Marvel star Anthony Mackie says the goal of the cast and crew of "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" was "not to make a bad show" following the massive success of the 2019 tentpole feature "Avengers: Endgame".
"The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" picks up after the events of "Endgame", where superheroes Sam Wilson/Falcon (Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities and patience.
Besides being a stellar example of fan service and record-breaking box office collections, "Endgame" also brought down the curtain on the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The 42-year-old actor, who stars alongside Stan in the upcoming Disney Plus series, said the team was determined not to "mess it up".
"'Endgame' was a monumental shift of the superhero universe. The scope of that movie, the idea of that film was something larger than anyone had imagined. Our goal was not to mess it up.
"We didn't want to be the first cr**** Marvel project. Our job was to take the torch and not make a bad show," Mackie said during a global virtual press conference from Los Angeles on Sunday.
The spin-off also addresses the retirement of Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans). At the end of "Endgame", Evans' character hands over his shield to Sam and Mackie said Steve would be "very proud that our show does not s***".
"The next show has a problem because if it's bad, they are going to be the first cr**** Marvel project in 20 years," he quipped.
In response to which Stan asked about the next Disney Plus series up for release: "What are they saying about 'Loki'?"
Stan further said it was "scary and exciting" to reprise his character in a series format.
"We had established the character a certain way, certain things I was comfortable with tonally in the movies.
"We had to kind of going into 'What is he like now?', part of it was us honing our sense of humour, that really came into the tone of the series, his dynamic with Sam Wilson, and my own dynamic with Anthony and kind of just marrying the two," the 38-year-old actor said.
Both Sam and Bucky explore existential questions in the six-part series, directed by Kari Skogland and penned by Malcolm Spellman.
"We are really zooming in his quest of identity and accepting his past. There are these questions: 'Who am I now?', 'What do I have to contribute?' 'That guy did this... What is going to be my legacy? If I even want that?' Stan said.
"These pieces are interesting rather than coming out of the gate and say that I've found all the answers," he added.
Asked how different it was developing a series instead of a feature film, director Skogland compared the movies to "snacks" and a show to a "meal".
A viewers can get involved with the characters in a way in six hours that they unable to in a film, particularly because the movies are often are high octane and immersed in some world-saving event, she said.
"So it is hard to go off an a little tangent on a character because the stakes are so high in one singular direction. In a series, we are able to meander a little bit, get inside the lives of our characters, and explore new twists," Skogland added.
Writer Spellman said they spent months working on the show, which explores important themes like racism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and socioeconomic problems.
"We didn't tackle one episode at a time, we spent months. Vertically storytelling is features. Features is compressed time and directed towards one world event. A series allows horizontal storytelling and the rhythm of a series is different," he explained.
The story in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" moves forward, dipping into the personal lives of the titular characters who are still reeling from the impact of Thanos' (Josh Brolin) finger snap in "Endgame" which wiped out half of the population of the world including some of the superheroes.
The series is loaded with some questions and surprises, including the introduction of new characters.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said there are many surprises ahead and the previous events in the MCU have "led to this moment".
"Sometimes there's just the name, but often times we pull the lineage of their biography from the comics and then tweak it as is appropriate to the point of time we are introducing it in the MCU," the senior studio executive added.
"The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" is slated to be released on March 19 in English for subscribers of Disney+ Hotstar Premium and in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu for subscribers of Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Disney+ Hotstar Premium.
The series also stars Emily VanCamp, Daniel Bruhl, Wyatt Russell, and Don Cheadle, among others.