‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Used Anthony Mackie’s Real-Life for Inspiration

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a superhero story, but it also focuses on the raw human experiences of ex-soldiers Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. And to ensure the lead stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan felt emotionally connected to their characters, showrunners utilized some of the actor’s real-life details.  

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier'
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ | Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ takes a deep dive into Sam and Bucky’s lives

Mackie and Stan first appeared as Sam and Bucky in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They then reprised their roles for subsequent Marvel films. But The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the first time audiences will get a glimpse into the characters’ personal lives. 

The show picks up with the superheroes five years after they vanished in Thanos’ snap/blip. And a few months after their mutual best friend, Steve Rogers handed off his Captain America title. The former soldiers are dealing with their own personal struggles — Bucky is making amends for all the people he killed, as Sam sorts out his family business. 

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Why Sam Wilson Resists Taking Captain America’s Title

“As you’ll see in the first episode and will see much more of over the course of the series. You’ll also learn who the heck they are,” Marvel boss Kevin Feige teased in a recent chat with Collider. “We know a little bit about poor Bucky Barnes and what he’s been through. With Sam Wilson, other than that he likes the job and is an inherently moral man, and had been in the service and worked with PTSD, we don’t know much about him. It was really an opportunity to go deep.”

Showrunners focused on design to enhance the characters’ story arcs

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes audiences inside Bucky and Sam’s homes. And it showcases details that aren’t in previous Marvel installments. As revealed by showrunner Kari Skogland, even small things like the characters’ home decor were taken into account. 

“Ray Chan was the production designer on this and he’s brilliant, and the [set decoration department] is also a huge part of that because they go in and they do the detail work of everything from what’s sitting on the table to what’s on the walls,” she told Collider. “They really bring the personal space alive.”

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Should ‘Impact’ the MCU Marvel Boss Confirms

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ uses some of the stars’ real-life details for inspiration

According to Skogland, Mackie and Stan played a big part in developing their characters.  For example, Mackie’s real-life hometown of New Orleans is used to create Sam’s back story. 

RELATED: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Who Has a Higher Net Worth, Anthony Mackie or Sebastian Stan?

“Sam is from Louisiana, so we did a real deep dive into Louisiana and all of the different parts of what that wanted to be,” Skogland told Collider. “Where he lived, where he came from. With other locations, same idea — with Bucky’s apartment, what that looked like was really important.”

“By the way, both actors are a very big part of that conversation,” she added. “Because I want them to be part of building their environment that we’re going to say is theirs. So they own it.”

New episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier air Fridays on Disney+.