The Falcon and the Winter Soldier stars strike a pose for EW's digital cover shoot
Who's the Captain now?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created, let's say, unique challenges for us all over the past year. Getting people together for a photo shoot is a difficult feat, let alone getting people together in the same room. And yet, sometimes these same circumstances come with silver linings.
The silver lining for EW was Pawel Pogorzelski, the acclaimed cinematographer on films Hereditary and Midsommar, who directed stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in EW's digital cover shoot for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
It's not every day that the man who shot director Ari Aster's horror stories also snapped your latest headshots.
With Mackie in New Orleans and Stan in Vancouver, Pogorzelski, given his close proximity to the Bucky Barnes actor, directed both stars — Stan on location and Mackie remotely.
Mackie returns as Sam Wilson/the Falcon in Marvel Studios' new event series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, on Disney+ starting this Friday. Unlike WandaVision, which played with reality in a format that celebrated classic sitcoms, this six-episode show is closer to what MCU fans saw on the big screen. In fact, director Kari Skogland says everyone was on the same page in making a show that felt like "a six-hour feature."
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) chose Sam to carry the shield when he retired as Captain America in Avengers: Endgame. But Sam grapples with the legacy of the shield and what it means for him now when the series begins.
“The show is very honest and forthright and very unapologetic about dealing with the truth of what it means to be American, Captain America, Black Captain America — and if that's even a thing,” Mackie says. “I think picking up from where we left off at the end of Endgame, the show progresses extremely well by asking those questions and really explaining why Sam said the shield feels like it belongs to someone else.”
Mackie says he was "horrified" when he first considered the idea of the MCU's first venture into the TV space. He wasn't sure whether the quality would match what they were able to do in theaters. “You’re in this amazing franchise and everything works. The last thing you want to do is be the lead of the first thing that does not work, ’cause that’s 100 percent you," he says. "I don’t want to be the guy that destroys an entire Marvel franchise.”
Now that he's seen the episodes, Mackie believes Marvel has once again changed the game. “You really get to see [Sam] as just a regular guy,” he says. “You get to see him sitting at home watching TV, you get to see him in all facets of his personality. I think when you see the two characters together and just how drastically different they are, it works on so many different levels.”
The world of the MCU is trying to figure out its identity after the events of Avengers: Endgame. So are Mackie and Stan.
"The world of the show, when we're thrown into it, is a world that very much lacks direction, and both of these characters are in a place where they're questioning their identities and how they fit into this world," Stan says. "They come from very opposite sides of the spectrum. That's going to be the journey, just understanding one another. But in that, you're going to get a lot of the comedy and a lot of the history that you've seen so far."
Stan is a sleeper agent when it comes to comedy, offering some of the more lighthearted moments of the show alongside serious reflections of trauma and identity.
What happens when Bucky goes to the supermarket and can't find his favorite cereal? “It's usually an inner dialogue that he's got to get through and say to himself, 'Today is not the day,'" Stan says.
Sam may feel like the shield belongs to someone else — that someone being Steve — but he sure makes the shield look good as he trains with it.
When you're a 106-year-old super-soldier who's been brainwashed into becoming an assassin for a terrorist organization most of your life, some therapy is called for.
Actress Amy Aquino portrays Bucky's counselor, and she seems willing to moderate some couple's counseling when Sam and Bucky don't see eye to eye.
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