Anthony Mackie Says It’s Always Been an ‘Honor’ to Play Falcon in the MCU

By now, most people know Anthony Mackie for his role as Sam, also known as Falcon, eventually to be known as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he has a particular penchant for playing soldiers, also evidenced by appearing in a Best Picture winner about combat in the Gulf War. 

That would be The Hurt Locker, in which Mackie co-starred alongside fellow MCU veteran Jeremy Renner, with the two appearing onstage together when the movie won the top prize at the Oscars in 2010. With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier coming up fast, Mackie is taking a look back. 

What was Anthony Mackie’s life before the MCU?

Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie | Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Vanity Fair does a series of videos where actors look back at highlights of their career, and Mackie’s video starts with 8 Mile, the starring vehicle for Eminem that won him an Oscar for the song “Lose Yourself.” Mackie, having been trained at Julliard, appeared in a play seen by 8 Mile’s casting director. 

“I got to hang out for Eminem for three months. It was amazing. I was 21 years old,” he said with a laugh. “Everybody who was in 8 Mile, they’re still my friends. And that was 20 years ago.”

The Hurt Locker came along when Mackie had been held up doing another project, and Hurt Locker was going to move on without Mackie. But another actor who was offered Mackie’s part ended up turning it down, so Mackie got the gig after all, and he said, “the greatest experience of my career was that dude saying no.”

Then, when the movie won Best Picture, Mackie was so overjoyed, he kissed Tom Hanks, who was presenting the top prize that night at the Oscars. 

How does Anthony Mackie feel about Sam?

Since Mackie played a veteran, that made a natural segue to him playing Sam Wilson in Captain: America: Winter Soldier. That movie opened with Sam and Steve Rogers on a morning run in Washington DC, with Steve repeatedly passing Sam, saying “On your left.” That line later became a subtle callback in Avengers: Endgame, when Sam and other heroes subjected to the Thanos snap returned to join the fight  

As natural as Mackie seems in that movie, he went into it cold, saying, “I had no experience with comic books whatsoever. Comic books weren’t my thing. My brother had crates and crates of comic books, and he used to beat me up because I would rip his comic books up.” 

He got the hang of it soon enough, and even though he had already been in a Best Picture winner, Mackie said, “The Falcon has been my Oscar. I feel like there are few rewards that can justify a career, a body of work, the way Marvel has in entrusting me with this character, not just for the African-American community, but the veteran community in general … I’m very honored to play that role.”

How do fans feel about Mackie being the new Captain America? 

On Reddit, fans who watched the video were struck by how genuine Mackie seemed to be, prompting one person who said he met him to report, “He had really long days and he would always tell out loud words of encouragement to the entire crew. He always liked to see people smiling and laughing. He talked to all the crew members. Didn’t ACT like a celebrity. Just acted like a super outgoing, hardworking human being.”

Such a person would seem to be an ideal Captain America, and Steve Rogers certainly thought so, famously handing Sam his shield in Endgame. However, the upcoming series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will detail how that is easier said than done. But Mackie has the most important person of all in his corner: his son. 

“It’s funny, as a parent, you do so much and all you want is the approval of your kids. Like nobody else matters, I don’t care what anybody else on the Internet says. My son said it was cool, so it’s cool,” he said.