While the comic book form has been thriving on the big screen, both in terms of quality and revenue, the same can’t be said about the small screen. Sure, comic book TV series are sprouting like wild mushrooms, but they’re highly inconsistent as far as artistic merit goes. Think about it. The first season of Arrow is great, but it progressively devolved with each passing season until it finally came to an end a few months ago. This same inconsistency blankets Flash, and the cancelled Netflix Marvel Universe as well. Sure, the likes of The Boys and Watchmen are in a league of their own in terms of sheer artistic mastery, they for now at least, appear to be nor more than the exception to the rule.
But, the official expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto the small screen (Disney+), could prove to be a gamechanger. While there are many projects in development right now, including a Scarlett Witch and Vision sitcom (WandaVision), all eyes are on the espionage action-thriller, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Will this series launch a small screen expanded universe as consistent in its execution as its big-screen counterpart? The early signs are promising. It seems like Marvel Studios and Disney are fully invested in this project of theirs. And it looks like the actors are extremely enthusiastic as well. In Variety’s Actors on Actors show, Anthony Mackie said:
“Those movies are like summer camp. And this show, it was no different. It was the same group of people, coming together to make it work. And so the stunt stuff — everything is just on another level. Every show, every movie, they just push it — they push the envelope so much. So hopefully, knock on wood, we’ll be going back soon.
We’re shooting it exactly like a movie. Everybody who had worked on TV before was like, ‘I’ve never worked on a TV show like this.’ The way in which we were shooting, it feels exactly like we were shooting the movie cut up into the show. So instead of a two-hour movie, a six or eight-hour movie.”
Anthony Mackie also talked about the budgeting constraints and how that has been really exciting for him:
“We were in Europe, and everything got crazy in Europe first. So they shut us down two weeks before the U.S. shutdown. It was really amazing just because I feel like we’re the first Marvel show or movie that had budget constraints. And that was always my [experience], ‘It’s Marvel, we could shoot forever.’ And they’re like, ‘Nah.’ So it was a very different experience from the rest of the movies. But at the same time, it was a lot of fun.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was set to hit Disney+ in August, but production on the series was pushed back in March due to coronavirus.