Marvel star Anthony Mackie is speaking out about his late Marvel Cinematic Universe co-star, Chadwick Boseman. In a new interview to promote his upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mackie reflected on the camaraderie that he and Chadwick Boseman had - largely based on the similar context of how they fit into the franchise. As Marvel Studios' two biggest black superheroes (Sam Jackson's Nick Fury is a spy-guy), Boseman and Mackie had more than just Marvel Comics legacy to carry on their respective backs. According to Mackie, being honor-bound to that shared duty is what bonded him and Chadwick Boseman on a deeper level:
“For Chad and I, [representation] was never a conversation that needed to be had because of our backgrounds," Mackie tells Variety. "There was a hinted-at understanding between the two of us because we’re both from humble beginnings in the South; we have very similar backgrounds. We knew what the game was. We knew going into it.”
That "game" that Mackie casually references happens to be an often volatile network of online fandom and social media chat threads, where issues of superheroes and race all-too-often turn ugly; not to mention the uphill climb of being a black actor in a major studio franchise project. One look at the troubles being experienced by Justice League star Ray Fisher right now, and it's clear just what kind of challenges both Anthony Mackie and Chadwick Boseman were considering, as they entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the Russo Bros. Captain America films of the mid-2010s (The Winter Soldier and Civil War).
Chadwick Boseman certainly did his duty, turning Black Panther into a milestone achievement and celebration of black and/or African culture, which has affected an entire generation. Now it's Anthony Mackie's turn to step up and take the reigns for black representation in the MCU, as the leading character of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier - and possibly the inheritor of Captain America's mantle by the end of the series. Of course, having a black Captain America could present a whole new set of challenges for Anthony Mackie. But he is perfectly fine to take them on:
“I was really surprised and affected by the idea of possibly getting the shield and becoming Captain America. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I did it the way they said you’re supposed to do it. I didn’t go to L.A. and say, ‘Make me famous.’ I went to theater school, did Off-Broadway, did indie movies, and worked my way through the ranks. It took a long time for this sh*t to manifest itself the way it has, and I’m." extremely happy about that,”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier streams on Disney+ starting on March 19th.