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Falcon And Winter Soldier Director Hints At More Nuanced Characters - Exclusive

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is chock-full of fan-favorites that haven't seen much screen time, but that's all changing with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. With almost six hours of content packed in the Disney+ series' six episodes, the added time offers more opportunity to explore each and every character on screen. Unlike that of the massive Marvel movie bashes, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's character list is tighter, leaving more time to get into the nitty-gritty details regarding characterization and backstory, and to tackle a range of social issues like racism and trauma

Until now, Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes played more of a background role in the MCU. Their brief scene bickering in a car in Captain America: Civil War set their buddy-cop dynamic into motion, and fans have wanted more of them not only as individuals but also as an unlikely duo ever since then. Who could have guessed that that fleeting moment would create a jumping-off point for their self-titled series? Still, showrunner Malcolm Spellman and director Kari Skogland gave Sam and Bucky space as individuals in the pilot episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier before throwing them together as a disgruntled duo — and it was definitely the right call.

During an exclusive interview, Looper spoke with Skogland, who discussed everything from the series' nuanced characters to the art of villainy — and how almost everyone has a little good and a little bad within themselves.

Learning more about the leading men

We asked Skogland which MCU guest stars she was most excited to bring onto the show and which character arcs she enjoyed expanding the most, but the director just couldn't choose. 

"Every character that we introduce was exciting for me because, besides having [the old] and the new characters, in a six-hour space, you're able to explore. You're able to spend time with the characters," Skogland said. "So whether they're a villain, or whether they are in some way in any of the categories [of] anti-hero, protagonist or antagonist, or simply friend or sister, you're able to get to know them a little bit better, which makes them a complex character."

After just one episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we've already seen this exploration in action. We learn more about Sam and Bucky in the 40-plus minutes of the show's pilot episode than we've been able to glean from multiple action-packed movie appearances.

The many shades of villainy

Noting the difference between Disney villains like Captain Hook and the series' villain, Helmet Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Skogland stated, "There's no twirly mustache going on. It's all nuanced. And like any good villain, it's a slippery slope. They're saying certain things that make sense." 

While someone's intentions — or, dare we say, "endgame" — certainly don't excuse their actions, it's intriguing to ponder just how a villain can get that point of no return when they may not have always been so vile.

"The way they see the end result of their actions is ultimately the conversation about who they are and what they have to say," Skogland said. "But within that, [it's] the exploring of their perspective I think is very interesting, because there's nobody who is 100-percent bad and there's nobody who 100-percent good." Everyone certainly has a bit of darkness in them, but it's probably better to follow the Captain America philosophy than Zemo's; therein lies only pain and destruction.

Fans can tune into Disney+ on Fridays to deep dive into the depths of Sam, Bucky, and Zemo's intensive character arcs in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.