Anthony Mackie is returning to the role of Sam Wilson on Disney+'s latest series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier — and this time he's got Captain America's shield! Steve Rogers handed his shield over to Sam when he stepped down as Cap at the end of Avengers: Endgame, but Sam had some hesitations about whether he should take over that mantle from his friend.
Disney+ explores the aftermath of that handover in six-part spinoff The Falcon And The Winter Soldier which sees Sam teaming up with Cap's closest friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka The Winter Soldier. The superhero odd couple are brought together on a mission to fight back against the threat posed by an anti-patriot group called The Flag Smashers.
Anthony Mackie has played Sam in six MCU movies to date after making his debut in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the chance to reprise the part in his own spinoff on Disney+ was an opportunity the actor couldn't resist.
(If you're looking to get caught up on it all, be sure to check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order.)
Here Anthony, 42, reveals what we can expect from the series — and how it deepened his understanding of the character...
Anthony Mackie on playing Sam Wilson again
How does Sam feel now about inheriting the shield from Steve Rogers?
"In Endgame, Sam had a specific line where he says 'the shield doesn't feel like mine, it feels like someone else's'. He told Steve that he didn't want the shield because he wasn't Captain America, Steve was. So, going into the show, it was very important for me to carry that energy and that storyline, because we are on the heels of us coming back from the Blip. In today's society, around the world there's a civil unrest, so the idea of Sam taking up the moniker of Captain America is more of a global identity situation than an American identity situation — there's a certain pride and strength but also about the confusion about the idea of what Sam would look like, or exist as, as Captain America."
MORE: How to watch Disney+ on Apple TV
How much does working with the Winter Soldier remind him of Captain America?
"The Winter Soldier doesn't remind The Falcon of Captain America at all — if there's one thing that's the antithesis of what Captain America was to Sam Wilson, it's Bucky Barnes! He appreciates him and he respects him as Steve's friend, but other than that, he has a fine line of how far he'll let Bucky go, and he'll cut him off there as quickly as possible."
Did you discover anything new about Sam while making this series?
"I think the show really put me in a position to understand Sam more, to really want to develop him and show the other side of Sam. It only supported the character that I've been able to develop in the past few movies, over the past few years, and really deepened him for me. So personally, when I go back to him in a movie or something like that, I have a much clearer idea of who Sam is and how he fits into this universe."
What did you get up to during your downtime on set?
"Fishing! That's my hobby. In the area we were shooting in, they had all these lakes on the property, so in between takes I would run out, grab my fishing rod, and catch some fish on set. There's pictures of me on set, in full gear, fishing — and then the dude who owned the property complained, so I had to sneak and fish! But I caught some whoppers, five- and six-pounders, which people were very impressed with."
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier launches exclusively on Disney+ on Friday March 19.
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