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Exclusive: Anthony Mackie on why he was hesitant about Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Falcon and The Winter Soldier
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Falcon and the Winter Soldier is about to soar onto screens, but Anthony Mackie wasn't always convinced that a Marvel series about his character and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes would be a good idea. In fact, the actor took some convincing to reprise his role of Sam Wilson for the Disney Plus spin-off.

"To be honest, I’ve had trepidation from the beginning. I was really afraid of the idea," the actor tells GamesRadar+’s sister publication SFX Magazine in the new issue. " Working on so many Marvel projects, and seeing the end result and the effect that they have on people, I was afraid that the quality of the production would be taken down for television. I was afraid that you can’t do things on television that you can do in theatres.

"Seeing people’s reactions to Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame in the theatres, and hearing the connection that the audience members have with these characters... that’s every actor’s dream, to affect an audience and expose them to a different way of looking at culture and the world around us. I was really afraid that I wouldn’t have that opportunity to step out on that ledge like the actors before me had. 

"But once we talked, and once they brought on [showrunner] Malcolm [Spellman] and [director] Kari [Skogland], I knew it was going to be something different. Kari is a phenomenal leader, and Malcolm is an amazing writer. And [Marvel Studios boss] Kevin [Feige] promised me that it wasn’t going to be different. He’s not going to tarnish the Marvel brand by trying to just blow out as much content as he could. And I trusted him on that. They haven’t let me down yet, so I just went along for the ride on faith of their past work. And I was really pleasantly surprised by how great everything turned out."

Falcon and the Winter Soldier proved itself to be a way of further exploring the Sam Wilson character, with showrunner Spellman getting Mackie's input on scripts. After all, he's been Falcon for seven years – no-one else knows the character like him.

You can check out the full interview with the team behind Falcon and the Winter Soldier in the current issue of SFX Magazine, which features the Marvel show on the cover. The show will stream weekly on Disney Plus from March 19. For more from SFX, make sure to sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Tara Bennett

Tara is the NYT bestselling author (or co-author) of 30 movie and TV companion books including the upcoming official history of Marvel Studios. She's also a freelance journalist with bylines at print and online publications such as: SCI FI Magazine, Total Film, SYFY Wire,, Fandom, Fandango/, Fancast, Newsarama, Star Wars: Insider, Walking Dead Magazine, Star Trek Magazine, LOST: The Official Magazine, Alias Magazine, 24 Magazine, and She is also the U.S. Editor for the world’s premiere sci-fi/fantasy publication, SFX Magazine. She is the host and producer for SYFY Wire’s official podcasts for USA Network’s, Colony, HISTORY's Project Blue Book official podcast, and the Lost retrospective, Through the Looking Glass co-hosted with Maureen Ryan.