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Falcon And Winter Soldier Director On The Biggest Challenge Of The Show - Exclusive

Directing a show where one of the title characters can fly isn't exactly an easy task. Still, for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland, it wasn't the flying that posed the biggest challenge for everyone working on the series, behind the scenes. The show, which centers around MCU favorites Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), also provides the space to dive deep into social issues. Between Bucky's trauma arc and the racism Sam deals with while weighing whether or not to accept the shield Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) offered him at the end of Endgame, there's a lot to unpack. 

Looper spoke to Skogland during an exclusive interview, where she opened up about the biggest directing challenges that occurred while filming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and delved into just what goes into the flying scenes that look so flawless in the final product. Spoiler alert: It's not as easy as it seems.

Honoring Captain America's shield

According to the director, one of the biggest challenges was honoring the story and themes, due to the important subject matter. The social issues that the show tackles, Skogland told us, are the aspects of the show that posed the most hurdles — because everyone on the show was determined to do them justice. "I think I wanted to make sure that we got the story right," the director said. "We're talking about some very, very sensitive, relevant topics and subjects that are very important to, or very key to what's going on in society as we speak."

Most major MCU blockbusters don't have the time to deeply delve into the backstories and personal struggles of the characters. With a focused series primarily about Sam and Bucky, we finally have the chance to tackle all of the essential issues that plague both characters. Skogland added, "Certainly, MCU has always been very relevant in talking about even the fundamental core of it, which is, an anti-fascist came out of the war. And, so, therefore, it had a very particular perspective on elitism and fascism and certain things that were a result of a huge conversation after World War II."

Captain America has always had the "punch a Nazi" mentality. Hell, he even does it a few times on-screen. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is giving us even more of that energy, and we're ready. "Now we are talking a very different world since then, and so it's a very big conversation that we're having," Skogland noted. "And so it was really important that we are very thoughtful about the conversation we're having [...] We really didn't shy away from anything, and that was a very, I think, bold and very joyful place to be. To say, 'Let's just dust it off, take out these issues and have a look.'" 

And the show is that much stronger for it.

How high can Falcon fly?

In 2020, Anthony Mackie told us the most difficult aspect of the show for him was flying. We asked Skogland how challenging that was for the director, and what exactly goes into that, from a production standpoint. "Well, first of all, it's quite uncomfortable for the flying sequences because he's in his suit, and there's a whole lot of rigging that goes along with it, and obviously, we have to keep him safe. And you can imagine, he's flying, so there's that," she said. "So it's, I think challenging also, because there's a reality that has to go into it, and yet there's all this mechanical stuff that's attached to it." 

However, Mackie is nothing if not a professional, despite how uncomfortable flying can get. 

"Anthony does it without skipping a beat, and when you see... For all that goes into it, that I'm sure in his head, he's thinking, 'Oh my God, this thing is killing me,' and it's 'aghghg,'" she joked. "When you see it in the dailies or when you see it, as you've seen episode one when you see him flying, you would never know that he is in any kind of discomfort at all. So he's a pro." 

Fans can watch Mackie fly on Fridays, when The Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs on Disney+.