Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a long, grueling break following Spider-Man: Far From Home's release way back in 2019. Due to the pandemic, that became the last MCU project we got before WandaVision kicked off Phase Four this past January, but it wasn’t always supposed to be this way. In fact, we were initially going to get Black Widow in theaters first, followed by The Falcon And The Winter Soldier as the first MCU show on Disney+. However, Anthony Mackie, the co-lead of that show, actually isn't disappointed about the change.
Having Black Widow and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier drop back to back makes sense, especially considering the presence of one Julia Louis-Dreyfus in both productions. That said, Anthony Mackie actually thanks WandaVision for being the first Disney+ project out of the gate and thinks that it was “the best thing” to happen for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In a recent group discussion with Variety, he had this to say:
I think the best thing that happened to us was that we were taken out the first slot and put in the second slot. Because I feel like WandaVision was so amazing because it really set the vocabulary for what Marvel was going to do in this streaming universe. And when you saw that show, how you unique it was, how different it was, how beautiful it was, how the performances are so great and how it still stood the test of the cinematic universe, it kind of made the audience fall in line to the new scope of what Marvel was going to be. So thank you, Paul [Bettany] and Lizzie [Olsen].
Now that it’s already happened, it’s kind of crazy to think of anything but WandaVision leading the pack onto Disney+. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, while excellent, is more of a straightforward kind of Marvel project. It played more like a buddy cop series than anything else, what with Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes' love-hate relationship and their consistent banter. Yes, the show did end up getting pretty dark toward the end but, overall, it had the lighthearted humor and action that people have come to associate with the MCU.
But WandaVision was something else entirely. For the first few episodes, a lot of fans were utterly flummoxed by this weird, new show (Even though I was enamored from the very first episode). In this series, we were getting oddball, sitcom vibes in the beginning, and I distinctly remember some fans loving the new direction from the MCU, while others were put off until around Episode 4, in which things started to become clearer regarding the Westview Anomaly.
In truth, if Marvel had decided to start with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier before going on to WandaVision AND later Loki, it actually may have been pretty jarring given the massive shift in tone. Loki is really weird, just as WandaVision was, so putting The Falcon and the Winter Soldier between the two was a nice breather. After all, had Falcon and the Winter Soldier started things off, some may have gotten the impression that moving forward, Marvel shows will exclusive dive into bizarre or creepy territory.
So all in all, I agree with Anthony Mackie that it was best for the studio heads to start with WandaVision rather than the much safer choice of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But what do you think? Should Disney+ have waited a bit and gone with the pre-pandemic plan to release The Falcon and the Winter Soldier first? Sound off in the poll below!