Now that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has come to a close, Marvel Studios is digging into the making of the show with another installment of their documentary series Assembled. This hour-long glimpse into the production of the series features plenty of interviews with director Kari Skogland, head writer Malcolm Spellman, stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, and more.
Since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a little more straightforward Marvel series than WandaVision, the making of the show isn’t quite so enthralling. But there are some interesting details on the technical side of shooting that were surprising to hear about. Plus, there’s a makeshift commercial for a clothing store featuring Daniel Brühl in character as Baron Zemo. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Documentary
The Skydiving Sequence
Considering how much visual effects are used to create action sequences, you might be surprised to learn how much actual skydiving was done to create this action sequence. Much of it was done as a frame of reference to create the scene itself, which included actual divers in wingsuits and a stuntman in a full Falcon costume flying through the air. But there are a handful of shots from the cameras strapped to the skydivers that made it into the final cut of the show. Even though the flying through canyons was inspired by a real team of skydivers who can actually soar through peaks and valleys, that had to be done in post-production.
The Semi-Truck Fight
You’ve probably already assumed that the semi-truck fight sequence with Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, John Walker, and Lemar Hoskins fighting Karli Morgenthau and the Flag Smashers wasn’t actually done on real trucks. But what’s interesting is that the original visual effects plan for the sequence had to be overhauled because the background plate shots that were completed in Atlanta looked so far removed from Germany that the entire environment around the trucks needed to be created digitally.
From the fields and mountains in the background to the roads the trucks are traveling on, nearly everything had to be replaced in post-production. Even the shot when John Walker gets knocked off the truck and rolls onto the road needed to have the entire background replaced with a digital environment. In fact, Walker falls off the back of the truck in Atlanta, rolls into a shot completed in Prague, and both backgrounds had to be replaced to look like Germany. Magic!
Sharon Carter Almost Came Back in Infinity War and Endgame
Marvel Studios originally wanted to have Sharon Carter involved in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in some capacity after her prominent role in Captain America: Civil War. However, with so many characters being a part of both Avengers films, they couldn’t figure out a way to fit her into the story. It ended up working in their favor though, because The Falcon and the Winter Soldier afforded them an opportunity to explain her absence and take her character in a whole new direction.
Madripoor is in Atlanta
It’s no secret that real locations on film sets often double as another place entirely. You’d be surprised how many times Vancouver has filled in for New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. And when it comes to Madripoor, the assassin island location was created in a series of back alleys in Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by a real backstreet in Hanoi, Vietnam. With plenty of set dressing, a rundown city street was turned into a neon haven for shady characters.
Earthquakes in Puerto Rico Led to Production in Prague
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had to stop production in Prague just one week into shooting last spring because of the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. But what you might not know is that the show was slated to shoot all of the Prague sequences in Puerto Rico before that. Even after an earthquake had devastated parts of the island, the crew was still confident they could safely accomplish what they needed to there. But when a second earthquake hit, they no longer felt safe about shooting in the area and had to find a new international location.
Prague ended up being a fine replacement, and they found locations that were strikingly similar to those they had already scouted in Puerto Rico. But then the coronavirus pandemic came along and ruined everything again. During the eight month hiatus, the crew had to figure out how to safely shoot back in Prague, which meant convincing the government to let an American crew back into the country during a pandemic. It wasn’t easy since America was being famously stubborn about the situation while Prague had handled the pandemic much better. But with some virtual scouting and new safety measures, they pulled it off.
Falcon/Captain America’s Goggles and Cowl Required VFX
Some of the best visual effects are the ones that you don’t even register as being there. When it comes to the costume worn by Anthony Mackie as both Falcon and the new Captain America, there are some details that needed to be completed in post-production to perfect the ensemble.
First up, the red lenses in Sam Wilson’s goggles aren’t even part of the practical costume most of the time. They’re a reflective surface and can make lighting situations tricky, so the VFX team would end up having to remove certain reflections from them anyway. So it’s easier to just remove the lenses entirely and add them in post-production. For example, in the big speech that Captain America gives in the finale, every shot had the lenses added with visual effects.
Similarly, Sam’s new Captain America suit required a little bit of touching up around the cowl. It’s a bit of an awkward headpiece, and there’s no material they had that would allow it to fit snugly on his head without moving weirdly around his neck. Occasionally, depending on how Anthony Mackie turns his head, there would be these weird flaps that folded out, and it just looked sloppy. So the visual effects team had to make those disappear so the suit look tight and clean.
Shop at Suit-kovia
Even though The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes plenty of serious turns, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and Daniel Brühl are quite the amusing trio. When the cameras aren’t rolling, these guys are cracking jokes at each other up and clearly having a good time. At one point in the doc, Anthony Mackie spouts a variation of lyrics from a Mystikal song to Sebastian Stan.
But the best part of all their shenanigans is that the crew took the time to have Daniel Brühl, in-character as Baron Zemo, film a makeshift commercial for a clothing store called Suit-kovia. It’s shot in a single take on the set of the Brass Monkey nightclub in Madripoor, and it’s easily the best thing to come out of this entire documentary. If you want to see it right now, head to the 34:14 mark and enjoy.
Assembled: The Making of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available on Disney+ right now.