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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier's New Cap Actor Has A Unique Perspective On His Role

Just imagine: A decade after Chris Evans became the MCU's Captain America, the studio wants you to take up the star-spangled mantle. It's probably an intimidating call to get. But some variation of that call went out to Wyatt Russell in the not-too-distant past, and he became John Walker, better known to comic book fans as Super-Patriot or U.S. Agent, Marvel's late-'80s Cap follow-up. Adding to the obvious stress of becoming the second version of a beloved character, Russell's character has plenty of strikes against him. He's picking up the shield that most fans would argue should rightly belong to Sam Wilson, or — as Sam believes at the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — should be on display in a museum. The implications of a previously unknown white guy taking over the role of Captain America is a purposely evocative one — luckily, the 34-year-old actor seems to have his head on straight about the experience.

"... It would be an honor, I guess, to be disliked in the Marvel universe," Russell recently told USA Today. Okay, we admit, there's a bit more context to that remark.

The struggles of being Captain America aren't lost on Russell

"People are probably going to hate it, and some people are going to love it," Russell told USA Today, describing his character in a recent interview. Entertainment, he posited, is "there to make people feel emotions, and I'm hoping that that's what this show can do for people. Hopefully, they don't hate me too much (...) it would be an honor, I guess, to be disliked in the Marvel universe." So, who is the man that Russell thinks audiences will learn to hate? It's complicated, by the actor's reckoning. 

"I don't think there's really been many MCU characters who've had quite the dilemma he's had in terms of trying to fit into this sort of moralistic superhero world. He's been thrust into this role as Captain America and he's going to do it his way, and he wants to do it right. But his way is a very specific way that he has learned through being basically a trained human hunter. I mean, that's what Marines are. They're not Steve Rogers, they're not the same. They're not like Boy Scouts anymore. They're a little bit more gnarly," Russell told USA Today.

Russell's reveals about the new Captain America are ominous to anyone familiar with the character. John Walker was originally conceived as Cap's equal and opposite, a more villain-adjacent take on hyper-patriotic worldviews, minus Steve Rogers' World War II-era sense of Americana decency. Russell feels that Walker's place in the MCU is very much in step with his place in the comics, and seems prepared to take any criticisms as part and parcel with a job well done. "Who else can play Captain America like Chris Evans? Nobody," he stated. "And what's good about this show is that it takes that in hand, where it's like, 'Well, who else is going to [expletive] play Captain America? This guy?'"