt its effects — enough so that the Arecibo Observatory, one of the largest facilities of its kind on Earth, was closed down as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, a survey by drones detected no damage to the observatory, which is key to U.S. scientists' efforts to detect asteroids which may be swinging close by our planet. Since our boring old worldline has no Avengers to counter such threats, let's hope the observatory is back up and running with all due haste.

Why was Falcon and the Winter Soldier set to shoot in Puerto Rico?

The filming of Falcon and the Winter Soldier has so far proceeded with the level of secrecy one would expect from a Marvel Studios production, and as such, we're not sure why filming on a sun-baked tropical island would be necessary. You know us, though; we're keen to take a few guesses, and a couple of intrepid social media users have recently helped us out with this endeavor by smuggling out a few photos from the series' set.

First, we have these pics from Twitter user @Q82004yousef1, which show us Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes, Emily Van Camp's Sharon Carter, and Daniel Brühl's Baron Zemo hard at work on set. These snaps were evidently taken during filming at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, where production commenced last November. If you squint a little, it looks like this set could be decorated to give off a sort of Asian metropolis vibe, which brings us to our next photo.

This one comes courtesy of Instagrammer the_geek_power, and it shows an ornate Asian-style garden adorned with the flag of Madripoor — a fictional East Asian island which has appeared often in the pages of Marvel comics, usually in stories having to do with Wolverine or the Hand, the ninja cult which is always harassing Daredevil.

It may very well be that Puerto Rico was set to play the role of portions of Madripoor, with its natural beauty and miles upon miles of beaches. In any event, it looks like Falcon and the Winter Soldier's production is going to have to find a substitute, and quickly.

Could Falcon and the Winter Soldier's release date be delayed?

Of course, location scouting and securing all of the necessary documentation required to shoot on location can be a time-consuming process. There are also sure to be plenty of other variables in play when it comes to adjusting Falcon and the Winter Soldier's filming schedule to make up for the lost Puerto Rico shoot; it's not known whether the production was to move to a different location or back onto another studio lot after shooting in Arecibo was completed, but in either case, there's sure to be some scrambling.

Even assuming that filming is able to resume relatively quickly, there remains the fact that there are all kinds of potential snags to be hit in searching for another location to sub in for Puerto Rico. At this point, we give Falcon and the Winter Soldier a 50/50 chance of sticking to its announced fall 2020 debut — but fortunately, should the series' premiere be delayed, there's another player waiting to come off the bench.

This would be WandaVision, which has hit no such snafus. In fact, production has apparently gone so smoothly on the series that it's already been pushed up from its announced spring 2021 premiere, and is now said to be on track to drop on Disney+ in late 2020 — a fortunate turn of events, and one that ensures that the streamer will debut at least one of its hotly anticipated MCU-set series this year.

So, rest easy, Sam and Bucky — Vision and Scarlet Witch have your backs. We'll keep an eye out for any news regarding the anticipated premiere dates for Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, and we'll keep you up to speed.