It’s a testament to how deeply fans are invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that the single most talked-about scene from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s premiere wasn’t the action-packed opening set piece, the reintroduction of massively popular characters Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes or even the government announcing a brand new Captain America to follow in Steve Rogers’ footsteps.
Instead, something as seemingly innocuous as Sam visiting a bank to try and secure a loan for his family business generated the most headlines. Naturally, because this is the internet we’re talking about, some overzealous social media users instantly clutched their pearls and demanded that Tony Stark become the latest victim of cancel culture for having the audacity not to pay people he wasn’t in charge of who didn’t work for him, despite suiting them all up and giving them a place to live.
It created an interesting question, because the MCU has never dealt with the idea of what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes do in their downtime and how they make ends meet, while even Anthony Mackie thought the head of Stark Industries was compensating the team for their efforts. Not only that, but in a new interview, The Falcon and the Winter Solider executive producer and lead writer Malcolm Spellman admitted that it stirred up some conversation at Marvel Studios as well.
“It’s funny because that scene, and that moment, ended up triggering everybody at Marvel. We were getting calls from Kevin Feige, Lou D’Esposito, from Victoria Alonso, from Nate Moore, like everyone at Marvel wanted input there. Whatever it is about it, it has resonated with the people that have been interviewing with us, it resonated with everyone working there. So I think the reason you keyed in on it is you got to see a moment where a superhero is truly a regular person, and hopefully we answered the question to some degree, that it ain’t easy being superheroes. A lot of superheroes are broke, especially now that Tony Stark is gone.
Because we had more time, you get to spend time in a scene like that, in a bank scene, where you’re dealing with someone being famous but maybe being broke and how do you make your money as a hero? It’s a blast. I mean, Anthony and Sebastian are both able to play with a given moment in a way that’s electric, so half of what you’re doing is creating moments for them to just do what they do.”
At its core, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is still a show about saving the world from superpowered bad guys, but it’s the smaller character-driven moments like the bank scene that help to humanize the heroes, with the extended running time afforded by the episodic format allowing the writers to pose questions that the franchise doesn’t usually deal with on the big screen.