“Finally, I Am Free”, MCU Star Shares It Was Like “Stockholm Syndrome” Working With New Captain America

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Falcon and Winter Soldier

Credit: Marvel Studios

Not having to work with Anthony Mackie for long periods of time is apparently a blessing.

sam wilson as falcon (left) and sebastian stan as winter soldier (right) in the falcon and the winter soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Fans Decry Title of ‘Captain America 4’ For Racist Origins

Sebastian Stan, who plays the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, is somewhat fresh off his very own Marvel Studios Disney+ show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021). And at the D23 Expo (The Walt Disney Company’s very own expo and convention) this year, Stan has come forward with an honest depiction of what it was like working with MCU’s Sam Wilson/Falcon and new Captain America, Anthony Mackie.

(Left) Danny Ramirez as Joaquin Torres AKA Falcon and (Right) Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America in Marvel's Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

After Sam Wilson was handed the mantle of new Captain America at the end of Avengers: Endgame (2019), there seemed to arise a new challenger to the title — an “evil Captain America” in the form of John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who eventually took on the moniker U.S. Agent after being disgraced. Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a six-episode Disney+ Original in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows Sam Wilson as the superhero Falcon alongside World War II vet Bucky Barnes otherwise known as the Winter Soldier, best friends to Steve Rogers’ Captain America (Chris Evans). Together, they navigate the loss of their friend and the world’s American icon, forming a tentative working relationship with Helmut Zemo better known as Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl).

The Captain America-adjacent property also featured James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba), a member of Wakandan all-female special forces the Dora Milaje, as well as Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau and Danny Ramirez as Joaquin Torres.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode four
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Controversial MCU Series Attacks Chris Evans’ Captain America With Bizarre Moment

Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Stan’s Bucky Barnes definitely had their ups and downs on Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and with the recent D23 announcement of the final, official lineup of the Thunderbolts film — Marvel Studios’ official ending to Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

sam and bucky falcon and winter soldier finale
Credit: Marvel Studios

At first glance, the characters’ actors, who are fundamentally very different people, also appear to have their disagreements — with Anthony Mackie even mentioning that he was “highly upset” to not be chosen for the new Thunderbolts movie, slated to release July 26, 2024.

This time, it was Sebastian Stan who took to the red carpet at D23 in response to a question from The Hollywood Reporter about no longer working with Mackie:

All I can say [is] freedom tastes bright. Finally, I am free.

falcon winter soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Stan expands on having to work up close and personal with his co-star, stating that it was like “Stockholm syndrome” having to constantly be in close quarters. It seems that Mackie has effectively “Stockholm syndrome”-ed Stan, as the Winter Soldier actor is happy to “always be close to each other”, now:

It is weird, of course. You know, it’s a little bit like, what’s that? Stockholm syndrome? But anyway, it’s nice to always be close to each other.

Falcon and the winter soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

This is clearly all in-keeping with an ongoing tongue-in-cheek affection between the two actors, who deliberately call each other names and keep up a “hateful” joking pretense for the sake of banter. Rest assured, the two actors do seem to have genuine affection for each other — though they might show it in initially confusing ways.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Either way, we are likely to hear more from this fan-favorite pair as the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands steadily, with new properties being added almost by the day, and new announcements regarding the next big Avengers movies on the horizon. Marvel Studios would be remiss to not have this duo — and their unique chemistry and affection for each other — reunite on the big screen.

What do you think of Sebastian Stan working in the Thunderbolts “bad guy” squad, away from Anthony Mackie? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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