Wyatt Russell Discusses Marvel Future, Reveals Why He Was "Hesitant" About Joining the MCU
It's been over a calendar year since Wyatt Russell made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, but his portrayal of John Walker still has people talking. As one of the standout performers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the third-generation actor has fans curious as to where he'll turn up next. With both the recently announced Thunderbolts movie as well as the rapidly-moving Captain America 4 fast in development, Russell has no shortage of opportunity for where he could see U.S. Agent pop up next. Even with many avenues to take Walker, Russell admitted that he's very much in the dark about his Marvel future.
"No, you never know. They do a really good job of keeping it secret," Russell told Collider. "It's part of the allure. You always hope that you can come back and you hope that you'll get the phone call. If I pick up the phone and it's Marvel on the other end of the line, you're like, 'All right, cool. Let's go to work.'"
Russell continued, joking that it will be a tall order physically if he is to return.
"As for the Marvel secret training camp, that was two and a half years ago, or almost three years ago no, that we like actually shot [The Falcon and the Winter Soldier]. All of the training and everything that I'd done, if I do get the phone call, it'll take a lot of runway to get back in shape like that," Russell said. "I've lost every ounce of muscle and physique that I had, but that's the fun part. Honestly, that was a big part of taking the role, as well."
When fans last saw Walker, he was aligning himself with Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Val, a mysterious recruiter who has also eyed the services of Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova. This came shortly after Walker assisted both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in their fight against the Flag Smashers, seemingly siding himself back with the good fight. While Walker's motivations remain ambiguous, Russell hopes the "struggle with self" narrative continues.
"I haven't really even thought about, if the character comes back, what I hope he becomes. There are so many different ways that you can go with it. I just hope that whatever it is, is continued along this line of this struggle with self," Walker said. "That is something that I can do, as well as I think it needs to be done. As long as he has that conflict within himself, he can have a change of mind and he can go through therapy. There are lots of different ways you can go. I only ever hope that it goes an interesting way, but a certain way, that's not up to me."
The sky is the limit for Russell in the MCU, but it almost never happened. The actor revealed the pressure of playing Captain America almost made him back out of the role.
"I feel like every actor says this, but at first, I was very hesitant. If you were a fan of Lodge 49, you weren't going, 'This guy's gonna play Captain America.' I had that same reaction," Russell said. "I was like, 'Are you sure you guys want me to play Captain America?' You don't know what you're auditioning for, so I was like, 'Okay, I'll go in and audition and see what it is if I get it.' And then, I got it and I was like, 'Okay, cool. Who am I playing?' I had a meeting with [The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director] Kari Skogland and Zoie Nagelhout at Marvel, and they showed me a picture of Captain America. At first, I was like, 'Oh, my God.' Captain America is a very difficult character to play because his moral compass is always pointing north.
"It's a difficult character to pull off. And when you have somebody who was so good at it, just do it, who's so beloved, you're going, 'I don't wanna play that guy. That's impossible shoes to fill. No. No way. I'm just not your guy,'" Russell continued. "And then, they were like, 'No, no, no, it's this other character.' He turns into this anti-Captain America and bizarro world Captain America. As we started talking about it, I was like, 'Okay, I can have some ownership over this character because I can make it what I want, in certain ways.' They gave me the leeway to really do that and put a stamp on it. The working experience was so great because they really listened and they took into account the ideas that you had. Hopefully, I was presenting concise and clear ideas, so that I wasn't being confusing. I ran with the character and was really happy with the way it turned out. They gave the character some pathos and it was an interesting character in the MCU that hadn't been done before. It's always great to do somebody that hasn't been done before because you get to really put a stamp on it. I had an amazing time. They're amazing to work with."
Russell's latest project, Under the Banner of Heaven, is streaming now on Hulu.