On Saturday Anthony Mackie, best known for his role as Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sat down for a discussion with Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” segment. Their talk focused on diversity issues, covering everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to how it feels to finally be playing a leading role as a black actor.
Mackie will soon be starring in the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It will be the first Marvel series to debut on the new platform, and fans are understandably excited for this new installment in the franchise. However, Mackie had to deal with a lot of racist backlash last year after the creators of Avengers: Endgame chose to deviate slightly from the source material. In the Marvel comics Captain America initially chooses his friend Bucky as his successor, before ultimately passing his role on to Sam after Bucky’s death. Joe and Anthony Russo chose to skip a bit of the story and have Captain America give his shield directly to Sam because they felt he was a better choice. The idea of a black Captain America did not sit well with a lot of Avengers fans and Mackie was the target of a lot of racist online vitriol. The thing that bothers him the most however is the lack of diversity behind the scenes at the studio. “It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white,” Mackie said.
The only black producer hired on any Marvel blockbuster was Nate Moore who worked on Black Panther in 2018. Mackie notes that “when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast.”
What happens behind the scenes is just as important as diverse representation on screen and Marvel, along with the rest of Hollywood, still has a lot of work to do. Since he is finally stepping into his first starring role in the MCU, Mackie will now have more power to enact positive change and that is just what he plans to do. “My big push with Marvel is hire the best person for the job,” he says. “Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. Fine. I’m cool with those numbers for the next 10 years. Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something as leading men that we can go in and push for.”
Featured image via Entertainment Tonight