Gregg DeGuire/WireImage
June 18, 2013 at 01:00 PM EDT

Anthony Mackie has covered a lot of ground during a 12-year Hollywood adventure, but now he’s ready for a new type of stardom — one that comes with an aerial view.

“Trust me, it’s a lot of fun to be a superhero,” the New Orleans native said of his ongoing work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and his role as the high-flying Falcon. “All of it, everything that’s come together, it feels like a special moment.”

Now filming in ClevelandCaptain America: The Winter Soldier will be the ninth Marvel Studios release when it arrives in April 2014. Chris Evans is back in the red, white and blue battle togs of the title hero, the time-tossed patriot, Steve Rogers, who was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011. The cast of this modern-day tale also includes Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, and Mackie as a character who holds a special place in comic book history as the first African-American superhero.

“I’m really proud of that history,” says Mackie, the Juilliard School of Drama graduate who made his screen debut in the 2002 film 8 Mile (he played Eminem’s rap rival, Papa Doc) and has since added two dozen more film credits including The Adjustment Bureau, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and She Hate Me and two Oscar winners for Best Picture: The Hurt Locker, and Million Dollar Baby.

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