Avengers: Endgame was the culmination of almost a decade of promise by the MCU. It was an end of an era as we knew it, but that did not mean the superhero universe was itself over. After multiple shake ups we ended up with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier where a reluctant Sam Wilson takes up the mantle of Captain America. But Falcon actor Anthony Mackie detailed, he hated the idea of Sam taking up the shield in the Disney Plus series.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to be the first Disney Plus series featuring the OG characters dealing with the consequences of a world made anew. Both Sam and Bucky have been part of the MCU since almost the start of the connected universe and both of their best friend was one of the heroes as well as the martyr of the Thanos incident. The loss of an icon was supposed to kick off the Disney Plus-MCU world but the pandemic had other ideas.
WandaVision was first out of the gate and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was not far behind. The show dealt with legacy and what it really meant to be Captain America. It was not just a name but someone truly believing in the ideals of what Steve Rogers aspired to. So, when the idea of Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America, Anthony Mackie was not particularly excited about it.
Captain America’s Legacy – Why Anthony Mackie Thought Him Taking Up the Shield was an Awful Idea?
Endgame was a tribute to the original team of the Avengers from 2012. Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk started it all and they were together to call the curtain. The film also spelled the end for almost all the original heroes. Hawkeye was with his family, Hulk was nursing his wound, Tony and Natasha were dead and Captain America found love, the hard way.
In the end as Captain goes through the time travel machine again to restore all the infinity stones, he does not come back to the original timeline. Instead, the soldier out of time decides it was time for him to take in that good life Tony always spoke about. The super soldier found Agent Carter and they lived together, only for Steve to come back to the original timeline, the long way round.
Steve was an old man by the end of Endgame. He was no longer Captain America; he was just a happy old man who lived a full life with his wife. Steve then proceeds to give Sam the shield of Captain America because he knows the symbol it represents. Sam is a good man and Steve knows the shield will be a protective tool, not a weapon in his hand.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to play on that theme. Anthony Mackie said Sam taking the shield was not discussed initially. The Falcon actor said they made it clear it was going to be a question between who would take the shield. It was not a simple handing of the vibranium weapon to Sam, they pitched the idea of if the shield belonged with Bucky or Sam.
When the handing of the shield happened in Endgame, we could all see the reluctancy of Sam in taking over the mantle of Captain America. Wilson said there that the shield felt like it belonged to someone else, when Steve asked him to try it out. Anthony said that at no point Falcon was excited about taking over the role of Cap and that is what made him think it was a bad idea turning him into Captain America.
Anthony Mackie explained during a panel of SAG-AFTRA, “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.”
By the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier we saw Sam rising to the occasion and learning what it meant to hold the shield. In the finale, he became Captain America and it all worked out fine, all while Anthony Mackie was having doubts. Bucky was too damaged and had his own baggage, Steve knew the burden of the shield would be too much. So, Sam was perfect person to be the next Captain America, and he was right.
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