Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

New Captain America Wyatt Russell cops to having no idea what he's doing in the MCU

Wyatt Russell
Wyatt Russell
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Look, not everybody’s into comic books, or even the globe-conquering cinematic adaptations thereof. Apart from those movie viewers clamoring for just one damned summer film where not a single person is wearing tights and protective eyewear, some folks just have other avenues of interest not beholden to the Marvel/Disney money-hydra. Still, though, if you’re up for one of the highest-profile roles in the still ominous-sounding Phase IV, are taking over one of the most iconic characters in comics, and your real-life dad is actually already in the MCU and you’re still happily clueless about all this punch-happy cinematic stuff, well, your name’s probably Wyatt Russell.

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Appearing on Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, the new Captain America confessed readily to the fact that he prepared for his audition to be one of the main characters in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier by doing literally no preparation whatsoever. Self-confessed “slouchy guy” Russell told Kimmel that, midway through his interview with the MCU PTB, he finally had to slam on the brakes and sheepishly ask for a much more thorough primer on just who the hell he’d be playing/punching. His initial, forgot-your-name-at-a-party response to the first mention of his character John Walker (“Ohh, all right, yeah!”) didn’t do the trick, apparently.

Of course, all comics nerds and rapt viewers of the latest Marvel TV blockbuster series The Falcon And The Winter Soldier knew from the start what Russell’s John Walker is all about. He’s the new Captain America, he’s picked by the government, he’s got a serious case of both blind patriotism and imposter syndrome, and he pisses off Cap’s former pals/sidekicks by so blithely taking over Steve Rogers’ mantle. And, hey, if you want to throw in the comics’ knowledge that Walker eventually ditches his ill-gotten spandex and becomes the violently anti-heroic U.S. Agent (while still copping most of Cap’s steez), that’s some extra credit dork points, although we still don’t know what shape the Falcon-Winter Soldier-fake Cap-Battlestar conflict will take in the series.

Still, Russell’s doing a bang-up, shield-slinging job on the show so far, bringing a complex mix of arrogance and insecurity to his replacement Captain, something perhaps aided by the actor’s response to seeing himself in the elaborately star-spangled superhero suit. “Oh God, take it off,” Russell related as his thoughts upon seeing himself in the mirror, “You’re gonna lose so much money.” As to dad Kurt’s role as the Big Bad of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Russell admits that that superhero sequel is one of the only MCU movies he watched, telling Kimmel that he enjoyed whatever the hell his dad was doing, beating up Chris Pratt and destroying worlds and whatnot. Plus, if his father ever wants to compare real life daredeviltry to the duo’s onscreen exploits, Wyatt has the anecdote about how his RV-renting dad isn’t exactly Jack Burton behind the wheel, as the elder Russell drove his big rig so slowly at one point that Waze flagged the resulting traffic backup as an accident to avoid. It’s the one next to the brake, Ego, The Living Roadblock.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.