Sam Wilson Stands In Glory | The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
S1E6: One World, One People | Written By: Malcolm Spellman & Jeff Sawyer
The season finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was a powerful demonstration of redemption as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) courageously takes on the arc of Captain America. (And now we’re getting a Captain America 4 movie with Mackie leading!)
Throughout the season, Sam has grappled with the weight of being the successor of his friend Steve Rogers, who passed the shield to him at the end of Avengers: Endgame, influencing his decision to donate it to the Captain America museum much to the anger of an offended Bucky (Sebastian Stan).
“Maybe Steve was wrong about you. And if he was wrong about you then he was wrong about me,” Bucky exclaimed.
It was until their conversation in episode 5 where Bucky has an awakening of Sam’s experience and apologized, saying, “When Steve told me what he was planning I don’t think either of us really understood what it felt like for a Black man to be handled the shield. How could we?”
Sam’s internal battle of being “the chosen” one comes ahead when he and Bucky are forced to fight John Walker (Wyatt Russell) for the shield and Walker kills a member of the Flag Smashers in broad daylight as bystanders watched.
After Karli dies after being shot by Sharon Carter, he carries her to emergency personnel and is faced with members of the GRC, who share their gratitude for “dealing with those terrorists.”
“You have to stop calling them terrorists,” he said.
In the powerful scene, Wilson challenges the senator as the world watches, including Isaiah Brantley, of being a Black man carrying the mantle of Captain America in a society that doesn’t deem him as worthy of it.
“I’m a Black man carrying the stars and stripes. What don’t I understand? Every time I pick this thing up I know there’s millions of people out there who are going to hate me for it. Even now, here, I feel it. The stares, the judgment, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. Yet I’m still here. No super serum, no blonde hair, or blue eyes. The only power I have is that I believe we can do better. We can’t demand that people step up and we don’t meet them halfway.”
“But the question is, who’s in the room with you when you’re making those decisions? Is it the people you’re going to impact or is it just more people like you?”
Of the many people watching is Isaiah Bradley, the forgotten super-soldier, who in the comic books was the first Black Captain America. After telling Sam the traumatic 30-year experience of being jailed and experimented on, he made it clear that “they will never let a Black man be Captain America and even if they did, no self-respecting Black man would ever wanna be.”
Isaiah’s bitterness is yet another thing that he silently carries with him. If he stands to change the world as he has always desired, he intends to create a ripple effect where needed.
The raw emotion of standing in his glory meant recovering Isaiah’s history, recognizing those who looked like him who suffered for this country with nothing to show for it.
The scene where Sam walks Isaiah and his nephew through the Captain America museum where Isaiah and the experience of his Black super soldiers. Most importantly, it was the ripple effect Sam intends to create to “change the world.”
“Now they’ll never forget what you did for this country. Never.”
In an interview with USA Today. Mackie spoke of the significance of potentially playing a Black Captain America on the big screen.
“The idea of being the title character in a Marvel movie, there’s no words to describe that, especially as a Black actor,” Mackie said. “Black actors don’t get those opportunities. And to have that opportunity, for all the work that I had to do, the 11 years of training, all the stuff that I had to do to get here, it would be a monumental feat.”