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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier's Composer Reveals The Messages Behind The Show's Music - Exclusive

When fans sat down to watch new "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" episodes the minute they aired on Disney+, most weren't thinking of the level of care and consideration that goes into behind-the-scenes work like music composition. Yet if you take that component out of the series, the episodes would feel hollow. As much as starring actors Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes) bring the scripts to life, so do the melodies that accompany their every move.

Whether it's adding a sense of home during Sam's Louisiana scenes or digging deep into feelings ignited with storylines centered around hard-hitting realities like racism and PTSD, every note helps us feel what our favorite characters are feeling. Looper spoke to "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" composer Henry Jackman for an exclusive interview, one in which he revealed the motivations behind his melodic choices — and how he went about composing music for the show's most important scenes.

Falcon and Winter Soldier setting the new Marvel standard

It's hard to argue that "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" is one of the most powerful MCU projects to date, and Henry Jackman let us in on how the critical issues of race and PTSD impacted composition. "It's partly the writing, [Malcom Spellman's] writing's amazing." He added, "What's groundbreaking about this show is you do get these issues. You get the issues as I've just described with Isaiah Bradley and what happened, and sure enough, being African-American, he was treated completely differently — and they tried to delete him." 

"So these issues are really important, but you don't want the show to become some sort of political polemic. They're like socially conscious movies. It's still a Marvel show that has the Easter eggs and the reveals and all the twists and the turns and the action and the spectacle and all of the... It's a very entertaining show," he continued. "So, in a way, it's more difficult. If you're writing a movie or engaged in a show that's specifically about women's rights or [the] rights of ethnic minorities or something, it's such a specific thing. You can double down on it being a very serious, high-minded type of project."

Musically balancing the hero's journey

However, some audiences that might be truly impacted by the social issues appearing in a film could also get turned off if it's not balanced out with action and typical Marvel flair. "Because don't forget, the thing about it being a Marvel show is millions of people... Maybe only hundreds of thousands would see some indie movie about some very worthy subject matter," composer Henry Jackman noted. "Think how many kids are watching this and not having specific intellectual thoughts. They're just seeing a version of a new Captain America with a slightly different approach. It's just like an example, but it has to be still an entertaining show. It can't become like some sort of a school lesson on politics or anything."

"When you have a scene that's so well-acted and has really important material that's not just important within the show, but the subject being discussed is socially relevant now ... If you listen carefully to the key there, you don't want to be too musically invasive, whereas when he's talking and leaping into action and sort of saving people, that's when you want to use a patriotic theme and full orchestration to give you that Marvel feeling that we know and love," Jackman added.

Fans can tune into every episode and musical moment of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," now streaming on Disney+.