The sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger was officially confirmed by Disney in April and with the release date announcement came a brief logline for the film which placed the story of the followup taking place directly after the events of The Avengers where Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) would continue working for Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. With that announcement alone we could speculate as to what other characters could return and rumors had Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow having a larger role where their relationship and backstory could be explored.
Come time for Comic-Con in July, Marvel Studios revealed the official title for the sequel (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) which, in a rather self-explanatory fashion, confirmed that Sebastian Stan’s Bucky character would be back as well. That title doesn’t leave much to the imagination as to what Marvel Comics stories Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay will be drawing ideas from and so it wasn’t surprising to see reports of Anthony Mackie joining the franchise to play Falcon the day after Comic-Con.
Mackie’s involvement have since been confirmed and while attending an event for 10 Years, the 33-year-old actor couldn’t avoid questions about playing the character of Sam Wilson aka Falcon. Fans will be happy to hear that despite Mackie being a busy boy recently with key roles in a large amount of high profile films, he’ll be dedicating all of his time going forward to prepare to fight the good fight as an ally of Captain America and a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. for when filming on Captain America 2 begins next March.
“He’s known for his physique. He’s described as 6’3″, 245 pounds, so starting Monday, for the next five months until we start shooting, I’m going back to high-school workouts and start doing two-a-days, so I get up to 230 pounds. I’m going to try not to get a job between now and then, so I can really focus on this. Because Chris Evans is in such good shape! I’m just a dude he dragged into the lab that he injected with some shit, but I got to stand next to him. So we shall see!”
In reality Mackie stands 5’10″ opposite 6′ Chris Evans. In the comics, Sam Wilson earned his unique ability to link with his companion falcon thanks to the Red Skull using the Tesseract (Cosmic Cube) on him. His ability to fly comes via a harness he wears, designed by Black Panther. If what Mackie says jokingly about being injected a lab is true, Falcon’s origins may be altered for the film adaptation to potentially make him part of a new super soldier program. With the Tesseract being taken back to Asgard by Thor at the end of The Avengers and Black Panther seemingly (read: sadly) becoming a less likely character to get his own film, that may be a necessity. That plot point would also fall in line with rumors that General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) from The Incredible Hulk could return.
As for stepping into the shoes of the first African-American superhero (Black Panther was introduced into comics three years earlier but wasn’t American), Mackie couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity.
“It’s amazing. The biggest part of it is, I think kids for so long have been looking for a role model or someone to look up to. I feel like this being truly the first African American superhero, being introduced in this movie and in this way, I feel like it’s going to be great.”
Mackie is bulking up, but how close to his classic comic book duds (above, flying alongside Bucky as Captain America) will he look in costume?
“Marvel is really weird, because they don’t let you look at the script. They’re like, ‘Listen, we brought back Robert Downey Jr., so you might want to be down with us (laughs). But there’s going to be a lot of Anthony in a tight suit kicking ass. Everybody wanted me in spandex, and now you’ve got it — hours of it!”
Much like Hawkeye, who went from purple tights and a mask to a much more practical SHIELD vest, expect Mackie’s Falcon to wear a uniform less colorful and more like the Ultimate Falcon outfit. If he looks anything like the below image, Falcon may steal the show:
Depending on how much of The Winter Soldier storyline from the books will be maintained in the film, Captain America 2 will serve as a SHIELD movie of sorts with a potential team dynamic comparable to The Avengers – especially if Marvel Studios and directors Anthony & Joe Russo are able to bring Jeremy Renner and Black Widow into the fold, alongside Cap, Falcon and Agent Sharon Carter. Hawkeye and Black Widow may be a stretch at this point, but Falcon’s strong relationship with Captain America (all of them who’ve worn the star-spangled suit) and Agent Carter will most definitely carry through from the books, potentially with a story involving A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics – appearing in Iron Man 3) and appearance by Iron Man.
There’s a lot of ground to cover from The Winter Soldier story arc from the comics and much of it could be reserved for the inevitable Captain America 3 after The Avengers 2. Can you imagine Sebastian Stan’s Bucky taking over the Captain America role (and suit) years down the road? For now, we have at least two key characters from the books making their first appearance. Who are your most excited to see introduced in Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases on April 4, 2014.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Ultimate Falcon cover art by Kaare Andrews.