In an interview with Variety, the actor shared that when he first auditioned for Marvel, he didn’t know what role he was trying out for. When he got the part and found out he was playing Captain America’s replacement, he initially balked. “My first reaction was like, ‘Ewwohhh, I don’t know if I’m your guy to do that,'” Russell said. “I kind of had some doubts.”
Russell ultimately took the part, of course, in part because he realized that John Walker is not a carbon copy of Steve Rogers. “I think there is a corporate aspect to the inception of his character as Captain America,” he shared. “I think that what you’re seeing now is him battling with, ‘How do I be me and deal with this corporation that is the U.S. government?’ It’s the only corporation he’s ever worked for and it’s worked very well for him in his life. Now he’s in this different world where there’s a PR aspect to it. He’s just been working in the clandestine world, most likely, where nobody really knows what he’s doing but he’s getting the job done. And now it’s like, okay, go do that as Captain America — and sometimes his version of getting the job done is a little bit not the same.”
Many Marvel fans will wholeheartedly agree that John Walker is very different from Chris Evans’ Cap character, and more than a few went out of their way to express their dislike of Walker on social media. “It’s flattering,” Russell said. “They just hate the guy. They just hate him! It was fun to be the Marvel punching bag for a little while.”
Chances are Walker’s character may become even more unlikeable as the series continues. But who knows — maybe Sam and Bucky will warm up to him? Probably not, but we’ll have to wait for the rest of the show to drop to find out.
New episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier air each Friday on Disney+.