Anthony Mackie Worried ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Would Be ‘the First Marvel Franchise to Fail’

Marvel’s anticipated show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere on Disney+ on March 19. Anthony Mackie stars in the miniseries as Sam Wilson/Falcon and Sebastian Stan plays Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier.

Expectations for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are high. While Marvel fans find themselves excited and hopeful about the show, Mackie originally worried The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would be the first Marvel project “to fail.”

[Spoiler alert: The following article contains spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.]

A candid photo of actor Anthony Mackie talking on 'The IMDb Show' in April 2019
Anthony Mackie | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Anthony Mackie thought ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ would fail

Marvel’s first Disney+ series WandaVision premiered on Jan. 15 and received critical acclaim. The accomplishments surrounding WandaVision followed the success the Star Wars franchise has experienced with the Disney+ show The Mandalorian.

Given the notoriety around WandaVision and The Mandalorian, the expectation is that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will follow in the same footsteps and be successful as well.

However, when Mackie first heard about the upcoming miniseries, he worried the TV show would not do well.

“I didn’t think we could do on the television what we’d been doing on the big screen. I didn’t want to be the face of the first Marvel franchise to fail. Like, ‘See? We cast the Black dude, and now this sh*t is awful,'” the actor told Variety.

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Mackie continued, “That was a huge fear of mine, and also a huge responsibility with playing a Marvel character.”

What is ‘The Falcon and the Winter Solider’ about?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place six months after Avengers: Endgame. The movie premiered in 2019, and at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) gives his shield to Sam and encourages him to be the next Captain America.

Marvel’s new Disney+ series will show Sam and Bucky after Steve’s fateful decision to name Sam as his successor. According to one of the show’s creators and writers, Malcolm Spellman, the miniseries will be a huge emotional journey for Sam.

In an interview with Polygon, Spellman said:

“… for Sam, it was pretty obvious to us that his character needed to begin with dealing with the stars and stripes on the shield, in two ways. Number one, the loss of a dear friend, and those huge shoes that anyone who picked up that mantle would need to fill. And then the other thing being as a Black man, is it even appropriate to have that symbol? That symbol means something very different in Sam’s hands than it does in Steve’s. And I think the audience is going to be surprised to see how he responds to it. Because I think a lot of people are thinking, ‘Oh, after Endgame, we kind of know what Sam’s gonna do.’ And they’re gonna be shocked.”

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Will Show Bucky Barnes’ Grief

The Marvel show will tackle racial issues

Part of what convinced Mackie to sign on to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was Spellman’s writing. While speaking with Polygon, Spellman shared that the TV show will feel timely as it shows Sam under the pressure of representing Captain America as a Black man.

“Sam not taking the shield is as timely and relevant to what’s going on in the world today as almost anything you’re gonna see on the news,” Spellman said. “And I do think Marvel has proven with Black Panther that you can have substance in MCU stories.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere on Disney+ at midnight PDT and 3 a.m. EDT on March 19.