Anthony Mackie Explains Why Playing a Black Captain America in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Required ‘Responsibility and Awareness’

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier came to its conclusion on Friday, and fans are still buzzing about its finale. Series stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprised their roles as the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, respectively, and their performances have left Marvel-lovers wanting more.

Mackie’s role, in particular, was a point of emphasis for the show, largely due to the fact that he’s a Black man playing Captain America. With the current state of race relations in America, many people were interested in seeing how Marvel tackled the conversation of race and equity.

Mackie himself said working on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier required “responsibility and awareness,” not only for himself but from the entire cast and crew. 

Anthony Mackie said his ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ role required ‘responsibility and awareness’

Anthony Mackie (L) and Chris Evans of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR ty at the "Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios" presentation
Anthony Mackie (L) and Chris Evans of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR ty at the “Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios” presentation | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

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Mackie was asked about how The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dealt with race during a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. Mackie prefaced his response by pointing out that although many non-Black people only recently became aware of Black people’s plight in America, he’s been living in the struggle his entire life. 

“Well, I think we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that our current situation is only our current situation to half of the country,” Mackie said. “Our current situation has not been going on for the past year, or the past decade, for me. It’s been going on for the past century.”

Mackie then noted that there was a responsibility and awareness that everyone involved with creating The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had to have of the glaring racial inequities in America. 

“So, being honest to that accord, there is a responsibility and awareness that we have to have as actors and writers and producers of content, to be aware of that,” Mackie continued. 

He’s proud of the way the show told his character’s story

Later in the interview, Mackie said that he approved of the way Marvel handled the responsibility of telling his character’s story. 

“One thing that I’m proud of about the show is that the show is very honest, and forthright and very unapologetic about dealing with the truth of what it means to be American, Captain America, Black Captain America,” Mackie said. “And if that’s even a thing.”

In his opinion, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did a great job satisfying Marvel fans who had questions after the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame

“I think, picking up where we left off at the end of Endgame, the show progresses extremely well by asking those questions and really explaining why Sam said at the end of Endgame, ‘The shield feels like it belongs to someone else.’” 

He thinks representation is very important in entertainment

In a separate interview with Jemele Hill, Mackie acknowledges that representation on the screen is important, but not only for Black people.

“Representation is very important, and not so much just for little Black boys, but little Asian boys, little white boys,” Mackie said. 

Mackie feels that having diverse faces on the TV screen allows more people to have conversations with their kids about race, gender, and equality. 

“It’s going to raise conversations in every household. Every dad is going to have to sit down with his son, every mom is going to have to sit down with her daughter, much like my boys—they watch Wonder Woman … and they love it. They appreciate the fact that she’s not a female superhero, she’s a superhero. And that’s a conversation that we had. Girls can kick ass just as good as dudes. And they should appreciate that and watch it for what it is. If a green dude can kick ass, so can a Black dude and so can a female.”