A black Captain America has a different ring to it today than it did in summer 2019, when we got our first hint that Anthony Mackie's Falcon/Sam Wilson would wield the shield post-"Avengers: Endgame."
The idea of such red, white, blue and black imagery seems to fall in line with what we've seen recently from so many major corporations that have pledged words and money to the Black Lives Matter movement.
At a moment in time where black people across the world are protesting in unison for their rights and demanding to be heard, it would be impossible to ignore the significance of such a superhero sight.
But if Mackie's character becomes the captain in Disney Plus's upcoming "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," the decision was in the works long before it became the trendy thing to do.
We saw the passing of the torch (or in this case a vibranium shield) in the final moments of "Endgame," from Chris Evan's captain to Mackie's Falcon. Sebastian Stan's Bucky/Winter Soldier – who many, including me, thought was next in line for the mantle of Captain America – approvingly looked on.
Pre-pandemic, in February, we watched Mackie's Falcon getting some shield-tossing practice in during a Super Bowl ad for Disney Plus's upcoming offerings that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, a black man tossing around Captain America's shield in a Super Bowl commercial all while a black quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) won the Super Bowl and the game's MVP award? Holy Doug Williams, Batman! Greatest black history month ever?
We know that veteran actor Carl Lumbly has signed on to star in "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" in a still yet-to-be-revealed role that many believe is that of Isaiah Bradley. Bradley, of course, is the hero of the acclaimed 2003 Marvel Comics miniseries "Truth," which revealed that black men were the first guinea pigs in the development of America's super-soldier serum. The greatest revelation of all from the series was that Bradley, a black man, was the first Captain America.
If Lumbly indeed takes on that true "First Avenger" role, his presence could be one of inspiration for Mackie's Falcon, who, if you believe plot rumors, could have reservations about becoming the next Cap. Because let's face it, if the Falcon becoming Captain America is what fans expect or want, don't expect Disney/Marvel to give that to them right away. Mackie's Captain America would likely be the season-finale prize to viewers for sticking around for six episodes.
What we don't know, if Mackie indeed suits up as Cap and not just the Falcon, is if Disney and Marvel will explore the deeper roots of the comic book stories that inspired such a monumental Avengers roster change. In the "Sam Wilson: Captain America" comics, the government, and a large chunk of the U.S. of A., didn't want a black Captain America. "Not my Captain America" was the battle cry of this movement. I never had an issue with a white writer (Nick Spencer) tackling the subject of a black Captain America, because Spencer wanted to shine a fictional light on what he imagined the response from much of white America would be to such a moment.
It made for riveting comics.
From what little footage we have seen, U.S. Agent (think the same look as Captain America but with a much cooler black suit) will be the government's preferred choice instead of Falcon to succeed Steve Rogers. Whether that pick is just so they can be in control of their own Captain America, or related to race like in the comics, we'll have to wait and see.
We're also still waiting for an official release date. "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" had already paused production because of the massive earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico earlier this year. And that was before a pandemic shut off all cameras.
But if ever there was a year for the black Captain America to start streaming, it is 2020.