Not every actor to sign on for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs to immerse themselves in the lore that’s been painstakingly crafted by Kevin Feige and his countless collaborators over the last thirteen years, but it certainly helps, especially if you’re taking on a monumental challenge in replacing Chris Evans as Captain America like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Wyatt Russell.
Of course, if you were to ask a fan why there’s a new Cap in town, they’d tell you it’s obviously because Steve Rogers went back in time after the Avengers saved the universe from Thanos and restored the 50% of all living creatures that vanished in the Snap, so he could live out the rest of his days with Peggy Carter, returning to the present day as an old man to hand the shield over to his close friend and chosen successor Sam Wilson.
The only issue was, when Russell was meeting with the studio to discuss the role of John Walker in the MCU’s second episodic series, he was completely clueless about the inner workings of the franchise’s canon, to the extent that he had to have everything spelled out in front of him so he could use it to inform his portrayal of the government’s preferred star-spangled candidate.
“I didn’t grow up knowing much about comic books. My heroes were athletes so when I came on set, I was asking like, ‘Well, what does that mean? Who is that person? How do they fit in?’. Finally, Sebastian was like, ‘Dude, stop asking questions. you’re gonna get more confused than you are. When you get answers, it’s gonna be worse’.
They showed me a picture of the guy and I was like, ‘Oh, alright! Yeah!’. And then they start running me through the stuff, like, ‘So, you know, when Thanos snaps his fingers..’, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’. And then, finally, fifteen minutes into the explanation of why I am who I am, I had to look at [producer Zoie Nagelhout] and go, ‘I’m really sorry Zoie, I don’t know any of this. You’ll have to start from the beginning’. And she ran me through everything and they were super nice about it. It kind of works for the character, because he’s new and he’s not part of the old universe. But it was semi-embarrassing to be in the Marvel office, going, ‘I don’t know’.”
MORE FROM THE WEB
It clearly wasn’t a deal-breaker that Russell wasn’t plugged into the minutiae of the MCU before boarding The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, despite how all-encompassing it’s become as part of popular culture. And he’s also right in saying it could ultimately benefit his performance as John Walker in the long run given that he has no ties whatsoever to the Infinity Saga, giving him a blank slate to put his own stamp on the new Cap.