Contains spoilers for Episode 1
At the end of the opening instalment of Marvel’s Disney+ series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, long-term fans of the MCU were likely left thinking four words: Steve Rogers would never. That’s because the episode closed with the bombshell that a new Captain America has been appointed – not Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, who willingly gave the shield to the Smithsonian for exhibition, but incoming character John Walker, greeting the TV cameras at his announcement with the sort of cheesy wink the OG Cap would never have delivered.
In a matter of seconds, it became clear that Walker – an experienced soldier chosen by the government to be Cap 2.0, played by Wyatt Russell – is not to be trusted, and really it’s all down to that fateful wink. Speaking on a special episode of the Empire Podcast, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland opened up about that final scene. “I wanted it to be kind of heroic and monumental, and so it was low angles and we put them in this portico, a very ‘big government’ vibe, so it had all of that weight behind it,” she says of Walker’s introduction. “And also, you don’t really get to know him, right? You see his back and you see the shield. It’s just the nature of how we did it, and then of course, there’s the television of it. It’s all about, who is this? What is this? And then – boom – you know, that wink.”
It’s an acting choice that came directly from the actor himself, says Skogland. “That was completely a moment that Wyatt brought to the party,” she confirms, “and that was fantastic. All the actors brought lots of moments like that to the story, because once they once they got inside their character, they were able to play. Out of that comes brilliance.”
Listen to the full interview special now on the Empire Podcast – also featuring an interview with the series’ head writer Malcolm Spellman. Plus, if you want more The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, you can listen to our Episode 1 Spoiler Special podcast by subscribing here, and read our magazine cover story featuring Skogland, Spellman, plus Marvel boss Kevin Feige, and stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp and Daniel Brühl in the latest issue of Empire, on sale now and available to order online here.