The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland decided to reduce the use of weaponry in the Marvel Studios original series "for obvious reasons." In its first episode, now the most-watched series premiere on Disney+ during its first weekend, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) soars to new heights with his upgraded wings and armor when the United States military hires him to rescue an abducted military liaison from the criminal organization LAF. Falcon faces heavy firepower, shielding himself with his wings before dispatching an armed thug with his proficiency in hand-to-hand combat — just before evading an arsenal of rockets as the high-flying Falcon dips and dives through a canyon while pursued by helicopters.
"I think all the action sequences have to serve character and story and character story. So I looked at every one of those as having a unique angle and a unique perspective. I wanted each action sequence to have its own unique DNA at its core," Skogland told AV Club. "So we really looked for how to mix that up in a way that was not only satisfying visually from a certain perspective but really from a character place. I look at action sequences much like you look at a drama sequence: It's still got a beginning, middle, and end, and it’s got violence in it of some form that's character-based."
"I guess one of the things that I did as a sort of overview was that we reduced weaponry," added Skogland, whose television credits include episodes of Marvel's The Punisher and The Americans. "That does mean that all the things we choreographed come from sort of a different mindset, and that just by definition brings a different flavor to a scene."
Asked to explain, Skogland said she made the decision "for obvious reasons."
"I think that we need to look at weaponry in entertainment as being too much of a crutch," Skogland said. "We wanted to have our characters be clever and interesting and not just rely on the go-to."
Mackie has described the Captain America spin-off series as a buddy-cop comedy that meets a Tom Clancy thriller. Skogland looked at a "wide range" of influences, "Everything cinematically from a David Lean to a movie that Lina Wertmüller did. More recently, The Untouchables, 48 Hours, and Lethal Weapon were some of the classics we watched for sure because we were in that sort of arena."
New episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere Fridays on Disney+.
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