Anthony Mackie Talks Playing “Falcon” In ‘Captain America 2’
Anthony Mackie says he’s thrilled to play Marvel’s first african american superhero. Production doesn’t start until next March for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but ‘Hurt Locker’ star Anthony Mackie isn’t wasting any time preparing for his debut as the iconic winged hero…Falcon. He’s already devouring stacks of Captain America and the Falcon comics from the 70s, specifically Steve Englehart’s defining contributions to the character. And just as he’s gotten his hands on some stimulating reading material, intense training will begin for the physically taxing aspects of the role. So when Website Coming Soon sat down with Mackie about playing Sam Wilson it was clear, Mackie’s taking this role…very seriously. Actually, most actors who are given a mega opportunity like a Marvel character would take it seriously, at the very least….but for rising star Anthony Mackie it’s different. Mackie wants to make sure he does Marvel’s first true african american superhero…justice. He said, quote, “It makes me feel like all the work I’ve done has been paying off. I have a son, nephews and nieces, and I love the idea that they can dress up as the Falcon on Halloween. They now have someone they can idolize. That’s a huge honor for me.”
For those of you not familiar with the Falcon here’s how Mackie describes him…He’s this guy in Harlem who moved to California and became a drug dealer. His plane crashed, and he was genetically altered, and he can fly, has telepathic powers. Mackie admitted he found the seedy backstory of his character to be interesting, and he’s not sure how much of Sam “Snap” wilson’s criminal persona will make it into the movie. Of course Falcon isn’t Marvel’s first superhero of african descent, before him came Black Panther… an african from the fictional country of Wakanda. Three years after the Falcon’s first appearance in 1969 came Luke Cage the first african american series star Marvel had ever seen…followed by Storm, Marvel’s first African American female superhero. Rumor has it Marvel plans to bring Black Panther and Luke Cage to the big screen but no word yet on when that will happen.
Appearing alongside Mackie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Chris Evans reprising his role as steve rodgers and Sebastian Stan starring as Bucky Barnes. Until Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theatres in 2014 you can catch Mackie in Gangster Squad, a picture of the los angeles police department and their fight against crime in the forties and fifties. Don’t forget to subscribe to clevver movies for more news on the Captain America sequel and all your favorite movies…I’m Simone Boyce in Hollywood and thanks for watching.
The Falcon, accompanied by Redwing.
The Falcon, real name Samuel Wilson, is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan, and introduced in Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969), the character is mainstream comics’ first African-American superhero. Marvel’s previously introduced Black Panther is African, a native of the fictional country Wakanda. The Falcon followed the company’s first African-American co-starring character, the non-superpowered World War II soldier Gabe Jones, and first regular supporting character, Joe Robertson of The Amazing Spider-Man. The Falcon debuted nearly three years before Luke Cage, Marvel’s first African-American series star, and almost six years before the African character Storm, the first black female. The Falcon is also the first superhero of African descent not to have the word “black” as part of his superhero name, preceding the John Stewart Green Lantern by over two years. (The first African-American starring character in comics is Dell Comics‘ Old West gunfighter Lobo, introduced in 1965.)
The Falcon’s deceased nephew was the Incredible Hulk‘s sometime-sidekick Jim Wilson, one of the first openly HIV-positive comic-book characters. Jim Wilson’s father Gideon Wilson would go on to join the Gamma Corps. Gideon would presumably be Sam’s older brother. Sam also has a sister named Sarah Casper and a niece named Jody Casper.
The Falcon, the first African-American superhero in mainstream comic books, first appeared in Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969). Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan, he came about, Colan recalled in 2008,
“…in the late 1960s [when news of the] Vietnam War and civil rights protests were regular occurrences, and Stan, always wanting to be at the forefront of things, started bringing these headlines into the comics. … One of the biggest steps we took in this direction came in Captain America. I enjoyed drawing people of every kind. I drew as many different types of people as I could into the scenes I illustrated, and I loved drawing black people. I always found their features interesting and so much of their strength, spirit and wisdom written on their faces. I approached Stan, as I remember, with the idea of introducing an African-American hero and he took to it right away. … I looked at several African-American magazines, and used them as the basis of inspiration for bringing The Falcon to life.”
He was introduced as an unnamed former resident of New York City‘s Harlem neighborhood, who had adopted a wild falcon he trained and named Redwing. (His own name, Sam Wilson, was not given until page five of the following issue.) When a group of men on an island “in the tropics” wanted a hunting falcon, Wilson answered the ad, only to discover that the self-dubbed “Exiles” were former Nazis in league with the supervillain the Red Skull. He escaped, but remained on the island to organize the natives to confront the Exiles, who had turned them into serfs. At the urging of Steve Rogers, whom he later learned was Captain America, Wilson took on the costumed identity of the Falcon and underwent training with Rogers in order to better inspire the villagers and lead the fight.
Through most of the 1970s, the Falcon and Captain America were a team in New York City, and the series was cover-billedCaptain America and the Falcon from issues #134-192 and 194-222 (Feb. 1971 – June 1978), though still copyrighted asCaptain America. In issue #186 (June 1975), writer Steve Englehart retconned aspects of the Falcon’s past. Originally depicted as a former social worker, motivated by a desire to better the lives of inner-city youth, the Falcon was revealed as a mob-connected thug and pimp whose memories were altered by the reality-warping Cosmic Cube.
The Falcon briefly joined the superhero team the Defenders, appearing in issues #62-64 (Aug.–Oct.1978), and was a member of the Avengers from issues #183-194 (May 1979 – April 1980). He starred in his own four-issue miniseries in 1983, written by Jim Owsley. Its first issue was illustrated by Paul Smith with the final three issues by Mark Bright. The series revealed that the Falcon was a mutant, although this development was later retconned.
After regularly appearing in Captain America vol. 2 (Nov. 1996 – Nov. 1997), the Falcon rejoined the Avengers in The Avengersvol. 3, #1 (Feb. 1998). This time, he remained with the team, becoming one of its most prominent members by issue #57 (Oct. 2002). Concurrently, he was also a supporting character in Captain America vols. 3-4 (Jan. 1998 – Feb. 2002 and June 2002 – Dec. 2004). The Falcon next appeared in the short-lived Captain America and the Falcon series, in 2004 and 2005. After the events of the storyline “Avengers Disassembled,” when the Scarlet Witch temporarily restored his criminal personality, the Falcon became a supporting character in Captain America vol. 5 (Jan. 2005 – July 2009). The Falcon continued to play a significant role in the series after it returned to its original numbering, beginning with Captain America #600 (Aug. 2009).
Falcon will appear as part of the Avengers in the Marvel NOW! relaunch.
Samuel Thomas Wilson was born in Harlem, New York City, to Paul Wilson, a prominent minister, and Darlene Wilson. Wilson has a happy childhood and finds he has a natural affinity for birds. He takes up training pigeons, and has the largest pigeon coop in Harlem. In his teens, however, encounters with racism leave him jaded. When he is 16, Wilson refuses to join the church, believing his deeply religious parents to be ignorant for their faith. To his surprise, rather than put up a fight, his parents provide him with books on different religions and comparative theology. The next night, however, Sam’s father is killed trying to break up a neighborhood fight. Two years later, his mother is shot and killed by a mugger one block from their apartment. Consumed by grief and “angry at the world” Sam turns his back on his past as a respected community volunteer. He moves to Los Angeles and creates a new persona: “Snap” Wilson, a professional criminal, gang member, and pimp.
While “Snap” is on his way to “a big score in Rio de Janeiro“, his plane crashes on Exile Island (years later, he would say “I actually loved this place quite a bit. It’s where I met my two best friends,” referring to Captain America and Redwing). The once-peaceful island had been taken over by the Exiles, a group of would-be world conquerors who had collaborated with the Nazisupervillain the Red Skull during World War II. More recently, they had been betrayed by the Red Skull, and were forced to remain in hiding on the island, enslaving the natives. Wilson finds and befriends Redwing, a falcon which he feels a remarkably strong bond with.
Becoming the Falcon
The Red Skull uses the Cosmic Cube, a creation that allows its user to alter reality, to mentally fuse Wilson with Redwing, creating a “super-normal mental link” that would, with time and concentration, give Wilson broad powers over all birds.Next, the Skull uses the Cube to rewrite the past and remove the years Wilson had spent angrily living as “Snap”. In this new history, Wilson was an upright and cheerful social worker who is eventually lured to the Exiles’ island and organizes the natives to fight for their freedom. Steve Rogers (Captain America) befriends him there and convinces Wilson to adopt a persona to inspire the natives in their rebellion. The two create the costumed persona the Falcon, and train together extensively before attacking and defeating the Exiles and the Red Skull. The Falcon becomes Captain America’s regular partner in crime-fighting, and briefly even takes on the Captain America costume and identity when Rogers is believed to have been killed.
Later, again as the Falcon, Wilson receives help from the Black Panther, who creates a harness for Wilson, allowing him to fly. When Rogers briefly abandons his Captain America identity, others attempt to take up the mantle, including a young man named Roscoe whom the Falcon mentors. When the Red Skull eventually kills Roscoe, Rogers again becomes Captain America.
Soon afterward, the Red Skull reveals the Falcon’s true past as “Snap” Wilson, and unsuccessfully attempts to use the Cosmic Cube to make the Falcon kill Captain America. Now aware of his past but deciding to continue as a hero, the Falcon is eventually named head of the Super Agents at the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D..
US government superhero liaison Henry Peter Gyrich then recruits the Falcon, one of the few active African-American superheroes, to fill a mandated racial quota for the venerable team the Avengers. Resentful of being a “token”, the Falcon quits at the first opportunity. He debuts a new costume when he fights the supervillain Taskmaster.
Falcon becomes a member of the new team of Avengers assembled to fight the international menace Scorpio as a United Nations peacekeeping agency. By this point, Falcon had discovered that he could extend his telepathic bond with Redwing, allowing him to control other birds and “see” through their eyes. He uses this ability to spy on Henry Gyrich (now the Avengers’ liaison with the United Nations) and discovers that the United States’ Secretary of Defense, Senator Dell Rusk, has been pressuring Gyrich to spy on the Avengers and turn over their secrets. Although initially hostile to one another, Falcon convinces Gyrich to help the Avengers spy on Rusk, feeding him false information while gathering evidence to expose him. They discover that Rusk is actually the Red Skull, who has launched a biological weapon attack on America, intending to use the ensuing panic to gain control over America’s government and start a war with other countries. Falcon is instrumental in defeating the Red Skull.
It is around this period of time that, a new “Captain America” secretly created by the Office of Naval Intelligence (O.N.I.) goes rogue and begins eliminating anything and anyone he sees as a source of terrorism. To draw this agent (dubbed “The Anti-Cap“) out, O.N.I. leaks information about their involvement in a biological weapons project with the notorious Rivas Family, powerful Cuban drug lords. Reporter and Social Activist Leila Taylor investigates this rumor and attempts to smuggle a sample of the virus into America, but she is arrested by U.S. forces in Cuba. Falcon, who is a friend of Taylor, breaks her out of prison and investigates her claims, destroying the Rivas Family’s biological weapons lab and obtaining a sample of the mysterious virus they were developing for O.N.I. Falcon is able to fly Leila back to America (although his flying harness is destroyed in a hurricane) while Captain America follows Falcon’s directions and retrieves the virus sample. The Anti-Cap kills the head of the Rivas family, and pursues Leila, Falcon, and Cap, intent on obtaining the virus sample. After reuniting, Falcon and Captain America are able to barely defeat the Anti-Cap. Realizing that O.N.I.’s goal was to draw out their rogue agent to execute him, Captain America arranges to have the Anti-Cap be secretly imprisoned in the Wakandan embassy, until O.N.I. agrees not to kill him.
Since Captain America and Falcon now possess both O.N.I.’s rogue agent and the last remaining sample of O.N.I.’s virus, O.N.I. begins to put increasing amounts of pressure on the heroes. Falcon is especially targeted – he had broken Leila out of Federal Custody, and his criminal history makes it easier for O.N.I. to create further false charges against him. Falcon soon finds himself on the run from O.N.I.
Meanwhile the superheroine the Scarlet Witch, having gone insane, begins using her powers to recreate many of the Avengers’ greatest trials and tragedies. She destabilizes the Falcon’s mind, causing him to act increasingly like his “Snap” persona. He begins carrying a gun, keeps secrets from his friends, assaults Leila’s boyfriend Norman when he protests they go into hiding, and uses a high power rifle to shoot at his friend Robbie Robertson (to fool Robbie into thinking O.N.I. was threatening to kill him). Although they succeed in exposing the illegal activities of O.N.I. and clear Wilson’s name, Sam’s methods cause his relationship with Captain America to become strained. Cap confronts Falcon about his recent actions, and Falcon, angered at what he sees as an ultimatum terminates their partnership. As they are walking away, Norman (who blames Falcon for the end of his relationship with Leila) appears and shoots at Falcon. Captain America is seriously injured by the stray bullets, and even appears to die. The shock of watching his best friend seemingly die because of his actions has a powerful affect on Sam, who briefly gives up being Falcon and reexamines his life.
Sam Wilson reappears as Falcon in the 2005 “House of M” storyline and in the 2006-2007 “Civil War” storyline. In the latter, he supports Captain America against the Superhuman Registration Act. When the Captain becomes incapacitated, Falcon temporarily assumes leadership of the “Secret Avengers” rebel group. Following Captain America’s assassination by the machinations of the Red Skull, the Falcon registers with the government and is made responsible for Harlem, although he continues to maintain contact with the underground New Avengers. He is also called upon to investigate the Captain’s assassination by locating Winter Soldier and tracking down the Red Skull.