Anthony Mackie Knows Exactly How Long He Plans to Play Captain America

Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson became the new Captain America in the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As the first black man to take up the mantle in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mackie says he is already seeing the impact his new role is having on young Black people.

He knows all the work he’s had to do has been worth it. But like his predecessor Chris Evans, Mackie doesn’t plan to stay in the role forever.

Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie speak at the Marvel Studios Panel during 2019 Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif.
Sebastian Stan and the new Catpain America Anthony Mackie speak at the Marvel Studios Panel during 2019 Comic-Con International in San Diego, Calif. | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Anthony Mackie has already seen the impact of becoming the new Captain America

During a recent sit-down with Variety, Mackie shared the story of a friend of his who is a special needs teacher in Homestead, Florida. He says that one day the teacher found one of her students doing pull-ups on the monkey bars. She asked him what he was doing and told him he would hurt himself.

“And the kid tells her, ‘Well, Captain America looks like me now, so I need to get in shape, if he needs my help.’ And I thought that was the coolest thing,” Mackie shared. “For this kid to see a six-hour series and get enough strength within himself to think that he needs to be prepared and ready, that made all of the work that we had to do to put it together worthwhile for me.”

It’s important to show soldiers ‘in a respectful human light’

During the interview, Mackie and General Charles Q. Brown Jr. — Chief of Staff of the Air Force — talked about the importance of black heroes, both real and fictional. Mackie says he’s had family members and friends who have served in the military. Showing soldiers “in a respectful human light” is something that’s important to him.

“Sometimes I meet people like General Brown, and I’m like, ‘That guy’s not a human being, he’s a rock star,’ and you forget they’re actual humans and place them in a light where they’re not allowed to be,” Mackie explained. “So that’s something that’s always been important to me — bringing humanity to the aspect of being a soldier.”

Anthony Mackie doesn’t want to be Captain America in his 50s

At the age of 42, Mackie just became Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale. He will reprise the role in the fourth Captain America movie. His predecessor, Chris Evans, played the role in seven different films over 10 years. Including three solo flicks and four Avengers team-ups. Will fans see Mackie as Captain America as much as they saw Evans?

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It’s definitely possible, but not probable. Mackie says that he’s “got a solid six to eight [years]” in him to play the super soldier. He says he “definitely doesn’t want to be a 55-year-old Captain America.”

What does Mackie’s Captain America stand for?

Now that his character has stepped into a new role, Mackie says that Sam’s monologue in the finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier helped define what his version of Captain America is all about.

In that moment Sam became Captain America, Mackie says it was important to show the character’s humanitarian side. He’s not “a guy who’s going to bust his way through problems.”

“The humanitarian side of him was something that I feel is his superpower, his ability to have empathy and sympathy for those around him is your superpower,” Mackie explained. “So that monologue was about him showing that if one of us is mistreated, we’re all to blame. And that’s the overall theme of the new Captain America, not that not Black Cap, or Cap for the people, he’s Captain America for all.”

That monologue was important to Anthony Mackie

When Sam accepted the shield and assumed his new identity, Mackie wanted to make sure that the scene conveyed the depth of his decision. He says that the monologue definitely helped to do that. However, he had one suggestion for the speech that didn’t make the cut.

“Everyone, everyone in this country at this time wants to see a change, and that monologue sums that up in a beautiful way,” Mackie said. “One thing I wanted to put at the end of the monologue — and it got shot down — was if we’re going to ‘make America great again,’ it has to be done by Americans. And no matter what your race, creed, color or sexuality is, you’re an American. And that’s what I think the new Captain America captures.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available for streaming on Disney+.