The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s Insane First Aerial Sequence Is More Real Than You May Realize

It is made abundantly clear watching the first episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier that just because the story is structured as six episodes doesn’t mean the series will be any less cinematic than a Marvel blockbuster – and it’s a point that’s driven home for the audience almost immediately. The opening sequence where Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon rescues a hostage from Georges St-Pierre’ Georges Batroc while flying between enemy helicopters and missile fire is a stunning piece of work, and will likely cause more than a few people to fall to the ground after getting too close to the edge of their seat.

And you know what makes it even more incredible? A great deal of it was filmed practically.

Interviewing director Kari Skogland last weekend during the virtual press day for The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, I couldn’t help but gush about the insanity that is seeing a person navigate a wingsuit into a helicopter midflight – and I was rather stunned to learn that was a stunt willingly performed by a real person. Talking about how it all came together, the filmmaker explained,

Well, we found a team. I got the inspiration by seeing it online. I watched a lot of videos that different teams have done, whether they be parachuting or squirrel suits or even there's people with wings, a version of wings. And so on. So I really combed actual footage to be inspired by what can be done, and also pushing the envelope obviously. But also the coverage – because people are getting used to watching a video that somebody really did jump out of a plane [to film]. And so where were the cameras on that? So we duplicated; we were inspired by all those, and tried to sort of take the best of the best and duplicate what we felt was really extraordinary.

“Extraordinary” is definitely the word for it. In theory the Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s opening action sequence could have been created exclusively with wire rigging, green screens, plate photography, and computer magic, but everybody knows that nobody beats the real thing. What’s more, if hobbyists can film themselves flying around using all varieties of contraptions, what is really holding back a major Hollywood production company from taking inspiration and using it for movies and TV? Personally, I’m not still not sure how you get a human being to agree to fly through the air mere yards away from a spinning helicopter blade, but I suppose people are strange creatures.

Between the Falcon aerial sequence, the Winter Soldier assassination flashback, and the Flag-Smasher robbery, it doesn’t seem like the latest Disney+ original is going to be lacking in kick-ass action, and we have incredibly high hopes for what’s to come. Based on the clips we’ve seen from trailers, there are clearly going to be some massive set pieces – and it’s possible if not likely that we have not yet seen a single snippet of footage from the epic showdown that will surely be a big part of the finale.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, fans can now enjoy the premiere of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier over and over on Disney+ (opens in new tab), and that may be the best way to calm sensations of impatience in the next week waiting for the next episode to drop. On that note, you’ll be able to catch the second chapter of the six-part series next Friday, March 26 at 12am PST/3am EST.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.