The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fulfilled its promise of bringing big screen MCU action to Disney+. While WandaVision carved its own surreal path, this was much more familiar stuff that effectively felt like a new Captain America movie. Over the first season, we saw Sam Wilson struggle with being a black hero in modern America, Bucky trying to cope with his guilt for his crimes as the Winter Soldier, and newcomer Wyatt Russell’s John Walker crack under the pressure of holding the shield.
By the finale, Rogers’ decision to pass down the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson had been vindicated. With a shiny red, white and blue costume and Vibranium wings, the new Cap successfully stopped the Flag Smashers and delivered an inspiring speech about the right way to use power. But while the last episode finally saw Sam in action as the star-spangled hero, a recent interview has revealed exactly when he decided to take up the shield.
Speaking to USA Today, Mackie explained that he thinks the choice was made in the penultimate outing, saying:
“It was the training scene with Bucky, when they were throwing the shield. America struggles with acknowledgement, specifically acknowledgement for Black Americans and their contributions to what this country has become. It meant a lot to Sam just simply for Bucky to say, “I never considered what it would mean for a Black man to become Captain America.” That was the huge turning point for Sam. It was a cathartic experience, and his ability to release that pain and frustration in that moment turned that character completely on his head and moved him in the direction of accepting the idea of being Captain America.”
It’s to Marvel Studios’ credit that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier didn’t dodge any questions about how Sam might be treated as a black Captain America. While he’s acknowledged as a hero, he still had to deal with casual racism in various episodes, with the most unnerving instance being the moment he was stopped by Baltimore cops who initially didn’t recognize him. But, in a hopeful twist, Sam has concluded that while it’s an almost impossible burden to carry, he can only do what he feels is just.
We’ll next see him in the as-yet-untitled Captain America 4, which THR claims has been greenlit in the wake of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier being a success. Showrunner Marcus Spellman is currently co-writing the script with Dalan Musson and while that’s likely to be a ways off yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see characters from this series popping up in future Disney+ shows and upcoming movies.