At the end of Avengers “End Game” a older version of Steve Rogers passes the mantle of
Captain America to Sam Wilson a.k.a. the Falcon. While the passing of the shield pushes Marvel’s
overall narrative forward, it also bumps into some of the most complex issues that goes beyond
space aliens and magical stones making “Falcon and Winter Soldier” the most important piece of
Disney content. I know you think my opinion sucks but hear me out.
The show takes a deep dive into the lives of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Falcon and
Winter Soldier, in an attempt to push these two characters past side kick status to top tier
superhero. While this show has a laundry list of problems that include: pacing, keeping the big
storyline of the flag smashers relevant and actually giving time to Bucky to tell his complex
journey back to humanity; “Falcon & Winter Soldier still manages to make a huge contribution,
even greater than the ideal of a African Excellence at its height portrayed in “Black Panther”.
Falcon And Winter soldier gives a perspective of the issues African Americans face en route to
being the best versions of ourselves in America.
One of the great talking points brought on by the Disney show and picked up early by fans
came in the form a question; was Steve A.K.A. Captain America right for passing the shield to
Falcon? The show itself later validated the question when Bucky apologized on behalf of Steve
for putting Sam through the tough situation of having the weight of Captain America placed on
his back. The question is one that “we” have to get past because the answer is simple as Steve’s
actions are necessary. He should not be criticized because Captain America did what most people
labeled black want, he chose the best person for the job. Yes, there are burdens that come with
that choice and ultimately Sam has to choose to accept the burdens that come with being a black
Captain America but before Sams choice can be made, Steve a.k.a “America” in this scenario has
to be willing to offer with the best of intentions!
The process of becoming a black Captain America is a process that entails understanding
and building. Understanding that the culture has been victimized then choosing to no longer be a
victim, no matter the hurdles, is a major aspect of a lot of black Americans lives. Sam had to face
his victim mentality when he met the second “Captain America”, Isiah Bradley, a black man who
was not publicly celebrated or made a hero but instead tortured and wiped from history. Sam
listened to Isiah Bradly’s story and his empathy allowed him to have an intimate connection to
the pain and trauma that came with it. The experience was capped off by Isiah making the
statement to Sam, ”no self respecting black man should ever want to be Captain America”. It
echos a sentiment that individuals in the black community debate often, with themselves and
with one another, do we want to represent or be represented by America. It’s a complicated
process to go through but “Falcon and Winter Soldier”takes on the topic and forces Sam to have
to contemplate his path. From the moment a person labeled black in America learns of the
history of this country they then have to choose how they move forward. For many moving
forward regretfully is always a point conflict from both within and the world around them. This
Disney show manages to competently give a depiction of the struggle.
Sam mentioned the struggle the moment the shield was passed to him. At the end of “End
Game” Sam told Steve, the shield felt like someone else’s. He was’nt talking about the physical
object as much as he was the mantle and the weight that comes with it. For Sam that weight
includes: the past, from not only a legacy perspective but also seen through the eyes of a
reasonably jaded Isiah Bradly. The present, in which he had his own systemic setbacks such as
seemingly not being considered for the “Captain America” role or not being able to secure a loan
for his family after saving the world and last but not least the future, shown through his hopeful
nephews who idolized the The ”Cap” mantle and Carly, the leader of The Flag Smashers, a child
herself but fighting for causes that Sam relates with. At the end of “End Game” Steve responds to
Sam by simply stating, “but it is” Sam now understands the weight he carries which Disney gives

to us, the viewer, the symbolic gesture of Sam physically training his body to properly use the
shield A.K.A. his “understanding”to become Captain America. The show ended up being P.S.A. on
how black Americans have to be able to understand that though we had a past that was overtly
racist and that the present may not seem to always work out for people labeled black in America
, “we” have to look towards the future and determine what we are willing to give and sacrifice to
make it better.

“Falcon and Winter Soldier” may not have done much for the over arcing Marvel narrative,
allow Bucky to have his own story, properly depict the flag smashers as a real threat, make me
care about the power broker. Zemo was great, the Dora Milage were awesome and most
important of all Marvel managed to tell a more than competent story involving a black mans
path to accepting being an American.