From the nanosecond Marvel Cinematic Universe fans heard about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, 99% of them were convinced the final episode would end with Sam Wilson firmly established as the franchise’s new Captain America. It turns out that Anthony Mackie wasn’t pitched that particular storyline when he first boarded the project.
Having been handed the iconic shield by Steve Rogers at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, the writers had to manufacture some conflict for Sam to overcome. Letting him suit up as Cap right away would have severely lessened the impact of the hero’s journey. It was both a smart and sensible move, giving audiences a villain they love to hate in Wyatt Russell’s detestable John Walker, so it worked out pretty well for all parties in the end.
In a new interview, Mackie admitted that when he was discussing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in its earliest stages, the notion of him becoming Captain America never really came up, but the shadow of the MCU’s star-spangled legend was always going to be hovering in the background of the narrative.
“We never talked about that when the pitch of the show came about it. It was more so about the continuation about what was gonna happen with the shield, if it was gonna be Bucky or if it was gonna be Sam, Because at the end of Endgame, Sam didn’t accept the shield. He told Steve, ‘It feels like this is someone else’s, it feels like it’s yours’. So at no point in time was he excited or looking forward to the idea of becoming Captain America.
So it was more so Kevin Feige and Nate Moore telling me, ‘We’re not sure what’s happening, so the show will be more about the idea or the archetype of Captain America, not you becoming Captain America’. So I was really confused leaving out of the meeting. But I wasn’t excited either. I hated the idea. I thought it was gonna be an awful idea.”
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Mackie’s first solo feature film as Captain America was announced the very same day the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier aired on Disney Plus, so Marvel Studios are clearly looking to have Sam hit the ground running when it comes to his newfound responsibilities. The actor says he’s got a good six to eight years left in him before he’ll consider bowing out of the superhero business, meaning we’re guaranteed at least a couple of movies and a smattering of cameos before his time in the sun is over.