Captain America Actor Anthony Mackie Questioned Doing Falcon and the Winter Soldier: "I Had a Lot of Fear"

Captain America actor Anthony Mackie reveals he had "a lot of fear" going into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, once planned as the first original series from Marvel Studios. After delays and a scheduling shift caused by the coronavirus pandemic put WandaVision out in front as the Kevin Feige-led studio's premiere television series, the Captain America trilogy spin-off reuniting Sam Wilson (Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) hit Disney+ in March with the first of six episodes that would see Sam — long known as the high-flying Falcon — wrestle with a decision to accept the stars and stripes as a Black American.

"I had a lot of fear going into it," Mackie told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was one of the first things about Marvel that I've been a part of that I've questioned, and I wasn't really sure that I actually wanted to do it. What Malcolm [Spellman, head writer] and Kari [Skogland, director] were able to do with this character, with this show, and actually with the Marvel Universe, has changed my entire perspective on what Sam can be."

Falcon and the Winter Soldier reveals the truth behind Black Super-Soldier Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) after Sam relinquishes the star-spangled shield entrusted to him by a retired Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who is replaced by the government-backed John Walker (Wyatt Russell). But when Walker proves unworthy of the mantle of Captain America, Sam soars into action as a Cap who understands what it means to be "a Black man carrying the stars and stripes."

"Sam being a Black man can't in good conscience just accept that symbol, without serious consideration to both sides of whether it's appropriate for him to don it, and we wanted that argument about not doing it to be legitimate," Spellman previously told Geek Culture about starting The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Sam giving up the shield of Captain America. "If you're going to tell an honest story – it's not even about politics. You can't write a character who's a woman, you can't write a character who's Muslim or Catholic, or Jewish and just ignore that."

Spellman added: "Sam is a Black man and that is going to be at the forefront with those stars and stripes."

Mackie will reprise his role in Marvel's Captain America 4.

All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are streaming on Disney+.

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