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Anthony Mackie Says Marvel Is a ‘Space of Controlled Entertainment’: ‘There’s Only So Much Creativity You Can Bring to the Table’ Because of Comic Book Ties

Anthony Mackie has been a stalwart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever since debuting as Sam Wilson/Falcon in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The actor’s superhero tenure has included “Avengers” movies and the Disney+ series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Now, Mackie is taking on the mantle of Captain America in the upcoming theatrical tentpole “Captain America: Brave New World.”

While promoting his latest series “Twisted Metal” in the United Kingdom, Mackie compared the project to his experience making Marvel movies and told Radio Times there was a lot more storytelling freedom to be had outside of the MCU.

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“I would say the Marvel thing is completely different, just because it’s such a space of controlled entertainment. Like, there’s only so much you can do,” Mackie observed. “There’s only so much creativity you can bring to the table, because Stan Lee gave us so much content. Whereas with this [‘Twisted Metal’], it was like, ‘There’s a guy and a girl … Go!’ So we were really able to build the world around it.”

Mackie agreed that a project like “Twisted Metal” has the freedom to introduce and kill off character at will, which is not something the Marvel Cinematic Universe can entertain so easily.

“That’s the hard thing about the Marvel universe. It’s like, you can’t really go outside of the lines of those comic books,” the actor said. “You know, when we introduced the Falcon, and the growth of the Falcon to Captain America, all of that had to coincide with what Stan had already gave us. So it’s an interesting juggle to be a part of that world. And this was more like, ‘Let’s just have fun and figure it out as we go.'”

“Captain America: Brave New World” is directed by Julius Onah (“The Cloverfield Paradox,” “Luce”) and co-written by Malcolm Spellman, who was the creator of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” The cast includes Harrison Ford in his Marvel debut as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, taking over the role for the late William Hurt. Ross is now the President of the United States in “Brave New World.” Liv Tyler and Tim Blake Nelson also star, reprising their roles of Betty Ross and Samuel Sterns from “The Incredible Hulk.” The supporting cast also includes Shira Haas and “Top Gun: Maverick” actor Danny Ramirez.

Elsewhere in speaking with Radio Times, Mackie lamented over “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” not getting a second season. The show ended up being a limited series that tracked Sam Wilson’s transformation from Falcon to Captain America, setting up the character to now lead “Captain America: Brave New World.”

“‘The Falcon and [the] Winter Soldier,’ I really enjoyed doing that show. I was actually excited to do a second season, just so me and Sebastian [Stan] can get paid to hang out,” Mackie said. “Because it’s like me, him and Daniel Brühl. It’s kind of like the perfect storm of happiness.”

“When they decided to go back to the movies [with me], it is what it is, but I don’t have my friends anymore, so it kind of dampens it a little bit,” he added.

“Captain America: Brave New World” is set to open in theaters Feb. 14, 2025 from Disney.

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