The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland teases the reveal of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) as the all-new Captain America when the Marvel Studios original series concludes on April 23. In Episode 5, "Truth," Sam and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) reclaim the blood-stained shield of Captain America from an unhinged John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who used the star-spangled symbol to publicly execute a member of the Flag Smashers (Noah Mills). When Walker is stripped of his authority and title as Captain America by the United States government, Sam meets with the country's other disowned Super Soldier — Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) — before deciding to step into a role vacated six months earlier by an aged and retired Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
On Skogland's Instagram story, the director shared a brief clip from the final moments of Episode 5 with the added touch of a twirling Captain America shield. The episode ends with Sam opening a case gifted to him by the Wakandans, who have specially tailored the winged red-white-and-blue suit he'll wear as the new Captain America.
"We wanted Sam to engage in both a public and private conversation of what it means for a Black man to pick up such an iconic historically white symbol," Skogland told Entertainment Weekly about Sam's decision in Episode 5. "By starting off with his acknowledgment of how important it is as a symbol, and that it is connected to a bygone era, Sam opens the door to the idea that what defines a hero today is not the same ideal as it was when Steve first picked up the shield."
Skogland continued: "It is important that we explore all sides to its future as a symbol, given it represents the American flag and the deep history that comes with something that represents equality and freedom," the director continued. "It needs to be an ongoing discussion because those very coveted ideas that are the core to the American Dream are actually fragile and need to be protected from those that go down a slippery slope, no matter how well-intentioned, that actually puts freedom and equality in the crosshairs."
And Mackie's co-star Emily VanCamp, who entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Mackie in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, said in a separate interview that she believes the world is "one thousand percent" ready for a Black Captain America.
"In terms of where we head within Falcon and Winter Soldier, I am not at liberty to discuss anything [laughs]. But I will say that the overall theme and arc of this show is a really beautiful, powerful message, and one that I'm excited for people to continue to watch," VanCamp told IGN Brasil after Episode 4. "And I think they’re already kind of seeing that on multiple levels with each character, so I think that Marvel's done a great job with this show, definitely, in terms of tackling very important themes and also from individual perspectives of each character."
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere its sixth and final episode on Friday, April 23, on Disney+.
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