The two stars of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan were always the obvious choices to succeed Chris Evans' Steve Rogers as Captain America. Both characters have wielded the shield in Marvel Comics stories, and both were friends who looked up to Cap in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet, the two stars found out which of them would inherit Captain America's legacy in strikingly different ways. Ultimately, Cap passed his shield onto the Falcon in Avengers: Endgame. Mackie says that he learned how the scene would go down by sharing a moment with Evans. Or, as Stan puts it to Empire magazine, "Anthony found out from Chris Evans at a party that I was not invited to."
As Mackie recalls it, most of the other Avengers stars had been watching sports on television when Evans called him over. "Chris Pratt was holding court, and so [Evans said], 'Come downstairs, I want to show you something," he says. "He was like, 'Have you seen the final scene?' I'm like, 'No.' So he runs out, gets the script, and he literally sits me on the couch, and the whole time I'm reading it he's just pacing back and forth like, 'Oh my God, oh my God!' It was a fun, emotional moment that we shared with nobody else."
Stan had a different experience. "I found out the day that we were shooting, when someone handed me the scene on the spot in my costume," says a mock-wounded Stan.
Stan does note that there was never any question in his mind that Sam should get the nod over Bucky. As for The Winter Soldier taking the shield, "It never really made sense to me – he just was not in a place for that, mentally," Stan says. "I'm not sure where the character would have gone even if that had happened."
While Steve Rogers gave Sam Wilson the shield, the Falcon remains reluctant to embrace Captain America's legacy. That's something Mackie talked about at Sunday's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier press conference.
"Sam's whole thing is he went on this journey, this Avenger journey, over six movies with Steve because of his respect and admiration for Steve. He says when Captain America shows up at your door, you answer," Mackie said. "That being said, it's the pain, the idea of not being able to go on these missions, not being able to help his friend.
"There's still people out there that still appreciate comradery and friendship...just like everybody else, you don't want to see Steve Rogers go away...just like he was your Cap, Steve Rogers was Sam Wilson's Cap. That's why he says at the end of Endgame, 'It feels like it's someone else's.' He's a fan just like everyone else...Sam is just a regular guy who won the lottery when Black Widow knocked on his door and he fell in love and was hoping to have a spinoff with Black Widow."