The Pasadena Rose Bowl hosted an event on June 12, 2021 called FYC From Your Car: Disney Drive-In Series. Marvel stars like Anthony Mackie and Kathryn Hahn attended, along with Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige. Attendees got to learn fun new things from behind the scenes of shows like WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Star Anthony Mackie, who attended the event via Zoom, shared his experiences building his character. One thing he wanted to do, but that didn’t work out, was a line for the season finale that would have criticized Donald Trump.
Anthony Mackie had reservations about his character becoming Captain America. The team behind Falcon and the Winter Soldier reportedly used many of Mackie’s own personal feelings on the matter to help develop Sam Wilson in a way that felt realistic, meaning that the actor had a heavy influence and a lot of say in how his character came to life. During this process, Anthony Mackie made a suggestion for his character’s monologue in the finale that would have included a Donald Trump reference. The line just missed making it into the show, according to the actor. “With all of the protests and everything that went on in 2020, there were just as many Brown people as Black people as white people as Asian people,” said Anthony Mackie. “One thing I wanted to put at the end of the monologue—and it got shot down—was if we’re going to ‘make America great again,’ it has to be done by Americans. And no matter what your race, creed, color or sexuality is, you’re an American. And that’s what I think the new Captain America captures.”
In the episode, Anthony Mackie was talking to a senator. So, making a direct Donald Trump reference by saying “make America great again” (Trump’s campaign slogan during the 2016 US election) wouldn’t have been completely out of left field. However, as much as the show and Sam Wilson leaned into politics, making such a direct reference to Trump was likely a line they were trying not to cross in such a big moment for the show. While Anthony Mackie didn’t address why he was overruled on this reference, making a direct mention of a real-life political figure could have taken viewers further out of this moment and distracted from the heart of the message.
Still, the Donald Trump reference gives us more insight into how Anthony Mackie is playing his Captain America. It’s been clear so far in Falcon and the Winter Soldier that Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is considering inclusivity as he moves forward with developing his new role, but his comments bring that into greater light. Many people comment on Anthony Mackie as Black Captain America, but this expanded reference in how he sees things points out a wider view of inclusivity. In the past, Captain America in the comics or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a hero steeped in patriotism, so this makes sense as Sam Wilson takes on the mantle.
If Falcon and the Winter Soldier had made a more direct “make America great again” reference, they’d hardly be the only television show or movie to do so. Watching media from before the election in 2016 can be a surprising revelation. Shows like Gilmore Girls referenced Donald Trump more often than many noticed before he came the president of the United States. Following the election, however, reactions to his name or references to the slogan have grown a lot more heated. It makes sense that Marvel decided to veer away from something so direct, which may have distracted from the overall message the monologue was trying to make.