[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk.]
The finale of The Falcon and Winter Soldier may have been polarizing for fans, both with the reveal of Sam (Anthony Mackie) as Captain America and the not-quite-a-downfall of John Walker (Wyatt Russell), but the aspect the episode is universally agreed on to be great from Twitter to TikTok: the ending cookout montage.
The short clip after Sam and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) stopped Karli (Erin Kellyman) from her next-stage terrorist plot shows the "co-workers" acting more like brothers, with Bucky joining Sam at the pier in New Orleans to enjoy some cake and great food with Sam's community. There was dancing, merriment, and kids hanging off of Bucky's arm, which caused several thousand viewers' ovaries to explode (official numbers still pending). It was exceptional, except we did not get more of Bucky flirting with Sam's sister Sarah (Adepero Oduye) and we think we deserved that. Director Kari Skogland confirmed to TV Guide that there was more between the two that fans did not get a chance to see over the course of Falcon and the Winter Soldier's six episodes.
"There was a little more flirting, I will give it that," Skogland confirmed to TV Guide. "I loved the dynamic between Adepero and Sebastian, or Bucky and Sarah. I love that dynamic and it was really fun because, of course, you can imagine Sam was just not up for that... We did have a bit more from that scene we decided not to put in, but it was very enjoyable."
A subset of Marvel fans are currently devoting a lot of money and time to a campaign to bring Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) back to the MCU, but honestly, the entire fanbase should unite in demanding the director's cut of Sarah and Bucky flirting. If we can do it for Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) dancing, we could do it for this and with confirmation that the material exists, it would be a much more fruitful endeavor.
Memes and #WinterSarah shipping aside, the idea of having a cookout to celebrate Sam officially taking on the Captain America mantle was very purposeful. Skogland and head writer Malcolm Spellman wanted to show that Sam had a community around him and supported him, despite his fears about what they would think if Sam, a Black man, took on the stars and stripes in such an official capacity.
"What we wanted to present there was the idea of community... let's see if we can harness that energy, which they do so at the end [with] a joyful conclusion to his celebrity of being Captain America," Skogland explained. "They're the people taking pictures with him, It's kind of just having the fun of having this celebrity amongst a community that has been denied access to that sort of iconic white space before."
Now that Sam has taken up the shield, it is time to look toward the future. A fourth Captain America film is already in development and the door isn't shut on more episodes of the Disney+ series, under the new moniker Captain America and the Winter Soldier, though. Skogland hopes that moving forward with Sam holding the shield means that Marvel will take a look at how it defines the word hero and Sam will be able to bring more empathy to the job than we've seen from Avengers in the past.
"Through the show we have come around to finding a way to make a hero and the shield relevant for going into the future," Skogland said. "That's very much being held by a man who understands community and understands how to harness the negative energies through negotiation and diplomacy and understanding where it's coming from instead of just trying to squash it."
How that works out for Sam remains to be seen.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+.