Ahead of his upcoming new Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie looks back on his tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Falcon, the superhero moniker of Sam Wilson. Now that he is one of the brand’s leading men, Mackie says, he can hopefully help its productions look a little less uniformly white. “When The Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes out, I’m the lead,” Mackie told actor Daveed Diggs during the pair’s recent Variety Actors on Actors interview. “When Snowpiercer came out, you’re the lead. We have the power and the ability to ask those questions. 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.”
According to Mackie, who first entered the MCU in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, almost as insulting as the lack of behind-the-scenes diversity on most Marvel films with a largely white cast was realizing Black Panther had no problem hiring Black people to its pivotal roles. Was the implication, he asks, that those hires weren’t skilled enough to work on the studio’s other blockbusters?
“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore,” the Avengers: Endgame actor recalls. “He produced Black Panther. But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And 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?”
According to Mackie, Marvel can at least achieve short-term changes by hiring “a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs,” a goal he plans to push for as an actor of color heading up his own series. Concludes The Woman in the Window star, “My big push with Marvel is hire the best person for the job. 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.”