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Marvel’s Sebastian Stan Shares Funny Take On Not Having To Work With Anthony Mackie On Thunderbolts

Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Sebastian Stan is officially headed back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for yet another big-screen production. It was confirmed at D23 that his Winter Soldier will appear in Thunderbolts as a member of the titular team. The film will mark a new chapter for Bucky Barnes – one that apparently doesn’t include Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson a.k.a. Captain America. Since Stan and Mackie have appeared on screen together for so long now, it’s hard to imagine one without the other in an MCU project. But when addressing the prospect, Stan shared a funny take on not having to work with his longtime co-star on the team-up film. 

After appearing alongside his co-stars at D23, Sebastian Stan spoke to news outlets about Thunderbolts, without giving away any spoilers, of course. It was THR who asked him about how he felt to be jumping into a Marvel movie without his wingman, Anthony Mackie. Stan then dropped a quip about the “freedom” that he now has: 

All I can say [is] freedom tastes bright. Finally, I am free. It is weird, of course. You know, it’s a little bit like, what’s that? Stockholm syndrome? But anyway, it’s nice to always be close to each other.

So jokes aside, the Pam & Tommy star is going to miss not having his favorite frenemy around on set. It’s honestly going to be a bit weird not seeing them together, especially after their characters shared that emotionally heavy journey in 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (which can be streamed with a Disney+ subscription).

This may be hard to believe but, aside from Captain America: The First Avenger, Anthony Mackie has appeared in every MCU film in which Sebastian Stan has played a substantial role. (Yes, Stan popped up in Black Panther, but that was only a cameo). Fans first got a taste of the Sam/Bucky dynamic in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, in which the two humorously ribbed each other. From there, Falcon and Winter Soldier’s relationship evolved, and the two only became closer after the former was offered the mantle of Captain America. Of course, the MCU is a big place with a lot of stuff going on, so it’s not too shocking that their paths would diverge at some point. 

Thunderbolts will put Bucky Barnes in an interesting spot, as he’ll join a team made up of antiheroes and ex-villains. The roster includes Wyatt Russell’s U.S. Agent, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, David Harbour’s Red Guardian and more. This wild combination of characters should help create an explosive and exciting entry in the Marvel canon. 

Of course, Anthony Mackie won’t be twiddling his thumbs as his friend and colleague takes on that new film. Mackie is set to headline Captain America: New World Order, which will see him reunite with Falcon and Winter Soldier stars Danny Ramirez and Carl Lumbly. Plot details are scarce, but it seems that Cap will do battle with The Leader, played by returning Incredible Hulk star Tim Blake Nelson. Ahead of these announcements, Sebastian Stan had a funny take on whether he’d appear in the movie, joking that he wasn’t sure Mackie would let him if he had a say on it.

But there’s really nothing but love between the two stars, as evidenced by Sebastian Stan saying that he may or may not experience a bit of Stockholm Syndrome. I wouldn’t worry too much about a potential reunion, though. Because if there’s anything that’s clear about the MCU at this point, it’s that characters usually run into each other again at some point or another.

Thunderbolts is scheduled to open in theaters on July 26, 2024 but, before it closes out MCU Phase 5, Captain America: New World Order will drop on May 3, 2024. Be sure to stay in the know when it comes to these and other upcoming Marvel movies.

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.