Anthony Mackie on Sam Wilson Wielding the Shield in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TFATWS) premiered on Disney+ Friday, March 19 with Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson dealing with personal turmoil amid the rise of a post-blip insurrection group. 

[spoilers for TFATWS, episode 1 below] 

Anthony Mackie holding the Captain America shield
Anthony Mackie of Marvel Studios’ ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ at the San Diego Comic-Con | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

The first episode of TFATWS shows Sam Wilson handing the shield over to the government. He chooses to go against Steve Roger’s wishes, as an Endgame memory reminds him of his prior words regarding how it feels to hold the shield— “like it’s someone else’s.” Yet, based on trailers for the show, audiences know that Falcon will use the shield to defend himself later on. During a sit-down with Entertainment Weekly, Mackie talked about what it means for him and his character to be seen in a rather nationalistic “Captain America” light. 

Anthony Mackie talks about taking on the Captain America mantle

Mackie explained that Wilson and Rogers had a “very close relationship…of admiration and respect,” before noting that “Sam’s relationship and most Black Americans’ relationship with America is not the case, so that makes the legacy of that shield very complicated…”

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Creator Says Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes ‘Blame’ Each Other ‘for the Loss of Steve Rogers’

Mackie initially denies the mantle, as seen in episode one. And, a great deal of the show will explore the conflict that Mackie has with the shield, despite his close-knit relationship with Rogers. Mackie shared: 

“It’s something that we as African Americans have always had to recognize, relate, acknowledge, and accept. So, you have to ask yourself the question: are you willing to represent that shield? It’s a complicated question and a complicated reality.”

Co-star Stan goes on to comment on Mackie’s words, highlighting how the show is both “timely” yet also reminiscent of an ‘80s buddy cop feel.

Sebastian Stan says ‘TFATWS’ is “timely” and “familiar” 

Stan talked about the show following Mackie’s comments, sharing:

“And that’s where the show gets very timely, and that’s where the show does feel very familiar. It is a fun show and it is definitely that buddy comedy that is reminiscent of the ‘80s perhaps, some of those familiar movies….the show is very grounded because of the questions that it asks the viewer to ask themselves by the end of it. 

Stan explains that the show will make viewers laugh and feature all the high-octane action sequences akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; however, it does ask difficult questions. It does beg audiences to ponder contemporary sociocultural and racial issues that the MCU has yet to explore on the silver screen.