© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture
Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Click here to listen to full episodes.

How Malcolm Spellman’s Writing Dreams In Berkeley Led Him To Marvel’s ‘Falcon And The Winter Soldier’

Malcolm Spellman
Malcolm Spellman

Malcolm Spellman was a Berkeley kid who hung out in comic book shops with his friends. Now he’s telling complex stories about superheroes and villains on screen in the Marvel series “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”

When I showed up to do the project, Marvel knew there was no way to escape race being at the forefront of this project, because you’re handing the stars and stripes to a Black man.
Malcolm Spellman

The series is part of a lineup of Marvel live-action superhero shows for Disney+ launched this year. The shows are big hits, and some Bay Area artists are behind the success. Malcolm is the creator and executive producer and head writer for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” It’s about Sam Wilson or Falcon. He’s a military airman who is hesitant in taking on the mantle of Captain America. The previous Captain America is white, but Sam is unsure about carrying on the legacy of this patriotic, superhero as a Black man in the United States. The show delivers a lot of action-packed scenes, while addressing serious issues such as race and class.

In this interview Malcolm talks about his writing journey, social issues that come up in the story and Sam’s sidekick Bucky. He is white and embraced by the show’s Black character.

Just to warn you, there are show spoilers in this interview.