A little over three weeks ago, Marvel Studios concluded the Disney+ run for its second streaming exclusive, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This series followed the continuing adventures of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in a post-Blip MCU world, concluding with Sam finally taking over the mantle of Captain America.
Throughout the MCU's new era of streaming storytelling, the franchise has done everything in its power to give more depth and character development to heroes coming into starring roles for the first time. This was particularly the case with Sam as fans saw him spend time with his family while struggling with becoming the MCU's new Captain America.
In the latest chat with the series' head writer, this subject is broached in full once again.
MALCOLM SPELLMAN TALKS SAM WILSON'S STRUGGLES
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head writer Malcolm Spellman took an in-depth look at Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson and his struggles with becoming Captain America in an interview on the Everybody Loves A Good Story YouTube Channel.
When asked about Sam having to take on more responsibilities in his new role, Spellman looked back at the hero's first MCU scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The head writer commented on how "even though they weren’t really trying to emphasize it," fans looked at Sam as someone "who will work twice as hard as anybody out there" to get where he needs to be in the Russo brothers-directed movie:
“One thing we talked about a lot is how much MCU fans responded to that scene when Steve’s running around the lake and Sam’s running with him. Even though they weren’t really trying to emphasize it, I think everybody came away feeling like ‘Man, this is a motherf***er who will work twice as hard as anybody out there, Sam.’ Right? I don’t know why, I don’t know if they meant it like that, but if you go look at the chatter around that, that’s how people took it, right?"
Spellman continued to emphasize "the idea of Sam coming from his background" and embracing his African-American roots, expecting "to work twice as hard to get half as far." He spoke on the intensity of people like Mackie's character, feeling that this development "was totally consistent with who Sam is" in his first Disney+ show:
"So when we started this thing, we had the idea of Sam coming from his background, right, has bought into the identity politics and Black excellence, right? Meaning this: I expect to work twice as hard to get half as far. I accept that in life, I don’t think nothing different is gonna happen for me. And so, those kinds of people, when you meet them kind of people who are hella intense. Do you have any friends who tell you ‘Hey dawg, I’m about to start playing guitar,’ right? And you don’t see them! You don’t see that motherf***er for two months, and when they come back, they’re really playing guitar, and you knew they would! So we felt like it was totally consistent with who Sam is. Once it’s time to get serious about the superhero-ing in these battles, that’s what Sam is gonna push at and be the best he can be.”
Spellman also touched on the fact that, during Sam Wilson's two encounters with Georges St-Pierre's Batroc the Leaper in the series, the new Captain America never defeated the mercenary. The writer teased that Sam's disadvantage in not actually having traditional superpowers to battle enemies is "gonna be his conflict moving forward" further along in Phase 4.
Continuing on that thought, Spellman referenced the 1988 action movie Die Hard.
He commented on the fact that what made the movie so good "wasn’t who Bruce Willis beat," but rather "what he went through to beat them." This seems to be how he hopes people view heroes like Sam Wilson in the MCU:
“And it’s appropriate. In the action genre, what made Die Hard a classic wasn’t who Bruce Willis beat. It was what he went through to beat them. He’s walking through glass with no shoes on, you know what I’m saying? You’re taking that beating, that’s what people can identify with. It’s like ‘Hey man, this motherf***er’s just like me!’ And taking on the bad guys, and what better to root for than that?”
A HERO FOR ALL IN THE MCU
Sam Wilson continues to make a name for himself as a hero who may not have any extraordinary abilities, but simply does his best to push people to be better at every turn.
In that same light, it will be interesting to see what exactly Sam's struggles turn out to be as he continues his MCU journey. Batroc may be gone after this series, but there are assuredly plenty of other capable villains that the hero will have to go up against as he develops further into Captain America.
The hope is that this will start to show itself in Captain America 4, although there are no plot details or hints to what will actually become of Sam's next adventure. Regardless of the specifics, Anthony Mackie appears ready to take on that challenge as he becomes more familiar with his new shield and Wakandan set of wings.
All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are available to stream on Disney+.
The full interview can be seen below: