News and Commentary

Anthony Mackie Officially Becomes Marvel’s New Captain America
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Call him Falcon no more — Anthony Mackie has officially closed a deal with Disney to pick up Chris Evans’ vibranium shield in “Captain America 4.” The upcoming film will also mark the “Hurt Locker” star’s first outing as lead in a superhero movie.

Trade publication Deadline broke the news late Tuesday morning, calling the Julliard-trained actor a “bright spot in every film he’s appeared in.” The outlet also revealed that Malcolm Spellman, head writer of the Disney Plus series, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” (FATWS), has already been tapped to write the screenplay.

Mackie first took the Marvel stage as Sam Wilson/Falcon in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” He played that role five times in various Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, including, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Ant-Man,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” before Steve Rogers/Captain America at last bequeathed his iconic weapon to Sam at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.”

Fans suspected at that point that Sam would eventually step into Steve’s shoes. Those expectations only grew as Wilson’s wrestling over whether he wanted to accept the mantle of hero to a nation guilty of racism became a key storyline in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, Wilson’s woke point of view in that series represented something of a retcon by Marvel, which seemed to be reacting to the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Prior to 2020, the character — an Airforce veteran — never voiced reticence to serve his country, including when he received the shield in 2019’s “Endgame.” In that scene, Wilson seems touched by the trust Steve Rodgers places in him and says only, “Thank you. I’ll do my best.”

FATWS explicitly undercut this scene by having Sam instead give the shield to the Smithsonian.

Mackie said in the documentary special “Assembled,” about the making of the show, that fans should expect similar social justice-themed content going forward.

“It’s been an emotional experience, especially in the time in which we live in now,” he said. “For Marvel to give me the opportunity as a black man, from the south, to become Captain America, I think, says a lot, not only about the work that I’ve put in to get to this point, that they would entrust me with that. But with the way that they’re hoping to change the way society looks at itself.”

Producer Nate Moore further expanded on Mackie’s point, saying, “As a black man in America, to take on the stars and stripes, and wear that proudly, that’s not something that Sam Wilson would do out of the box.”

Other black Marvel characters, however, have been happy to wear stars and stripes out of the box and play the role of a patriot. For example, in “Iron Man 3,” the African American Colonel James Rhodes wears American-flag-inspired armor and proudly serves his country.

Before 2020, Sam Wilson was no different. No word yet on how long Marvel fans will have to wait to see the new Captain America in action.

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