Anthony Mackie is just wrapping up a very successful first (and maybe last) season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It ended with Mackie’s Sam Wilson finally taking on the shield for good and fully stepping into the Captain America role. But along the way, his friendship with Bucky Barnes was a major theme as well though not every fan saw it that way. Mackie recently responded to fans who were calling on Wilson and Barnes to enter a relationship with each other in a more romantic way.
The interview with Anthony Mackie was on the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast and featured the actor in a lengthy interview about his career as well as his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On the topic of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes being gay, and ultimately falling in love with each other as the next piece of their relationship, Mackie didn’t mix words at all. He had a thoughtful and pointed response to the suggestion. Here’s part of what Anthony Mackie said regarding the relationship:
There’s so many things that people latch on to with their own devices to make themselves relevant and rational. The idea of two guys being friends and loving each other in 2021 is a problem because of the exploitation of homosexuality. It used to be guys can be friends, we can hang out, and it was cool. You can’t do that anymore, because something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality has been exploited by people who are trying to rationalize themselves. So something that’s always been very important to me is showing a sensitive masculine figure. There’s nothing more masculine than being a superhero and flying around and beating people up. But there’s nothing more sensitive than having emotional conversations and a kindred spirit friendship with someone that you care about and love.”
It’s clear that Anthony Mackie has thought about this subject quite a bit and his response shows where he stands on the topic. In this case, Mackie isn’t coming out necessarily against the ideas of the two characters being gay. But rather he’s saying that the move for it, or the call by fans to make it happen, come from a disingenuous place. Mackie seems to want there to be space, rightfully so, for the two men to have a close and loving relationship without being romantically involved. Not every relationship between two men on-screen like this has to have a conclusion in which they “get together”. And Mackie is clearly frustrated by the expectation.
Again, it’s not seemingly because Anthony Mackie is against the idea of homosexual relationships, far from it. He seems to be saying that to just shoehorn a romantic piece to their friendship would undermine both the characters, but also the LBGTQ community as well. In his mind, he’s separating the ideas around emotions and sensitivity from sexual orientations. And he’s correct, they are two totally different things. In this way, he’s saying that making the two characters homosexual would be an insult to the gay community.
It doesn’t appear the plan is for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to go this route with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stans’ Barnes/ Winter Soldier, but he’s more than validated in wanting to limit the discussion about it for the reasons he says. Mackie is gearing up for a major new role in the franchise, now the new Captain America who will take the lead in the next feature-length film about that character.
How Captain America 4, with Anthony Mackie in the lead plays out is anyone’s guess. Some rumors have it that Marvel will now expand the Captain America ranks within the US Government, putting more folks into the role to work alongside each other. Some rumors have it that the MCU will continue to grow out its diversity ranks with these new castings. Whatever way they choose to take things, this is an exciting time for the character who is now fully removed from the Chris Evans/ Steve Rogers persona.