Anthony Mackie is one of the longest tenured performers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having joined the sprawling superhero franchise as Sam Wilson in 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and continuing to play Chris Evans’ loyal sidekick through “Avengers: Endgame.” He remained a Marvel fixture as the series tried to reinvent itself after the climactic 2019 film, shoehorning himself into picking up the Captain America mantle by starring in the Disney+ series “Falcon and Winter Soldier” and the upcoming “Captain America: Brave New World.” But the actor’s loyalty to the brand hasn’t stopped him from acknowledging the creative limitations that come with working in the MCU.

In a recent interview with Radio Times, Mackie explained that the vast amounts of comic book source material ensures that certain Marvel storylines are effectively predetermined.

“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 said. “There’s only so much creativity you can bring to the table, because Stan Lee gave us so much content.” 

Mackie went on to draw a contrast between working on Marvel projects and separate endeavors like his Peacock series “Twisted Metal,” explaining that the latter project offered more creative flexibility because the intellectual property was less established.

“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,” he 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.’”

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