MEFCC 2017: To Infinity and beyond with Anthony Mackie, aka Avengers hero Falcon

Anthony Mackie, who was recently at the Comic Con in Dubai, talks about the next Marvel Avengers film and more.

Anthony Mackie at the Middle East Film and Comic Con 2017. Courtesy MEFCC
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Actor Anthony Mackie, who plays Sam Wilson, aka superhero The Falcon in the Avengers and Captain America movies, says there is plenty more to come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even as the movies head towards next year's hotly anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.

That film, which Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said is the "culmination" of everything the films have been building up to since the release of Iron Man in 2008, is based on The Infinity Gauntlet comic-book storyline, in which a huge swathe of Marvel favourites were killed by evil ­intergalactic villain Thanos.

Mackie however is unconcerned about the future of the franchise after it reaches this 10-year milestone.

"I'm sure there's a lot more to come," he says when we ­chat at the Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai this ­weekend. "Infinity War in the comic book is like a destruction of the Marvel Universe in order to rebuild it – and I can't wait to see what they do after the Infinity War."

Sadly, he was unable to give us any inside information of what we have to look forward to ­after Infinity War, other than the ­already announced Ant-Man sequel, the first Captain Marvel movie and another, as yet ­untitled Avengers movie, all due for release in 2019.

“We really have no idea,” he says. “They tell us when the movie’s finished. We really don’t know what’s going to happen till then because you shoot so much stuff and you never know what’s going to make it in and what’s not.”

A keen comic-book fan himself, Mackie is well aware that in the current Marvel comic books, ­Falcon has become ­Captain America following the de-­powering of the previous holder of the shield, Steve Rogers. He is not too concerned about whether the movie universe will follow suit, however.

“I haven’t really thought about playing Captain America,” he says. “Chris [Evans] does such a great job, I just haven’t thought about it. I love the way the comics are going, with Falcon now being Cap, so I’m just enjoying that in the comic universe, and enjoying myself in the cinema universe.”

If he could choose a different Marvel hero to play, it would not be the Cap, but a rather less clean-cut member of the gang.

“I’d be the Incredible Hulk,” he says. “No shirt, ripped jeans. It’s a no-brainer. I love the way that character has developed into a more sensitive, understanding Hulk and learnt to control his powers.”

Mackie's notable acting roles go beyond playing superheroes. He is also an accomplished Broadway actor, and previous movie roles have included ­acclaimed films including The Hurt Locker and 8 Mile.

Last year he lined up alongside Bryan Cranston for one of the most challenging roles of his career – as Martin Luther King in HBO's lauded biographical film drama All the Way.

“Playing Martin Luther King was very daunting,” he says. “I’ve been asked to play him a few times before but it just never seemed like the right time.

“This time, it just seemed that I was at a point in my life where I was ready both as an actor and as a human being, especially working with Bryan Cranston, Jay Roach directing, Steven ­Spielberg producing. It was like a perfect storm.

“It was a great experience to work with those people, because if you give me an opportunity to fail, then I will fail absolutely – so it’s great to be able to work with people that you know won’t let you fail.”

Mackie is also a regular visitor to the Middle East – he proudly tells us he has visited “every country” in the region, including Syria, Libya and Iraq.

He also visited Dubai in 2007 when, he says, it was “just two hotels and a highway”.

The actor sees a lot of parallels between the Middle East and his own homeland.

“I have a lot of friends from the Middle East, both here and in the United States,” he says.

“The whole Middle East is in a state of transition, just like the US is. We’re all teenagers, and I’m excited to see what we’ll all be like when we finally become adults.”