How The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s Composer Made John Walker’s Deadly Moment Even More Horrific

John Walker (Wyatt Russell) stares over Nico's body on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)

This season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has reached its conclusion, and it was certainly an adventure for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. The series provided fans with plenty of intense, funny and heartfelt moments, all of which were elevated by the amazing score from Henry Jackman. The veteran composer had already contributed some excellent tunes to the MCU through Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, and he rose to the occasion once again in the Disney+ show. Jackman and his team had to tackle a number of major scenes including John Walker’s deadliest moment, which they managed to make even more horrific through the music.

At the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s fourth episode, new Captain America John Walker brutally murdered Flag Smasher Nico in a fit of rage after his partner Lemar Hoskins/Battlestar is killed by Karli Morgenthaugh. It’s a moment in MCU history that fans will likely never forget. The scene really needed to hit hard and, when I recently spoke with Henry Jackman about it, he explained that he and his team were well aware of the expectations for the scary moment:

The fundamentals of the end of episode four, you know is going to make everyone just sort of gasp with horror. I knew, structurally, that was baked into it, and that something really needed to happen in order to support that iconic shot of the shield covered in blood. We've come a long way from, you know, [Captain America: The] First Avenger, dispatching the Nazis. It was an interesting one.

The sequence certainly made for a viewing experience that was much different from watching Steve Rogers take down HYDRA goons in Germany. But ultimately, the bloody scene landed, and it garnered the emotional response the show’s creatives were likely looking for. But how do you approach scoring music for such a grim scene? Well, Henry Jackman went on to explain how he and his team were able to nail the feel they wanted for the scene:

If you listen carefully to that section, after it becomes clear that Batttlestar is dead, John Walker jumps out, and you know from the filmmaking in the edit that he's not a man in control. There isn’t wisdom in there anymore, he's on a vengeance mission… There’d been so much use of melody that actually if you listen carefully to that stretch from when he jumps out to the shield coming down, it was almost more like an unbearable horror kind of a tone. We experimented with a few things… there'd been a lot of melody in the show, and we found that a sort of unbearable stretch of expanding kind of horrific tone over that area lends it this kind of awful inevitability and gravity, where you're sort of simultaneously horrified thinking, ‘Please don't do this.’ And yet secretly knowing in the eternal stretching of the sound, there's something inevitable and like it is simply going to unfold in front of you pretty much as you'd expect, while you're also thinking, ‘Don't do it!’

So Henry Jackman and his collaborators managed to land on a few specific (and horrific) notes for the stretch between Battlestar’s death and Nico’s demise. I don’t know about any of you, but that small stretch of time was certainly stressful for me as a viewer.

All in all, Henry Jackman managed to beautifully capture every moment of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier through his music. Let’s hope this won’t be the last time the composer gets to score a notable moment in the MCU.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is currently streaming on Disney+.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.