Wyatt Russell Really Enjoyed Playing the Villain on ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

Wyatt Russell received mixed responses from Marvel fans who watched the recently-aired Marvel TV series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Russell, who is a newcomer to the Marvel cinematic universe, was cast to play John Walker, otherwise known as U.S. Agent, on the hit show. 

Russell’s character, Walker, is a merciless assassin who the U.S. government uses to maintain peace and handle global issues, but his lack of humanity makes him the complete opposite of Steve Rogers. In fact, his cold demeanor made him one of the least popular characters on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Despite how fans have reacted to his character, Russell enjoyed his time playing John Walker. For Russell, seeing that everyone hates him means he knows he’s doing a good job. 

Wyatt Russell liked playing the villain in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

Wyatt Russell during an interview at 'The Tonight Show' on November 13, 2018
Wyatt Russell during an interview at ‘The Tonight Show’ on November 13, 2018 | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Russell talked about the joys of playing a show’s most-hated character during a recent interview with Seth Myers.

“Yeah, it’s a blast,” Russell said. “Part of what it was when I had my interview with the producers and the director was trying to figure out something different to do to bring to Captain America or the Marvel Universe in some way that I thought could be maybe unique.”

Russell noted that he felt more inclined to deliver a moving performance because Marvel is such a massive franchise. 

“Just ‘cause you’re entering a pretty big machine,” Russell said. “And as a cog in a wheel, you want to be able to help it work, make it good. And so that was the aim. And that’s the… [chuckles] The elicited response that has been from the Marvel fan universe is pretty great.” 

He felt like he was the Marvel punching bag 

In a separate interview with BBC Radio 1, Russell stated that because his character has been so polarizing, he’s become Marvel’s newest punching bag. However, he feels that truly engaging characters are supposed to make viewers feel that way. 

“That’s the point, he’s supposed to be polarizing,” Russell said. “So, that polarization aspect, that’s the serviceable aspect of the character, and why I honestly thought it was interesting. “I’ve been saying being a Marvel punching bag is sort of like a badge of honor. So I’ll wear it proudly.” 

Because Russell hadn’t really played a villain or anti-hero in the past, landing his role as John Walker was a unique challenge. In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, Russell admitted that he has way more fun playing polarizing characters.

“Polarizing people are fun to play,” Russell said. “They’re fun to play as an actor, and if you can do that and do it in a way that is believable, hopefully people really won’t like you. And I’ve never really played a very unlikeable person, so it’s been fun, it’s been super fun, I’ve gotta be honest, to have been received that way … And other times you’re like, ‘But I’m a nice guy!’”

He felt honored to be disliked by Marvel fans 

At the end of the day, Russell understands that Marvel fans are extremely passionate, and doesn’t take their reactions too seriously. He told USA Today that being disliked by the Marvel fandom might not be such a bad thing. 

“[Movies and TV shows] are there to make people feel emotions, and I’m hoping that that’s what this show can do for people. Hopefully, they don’t hate me too much … it would be an honor, I guess, to be disliked in the Marvel universe”