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SYFY WIRE The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' head writer teases Sam's 'ongoing struggle' as Captain America

By Josh Weiss

Last Friday, Marvel fans were sad to see the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That melancholy over having to wait seven weeks for a new MCU show — Loki — was somewhat alleviated when news broke that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head writer, Malcolm Spellman, had been tapped to co-write a fourth Captain America movie. No plot details were released, but it's probably not wrong to assume that the film is set to follow Sam Wilson's (Anthony Mackie) iteration of Cap.

While Marvel Studios or Disney have yet to confirm the cinematic project, Spellman did have a few choice words about Sam's future as the patriotic hero during an interview for the second episode of Marvel Studios' Assembled (now streaming on Disney+), which takes a deep dive into the production of Sam and Bucky's (Sebastian Stan) Lethal Weapon-inspired team-up. As Sam moves forward in his newly-assumed role as the Star Spangled Man, he'll be pushing back against centuries of racism and bigotry. Isaiah Bradley (played by Doctor Sleep's Carl Lumbly) is living proof that the U.S. wasn't ready for a super-soldier of color — even if they were willing to fight and die for their country.

"Isaiah is challenging Sam just on whether or not a Black man should be Captain America," Spellman explains in the making-of documentary. "He has that line where [he says] ‘They will never let a Black man be Captain America. And even if they would, no self-respecting Black man would ever want to be.’ We didn’t want Isaiah to be wrong about that. That’s gonna be part of [Sam’s] ongoing struggle. He says, ‘I know every time I pick the shield up, a portion of the world is gonna hate me for it.’ Sam’s gotta live with that as he goes off and tries to make this work."

"It’s been an emotional experience, especially in a time in which we live in now," adds Mackie. "For Marvel to give me the opportunity as a Black man from the South to become Captain America, I think says a lot. Not only about the work that I’ve put in to get to this point that they would entrust me with that, but the way that they’re hoping to change the way society looks at itself."

Mackie also touched on the relevancy of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which feels more topical than ever in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained plenty of momentum over the last year following the deaths of Black Americans — like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor — at the hands of police.

"It’s been jarring to me and surprising how timely this series is," the actor says near the end of Assembled's sophomore episode. "My truth has changed and evolved so much as far as me being a father; as far as me being a man; and as far as me being an American. A lot of that has come out of this role and this series. It’s been humbling in a real sense, but also inspiring to think that my sons will be able to turn on the TV and see a Black Captain America."

Sam taking on the mantle of Captain America is meant to represent a promise that things can get better. "It had to be bright and positive. There ultimately had to be a positive vibe to this sparkling person," adds series director Kari Skogland when discussing Sam's new costume. It echoes what the project's lead costume designer, Michael Crow, exclusively told SYFY WIRE: "Because there’s so much darkness in the show and [because] we’re dealing with so many issues we’re struggling with in reality, we wanted him to be a ray of light. This hope at the end of the show."

All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are now available to stream on Disney+.