Every now and then I come across some information the veracity of which can be confirmed by a second source. What happens FAR more often is that I come across some information that while believable and from trustworthy sources, cannot be confirmed by other sources for various reasons. Typically, when the second scenario occurs, I move on and forget about the information unless, in rare instances, it turns out to be proven true somewhere down the road. For instance, on February 19th, I wrote this piece relaying some rumors I’d heard about Marvel Studios updating its Disney Plus slate; the next day, the news broke that a special Disney Plus event would be held in London on March 5th where it is expected that Marvel Studios and Star Wars slates will be updated.
A thing I heard this week: The extended shooting schedule of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Atlanta might be due to some rewrites of the plot and it all might just have happened because of the coronavirus.
In a potentially disturbing case or art imitating life, the plot of the upcoming Disney Plus series may have been altered as the coronavirus has continued to spread through the world and approaches being considered a pandemic. As many of you know, the production company for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is Pandemic Productions LLC. The earliest of plot “leaks”, speculation and made up stuff all shared a common thread: some sort of of device unleashing a pandemic on the populace. In some cases, it was the Madbomb; in others, it was a terrorist group unleashing a bioweapon. Whichever one you liked best, the rumors were certainly out there that the show was set to feature something of the sort.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve head a growing number of whispers that this is no longer the case. The coronavirus has already taken the lives of nearly 3,000 people worldwide, is causing long-term shut downs of schools and businesses and is wreaking havoc on the global economy. By the time The Falcon and The Winter Soldier streams in August, it is likely that the disease will have met the criterion to be considered a true pandemic (the last global pandemic was the H1N1 virus which killed as few as 151,000 and as many as 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC). From what I’ve been hearing, Disney may be proactively trying to get ahead of what could be a potential disaster for the studio by rewriting and, as a result, reshooting parts of the series, with a heavy emphasis on the seasons first couple of episodes.
If any of these whispers are true or not is going to be really hard to prove. I don’t find it terribly likely that Disney is going to give an official press release that says something like, “We were going to do this, but did this instead because of this real world tragedy.” However, if it is true, it gives some insight into the types of behind the scenes decisions that have to be made at studios and how, as I am so fond of saying…things change all the time! If this is accurate, it’s obviously a show of empathy from the world’s largest media marketer. Given Disney’s strong relationship and presence in China, ground zero for the virus and the place where its terrible toll has had the largest impact, and with Disney set to launch its service to the rest of Europe where the virus is currently spreading rapidly, its not hard to believe these rumors. Taking into consideration the widespread panic that exists now and will continue to grow throughout the next several months and choosing not to add to it by changing the plot of its upcoming series, the one that will launch Marvel Studios streaming presence, is a bold, yet humanitarian move.