TV Shows
Published April 16, 2021

Cast & Creative Behind 'The Falcon and The Winter Soldier' Discuss Patriotism, Supremacy, and Captain America's Mantle

The Undefeated hosts a roundtable discussion with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, series lead Anthony Mackie, and more to discuss the original series!

In a roundtable discussion for The Undefeated's Another Act series, the cast and creative minds behind Marvel Studios' The Falcon and The Winter Soldier join host Kelley Carter to talk about the final moment of Episode 4 "The Whole World Is Watching" and how the series tackles the ideas of patriotism, supremacy, and Captain America's mantle. Joining Kelley Carter in the discussion are stars Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Adepero Oduye (Sarah Wilson), and Wyatt Russell (John Walker), series director Kari Skogland, head writer Malcolm Spellman, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, executive producer Nate Moore, and co-executive producer Zoie Nagelhout.

Blood on the Shield and How It Changes the Symbol

Throughout the series so far, the show has been exploring what the shield means as a symbol. However, at the end of Episode 4, in a very public display, John Walker executes a Flag Smasher with Captain America's shield. 

"Steve Rogers, to some degree, was the ideal, not of America, but [of] doing the right thing and always having the best intentions," shares Nate Moore. "As soon as you put blood on the idea of something, I think that's pretty powerful. Everybody in the show is struggling with the ideal because the ideal is not the reality anymore."

"For Sam, for Bucky, for John Walker, for Karli, for Sharon. Everybody's trying to reconcile the notion of the ideal with reality," continues Moore. "And the reality is, again, as soon as you put blood on that shield, and you see it in the fans' reaction, there's a visceral 'You can't do that.' You cannot collide the ideal with reality because they're incongruent; there is a dissonance there."

"In terms of the blood, it's like, again, the reality. Sometimes people need to see blood for it to get real," adds Adepero Oduye, who plays Sam Wilson's sister Sarah, "Many people have already known that that was a factor, but some people are oblivious until can't be oblivious to it anymore."

The Social Commentary of the Shield

"For Sam, it's a constant battle of how do you fight for a country that's never fought for you," remarks Anthony Mackie, before explaining, "In many ways, the one thing that held up the moniker of that shield was the idea of who Steve Rogers was."

"In its best version, the show is an interrogation about what it means to be an American and what it means to be patriotic," states Moore. "And especially to Anthony's point, from Sam's point of view, what does that all mean as he's trying to struggle with the mantle of Captain America. And the truth is, the sad truth is, these are images we see in our everyday lives, and we wouldn't be truthful storytellers if we didn't confront those ideas."

Moore adds, "While I don't think our intention was to rip from the headlines [of] what is happening, I do think thematically, it is sort of interesting to interrogate that idea, and figure out how then do you reconcile this this thing that, again, is a symbol of the ideal with the reality of how sometimes it is deployed. Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes have to get their heads around if there should even be a Captain America moving forward."

Echoing Moore, based on the comments he's seen online, Malcolm Spellman states, "People think there was an agenda there." In explaining John Walker's action with the shield, Spellman states, "You want to be tell the best story possible, and the messed up thing is, that scene in that moment, is inevitable if you're trying to tell a good story." Spellman notes that fans who call the series "woke" would call the series out if they try to "deliberately write around an obvious moment," which unfortunately is the "hard truth" of it. 

Watch the full roundtable above of the cast and creatives behind the series with The Undefeated!

Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is now streaming exclusively on Disney+!

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