The entire buildup towards The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has largely focused on whether or not Sam Wilson would end up permanently inheriting the mantle of Captain America from his longtime friend Steve Rogers. And the premiere of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s second episodic series appeared to answer that question with a resounding no, leaving Sam with his head in his hands.
After kindly donating Cap’s iconic shield to a museum because he didn’t feel like it belonged to him, the duplicitous government then went ahead and installed somebody else in the role. Wyatt Russell’s John Walker made his MCU debut at the very end of the episode, but anyone with knowledge of the comic books knows that he’s far from the clean-cut hero his predecessor was.
It’s an interesting spin in a show that’s all about legacy, and there’s plenty of mystery to unravel surrounding John Walker. In a new interview, Russell opened up a bit about his role and admitted that nobody can play Captain America like Chris Evans. Thankfully, then, he’s in the fortunate position where he’s been asked to do pretty much the exact opposite of everything the franchise’s former Cap stood for.
That was a really different version of Captain America, with far less problems. He was fighting Nazis and he had less internal issues to deal with because everyone thought he was perfect. That’s just so hard to play, and he did such a great job of actually bringing some conflict with the character. He’s perfect. Who else can play Captain America like Chris Evans? Nobody. And what’s good about this show is that it takes that in hand, where it’s like, ‘Well, who else is going to play Captain America? This guy?’.
I don’t think there’s really been many characters who’ve had quite the dilemma he’s had in terms of trying to fit into this sort of moralistic superhero world. He’s been thrust into this role as Captain America and he’s going to do it his way, and he wants to do it right. But his way is a very specific way that he has learned through being basically a trained human hunter. I mean, that’s what Marines are. They’re not Steve Rogers, they’re not the same. They’re not like Boy Scouts anymore. They’re a little bit more gnarly. There’s always an element of reality where it’s like, well, sometimes you need that guy, and it’s not always pretty. It’s fun to play those characters because they’re always at odds with themselves. They’re always at odds with their own abilities and with their own moral compass. They know what is right, kind of, but they also want to win and they battle with that.”
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s first outing was all about setting the stage, and we still haven’t seen the two title heroes reconnect just yet, while Zemo was also notably absent. The relatively brief six-episode run means that the pace is going to pick up significantly over the next five weeks, though, and it’ll be interesting to see what the real motivations are behind John Walker stepping up to the plate as Steve Rogers’ hand-picked successor as America’s symbol and beacon of hope.