Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) takes to the skies as the all-new Captain America in Friday's series finale of Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. After relinquishing the star-spangled shield handed to him by an aged and retired Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Avengers: Endgame, Wilson watched the U.S. government declare John Walker (Wyatt Russell) its "new hero" with a slogan: Cap is back. When Wilson and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) team up to take back the blood-stained shield wielded by Walker in "Truth," where the scorned Super Soldier is stripped of his title and authority as Captain America, the episode ends with Wilson about to suit up as a new starred-and-striped superhero. In Episode 6, "One World, One People," Cap is really back.
When Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), Batroc (Georges St-Pierre), and the super-powered Flag Smashers launch an attack on the Global Repatriation Council headquarters in New York — where the GRC is carrying out a vote on the controversial Patch Act, about the global resettlement of displaced peoples after the Blip — a red-white-and-blue Sam Wilson, Captain America, flies into action on Wakanda-created wings while wielding the shield that no longer feels like it belongs to someone else.
Sam's five-episode transformation into the new Captain America comes after revelations made by Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), an experimented-on Black Super Soldier, who told Sam in Episode 5: "They will never let a Black man be Captain America. And even if they did, no self-respecting Black man would ever wanna be."
"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," series creator Malcolm Spellman told Geek Culture after Sam's fellow Avenger, James "War Machine" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), asked why he didn't take up the mantle 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."
For Mackie, who debuted as the high-flying Falcon in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, inheriting the star-spangled shield in 2019's Endgame was "very emotional."
"I've been in the business for 20 years and I've been fortunate to do some amazing stuff and work with amazing people. For me, to be a Black man in 2019 and be given the helm of Captain America with the history of Black men in this country is a monumental step, not only in entertainment but also in my life," Mackie said in a 2019 interview. "It's been extremely emotional. Look, my grandfather was a sharecropper, you know what I mean? There's a lot of history and pain and triumph and joy that comes along with me being Captain America."
All episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are now streaming on Disney+.
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