Anthony Mackie will take wing as The Falcon in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

A little later, I’ll have my thoughts on the “Marvel: Phase Two” panel from Comic-Con, which certainly indicated an organized approach to what they’ve got planned for the next few years, but it seems like they’ve already got more news than they announced on Saturday, and it suggests another interesting expansion for the potential roster they’re looking at for “The Avengers 2.”

Anthony Mackie has been showing up on fanboy wishlists for pretty much everything since “The Hurt Locker” was released, and when we ran a piece about a month ago about the possibility of a Black Panther film, Mackie seemed to be clear favorite for many of you.  He’s done nice work in a number of films, but so far hasn’t really found that role that pushes him over the top and establishes him as a bankable star.

That could change now that it’s being reported he is in final negotiations with Marvel Studios to join the cast of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as one of the most significant supporting characters in Captain America’s ongoing comic history, The Falcon. 

Created during the era when blacksploitation was redefining African-America iconography on movie screens, The Falcon was one of Marvel’s efforts to create an urban superhero, someone who gave a significant portion of their readership a hero that looked like them.  And while Black Panther came first, the difference is that Sam Wilson was from America, and he was from Harlem.  He was abducted by the Red Skull, which is how he met Captain America in the first place.  Cap supervised the training that Sam underwent to become The Falcon, and then became his partner in modern New York for much of the ’70s.  Most importantly, he was the first major black comic book character who didn’t have the word “Black” in his name, which was a major step.

With the announcement of the title the other day, it’s pretty clear what the main focus of the sequel will be, and it makes perfect sense.  One of the things that seemed evident in “Captain America: The First Avenger” was that Bucky’s “death” was handled the way it was specifically to leave room for the Winter Soldier storyline to be explored later.

It’s interesting to hear that The Falcon is being dropped into the mix, though, because it suggests that they’re going to be drawing from many different eras of the comic as they build the film.  I’m very curious to see what the Russo Brothers bring to the table, and based on Kevin Feige’s enthusiasm on Saturday, it sounds like they’ve got some fun stuff planned for us.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens April 4, 2014.