Having been anointed as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Captain America, Wyatt Russell knew there were going to be a lot of fans unhappy with the decision, but sending death threats in his direction because he’s not Chris Evans or Anthony Mackie is definitely several steps too far.
The actor was braced for the hate he would be getting from those who would much rather see Sam Wilson suit up as the next Cap rather than John Walker, but that’s the entire point of the storyline. Sam had the opportunity to keep hold of the iconic shield but willingly gave it up, and the government didn’t waste any time in naming Steve’s successor.
It’s created an interesting dynamic, with Wilson being the preferred candidate of both the original Captain America and the MCU’s fans, putting Walker in the unenviable position of living up to the legacy of being the nation’s star-spangled protector. He’s just trying to do the best he can, although his comic book history indicates that he’s more than willing to go about it in a much different fashion, and in a new interview, Russell defended his character’s motivations for taking on the role.
“He’s just trying to do his job. ‘You took away the memory of our friend’. Yeah, I don’t think that he realizes that as much. I don’t think he’s as aware of that as much as he’s just trying to do his job as whatever version of Captain America they’ve said he should be. And as far as Sam and Bucky go, I think he’s just trying to do the best that he can to try and get them to be on his team without fully understanding the depth of what he’s asking them to do. Because he didn’t know Steve, he didn’t know all the information that they knew.”
“That’s part of what Sam and Bucky need to come to terms with, too. It’s like, Sam gave up the shield. What did you expect, dude? You know, ‘If you give up the shield, what do you expect?’. And that’s what Sam’s having to wrestle with too, which makes it interesting. He’s wrestling with his own decision, it’s not decisions made for him. And you know, it’s like you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry, and that’s a little bit of what Sam’s having to deal with now, and that’s an interesting part of the story.”
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Legacy is one of the driving forces behind the entirety of the MCU’s Phase Four, and while most of us are expecting Sam to have reclaimed what’s his by the time the sixth and final episode airs in a few weeks, it’ll be fascinating to see how we reach that point. After all, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is clearly setting Wilson and Walker up for a major collision, one that could have huge ramifications for both the title of Captain America and the franchise itself.