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Captain America 4’s Director Addresses The Critics Of Anthony Mackie Taking On The Mantle

The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially has a new Captain America, and his new is Sam Wilson. Anthony Mackie’s fan-favorite character established himself as the Sentinel of Liberty during the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (streamable with a Disney+ subscription). With this, the actor is now set to headline his own solo film, with Julius Onah having signed on as director. While Wilson’s (and by extension, Mackie’s) new role has been mostly well received, there are some who’ve taken issue with it. But a number of people have defended the creative choice, and Onah is the latest to address the critics.

Since Sam Wilson became Cap, some fans have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the changing of the guard. Some asserted that in their eyes, Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers is the only person who can wield red white and blue shield. Some posts have been more visceral than others, and racist sentiments have seemingly cropped up on occasion. 

CinemaBlend had the pleasure of speaking with Julius Onah during Disney’s 2022 D23 Expo following Marvel Studios’ presentation, which included news about Captain America: New World Order. During the chat, the filmmaker got honest about those who oppose the idea of Anthony Mackie taking on the mantle of Cap, saying that such ideas clash with the ones that the comic book hero represents: 

Well I’d say, wait ‘til you watch this movie. But secondly, you know, I think for anybody who questions why somebody like Anthony Mackie or Sam Wilson should be at the center of this, it's going back to actually what Captain America stands for. It's so beautiful to have a character who stands for what is right and to think of a world in which everybody gets to be a part of it. It's unquestionable [that] that is right. That's exactly what Captain America is about. So there really isn't anything to detract. There's only things to celebrate. And all those people should feel invited to celebrate that.

The Cloverfield Paradox director makes a very good point. Steve Rogers represents an idyllic picture of the United States, one in which people of all races, creeds, and more are present and treated equally. It’s lovely to see the filmmaker share such an eloquent response to the ignorance and extend an olive branch to those who’ve criticized the MCU’s new Cap. 

There’s also another high-profile person who’s thrown his full support behind Anthony Mackie – Chris Evans. After seeing a tweet from a news outlet that questioned whether Steve Rogers would show up in the new film, Evans dropped a pretty definitive statement. He simply said that “Sam Wilson is Captain America,” and the Internet certainly took notice. Bucky Barnes actor Sebastian Stan also hyped up Cap 4 after it was reported to be in the works. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if both Evans and Stan are part of the many who flock to the theaters to see the new movie when it arrives.

Captain America 4 took a major step forward this year when Julius Onah signed on to take the helm. He’ll direct from a script written by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Malcolm Spellman and Dalan Musson. At D23 this weekend, it was reported that Anthony Mackie will be joined by Danny Ramirez and Carl Lumbly, who reprise their roles as Joaquin Torres and Isaiah Bradley, respectively, from the previously mentioned TV show. Franchise newcomer Shira Haas has also been tapped to play Marvel Comics character Sabra. And if that weren’t enough, Incredible Hulk star Tim Blake Nelson is returning and reprising his role as Dr. Samuel Sterns a.k.a. The Leader. 

While specific plot details are still being kept close to the vest, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore teased a tough journey for Sam. Stepping into the shoes of a giant can’t be easy – as Anthony Mackie probably knows. But it’s good to know that both Mackie and his character have support from Julius Onah, Chris Evans and more ahead of his first solo film. 

Captain America: New World Order is scheduled to hit theaters on May 3, 2024 as part of MCU Phase 5.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.