Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

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Oftentimes in the creative process, the original way a story is conceived doesn’t end up fully matching the final product, with certain elements being removed, expand upon or even simply reshuffled. Take The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Disney+’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe series. It’s no secret that like so many productions last year, the show was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with filming having to be paused for several months. However, on the VFX side of things, the pandemic actually paved the way for three memorable moments to be thrown into the six-episode miniseries.

The Falcon and the Winter Solider VFX supervisor Eric Leven revealed during my recent interview with him how the COVID-19 pandemic was beneficial to the VFX team because it gave them extra time to improve key VFX sequences rather than work through a tight deadline. When I asked whether this meant simply polishing the sequences as they already were or adding onto them, Leven responded:

Really big chunks were added to them. So for example, in the desert fight, all of the bits with Redwing were added. Really making him a team with Sam, it expands on Redwing’s character, that was all new to the desert fight. The whole beat in the 1x06 helicopter chase where Sam lands on the bridge and saves the police helicopter pilots, that was all added. The container ship where Sam goes into the water, that was added. There are pretty big chunks in those sequences.

Yeah, those definitely qualify as major additions to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s lineup of action sequences. The Redwing aspect is especially notable, as it was our first time seeing the drone since Avengers: Infinity War, and marked its third appearance overall, having been introduced in Captain America: Civil War. Granted, Redwing popped up a few more times throughout the course of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but it’s like Eric Leven said, throwing the drone into the desert fight established early on how much more efficient it and Sam Wilson are working in unison nowadays. Sadly, Redwing was eventually destroyed by Flag Smashers leader Karli Morgenthau, but a replacement drone was included in Sam’s Wakandan-desgined Captain America suit.

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While The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would have still been packed with a lot of action-packed scenes had the COVID-19 pandemic not allowed for Eric Leven and the rest of the VFX team to throw these moments in, it just goes to show how sometimes a silver lining can be found in situations that are primarily negative. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier began filming at the end of October 2019, and was originally intended to drop in August 2020. However, once the world went on lockdown, production didn’t resume until that very month, necessitating that its premiere be pushed back. So fans had to wait an additional seven months for its arrival, at least they were treated to some bonus content that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

You can watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in its entirety on Disney+, and if you’re not already subscribed to the platform, you can do so with this link. Marvel’s next Disney+ series, Loki, will premiere on June 9, and Sam Wilson is slated to return in Captain America 4. Don’t forget to browse through our guide detailing other upcoming Marvel TV shows, as well as check out the 2021 summer TV premiere schedule.

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