After Steve Rogers' exit from the MCU, fans wondered whether that was the end for Captain America. But the superhero is bigger than the man wielding the shield, and already we are seeing some new candidates for the role of Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. One man who has been curiously reluctant to become the new Cap is Sam Wilson aka Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie. In a recent interview, Mackie explained why the legacy of the shield is so conflicting for Sam to accept.
"Well, because the shield belongs to Steve, and you know, Sam got into this because of his relationship with Steve. Sam wasn't waiting in the wings, hoping and waiting to become Captain America. The whole goal and idea was to save the world with Steve. So if he's Cap, that means Steve is no longer with him. So, it takes the fun out of it. You know, the idea of being a superhero and being Captain America as a Black man, representing a symbol that for 500 years, has literally enslaved, downtrodden, and persecuted your people is a harsh reality to try and come to grips with."
At the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, Steve passed on his shield to Sam, with the understanding being that the latter would become the new Captain America. But the start of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Sam pass the shield into the ownership of the US government instead.
Soon after, the military handed the shield to a new character named John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell, to make him the new, government-approved Captain America. Naturally, fans have a big problem with this new "hero" staking a claim to the legacy of Steve Rogers without putting in the work like Sam or Bucky Barnes. In a previous interview, Russell had revealed that he is perfectly aware of the strong objections to his character that MCU fans have registered online, and even finds the negative attention to be fun in its own way.
"That's what I liked about the character: polarizing people are fun to play. They're fun to play as an actor, and if you can do that in a way that is believable, hopefully people won't like you. I've never really played a very unlikable person so it's been fun (laughs). It's been super fun, I gotta be honest, to have been received in that way. And then there's other times like, 'I'm a nice guy!'"
Only time will tell if John Walker will endear himself to fans over time, and become the new Captain America for good. Or whether Sam or Bucky will finally step up to the legacy left behind by Steve by claiming his shield. Directed by Kari Skogland, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Wyatt Russell, Noah Mills, Carl Lumbly, and Daniel Brühl. A new episode debuts each Friday on Disney+. Anthony Mackie's comments arrive from ComicBook.com while Wyatt Russell's comment comes from Entertainment Tonight.