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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Director Kari Skogland Addresses That Virus Rumor - Exclusive

Despite Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and his flawless flying in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," production wasn't all smooth sailing during filming. Like most shows still shooting when the pandemic hit, production had to halt — and because of the setbacks, fans have been wildly speculating about how it could have impacted the show's final product. Were scenes scrapped? Were episodes scrapped? Did writers have to scramble to rewrite and reshoot entire plotlines because of the pandemic?

Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have ruminated on these questions since the series' March 2021 debut. One rumor in particular made substantial rounds: the idea that "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" featured a virus plotline. Namely, fans were curious about a shipment of vaccines that the series briefly features but never explores. We also don't see a whole lot of the Flag Smashers' backstories, causing fans to speculate on whether or not the vaccines tied into a now-cut virus plot that would have seemed in poor taste given current events. Now, of course, we know that the series was well underway by the time COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown, so any potential virus plotlines would have been conceived long before the pandemic — but is there any truth to it?

Looper sat down with "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" director Kari Skogland to find out, and she cleared up these persistent rumors once and for all during our exclusive interview.

To fan theory, or not to fan theory?

On the rumor that the original iteration of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" hinged on a virus but the pandemic caused rewrites, Kari Skogland shot down the fan theory. "No, none of that's true," she said. "We were well on the road to this story as you see it. We'd shot about 75% when we had to shut down for a couple [of] months. There was no pandemic in our story at all — ever. So we shut down [and] we went right into post-production with the footage we had, which was pretty much the series."

Well, there you have it, straight from the director's mouth: no virus. However, Skogland added, "I think there was one particular episode that we hadn't yet shot a lot of, which might've been Episode 4 ... because a lot of that was set outside of the country."

The making (and breaking) of John Walker

Like anything else, writing is a series of trial and error. Kari Skogland noted on the process of creating John Walker (Wyatt Russell), "I think we sharpened our pencils for the story of it because we knew the characters. We knew who John Walker needed to be because we had really looked for the tone of his character. We tried a few different things because we weren't entirely sure ... what was going to be the best version of him." They certainly arrived at a pretty horrifyingly sobering place when John straight-up murders a defenseless guy with Cap's shield.

"So we opened it up to, in terms of just each scene, experimented with totally shifting him — sometimes a little funny or sometimes a little more heartfelt so we could calibrate it in post — but by the time we'd finished that, we knew exactly what we wanted of him," Skogland added. "We felt very secure that we knew what we were shooting, so those were the kinds of, sort of sharpening the pencil [moments]."

For any fans who didn't notice the vaccine truck in the first go-around, you can rewatch all episodes of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" on Disney+ to decide for yourself if there's some shielded conspiracy theory regarding the show's central plots.