‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Anthony Mackie Credits This Movie for Getting Him into the MCU

For a while, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ran into the same issues as, well, the rest of Hollywood. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to production delays in 2020. Now the show is streaming on Disney+. But star Anthony Mackie is convinced he wouldn’t be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at all if he hadn’t starred in this Oscar-winning movie first.

Anthony Mackie speaks at a screening of 'The Hurt Locker' during the 2009 New York Variety Screening Series
Anthony Mackie speaks at a screening of ‘The Hurt Locker’ during the 2009 New York Variety Screening Series | Theo Wargo/WireImage

Anthony Mackie appeared in many movies before working with Marvel

Playing Sam Wilson aka Falcon in the MCU has been a huge career break for Mackie. But the actor put in many years of work before stepping into the superhero world alongside characters like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). In fact, he made his film debut a dozen years before working with Marvel, in 2002’s Eminem vehicle 8 Mile.

Mackie went on to star in several other hits in the years leading up to his MCU debut. These include The Manchurian Candidate, Million Dollar Baby, Real Steel, and Pain & Gain. He also made a brief yet impactful guest appearance in a 2003 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But none of these roles were the ones to get Mackie on Marvel Studios’ radar.

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The actor thinks this Oscar-winning movie led him to his MCU role

Rather, Mackie believes 2009 war thriller The Hurt Locker won over Marvel. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the movie was a critical darling and huge winner that awards season. The Hurt Locker even defeated the likes of Avatar, Up, and Inglourious Basterds to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. In an interview with Variety, Mackie just touched on how it impacted his career.

“I thought I would be able to move forward in my career and not have to jostle and position myself for work. To get into rooms with certain people. I thought my work would speak for itself. I didn’t feel a huge shift, but I 100% think that The Hurt Locker is the reason I got [2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier]”

Since Mackie plays a soldier in The Hurt Locker, it’s not a huge leap for him to play Sam Wilson. After all, Sam is also a trained soldier, albeit one who operates a state-of-the-art set of wings on missions. Marvel also brought on The Hurt Locker lead Jeremy Renner, who made his own MCU debut in 2011’s Thor. Mackie and Renner later appeared in four Marvel movies together.

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Anthony Mackie Compares Marvel to ‘Winning an Oscar’

Marvel’s Falcon might evolve to a new superhero role very soon

Fans of Mackie’s work in the MCU are probably loving The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. After all, the actor finally gets to claim the spotlight after seven years and six supporting roles in Marvel movies. And by the end of it, Sam Wilson might finally take on the mantle of Captain America.

Avengers: Endgame left audiences with the impression Sam was ready to take up Steve Rogers’ shield. But rather than jumping into a star-spangled Sam, Marvel is giving the character the time to earn the shield. Fans will no doubt be watching closely to see if he does embrace Steve’s legacy.