The Falcon has been closely associated with Captain America since his debut in 1969's Captain America #117, and is widely considered the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics.
The latest step for Cap and Falcon's historic partnership is Avengers Assemble, a new animated series debuting in earnest this Sunday on Disney XD, following a Memorial Day weekend preview. In Avengers Assemble — which aims to replicate some of the winning formula of the big-screen Avengers — Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson are essentially starting from scratch, and viewers will be able to see their relationship build over the course of the season.
Newsarama talked with voice actors Roger Craig Smith (who played Captain Mar-Vell on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Captain America on Ultimate Spider-Man) and Bumper Robinson (Earth's Mightiest Heroes' War Machine and Justice League: Doom's Cyborg) at a recent press event in Burbank, Calif, to get further insight into the famous duo.
Newsarama: Bumper, Roger, it seems clear after hearing from the cast that you guys have a lot of fun recording the series — that the benefit of doing it as an ensemble recording has paid off. In terms of being voice actors, how important is that to you? How much of a distinct advantage do you sense in the final product?
Roger Craig Smith: It's everything, for the most part. For all of us, that dynamic of being able to feed off of one another's energy during a session is awesome. And it's a rare opportunity, because usually you are working by yourself. Thankfully with the writing on the show, and how much our characters need to develop with one another and also as individuals — being able to have that dynamic in the writing of the show, and also the dynamic of us all goofing off with one another, and having a good time in between takes, and working hard with one another, makes all the difference in the world.
Bumper Robinson: I agree. We could deliver our lines alone, but when the option is to have everybody giving to each other, reminding you how fun it should be to do what we do… it's a different kind of work. Especially when you get nice talent around you, and people who actually get along. It's different. And unfortunately, you don't run into it all the time. But I think we have something really special here.
Nrama: Bumper, in terms of playing Falcon, it's a little bit of a different task, because while he's being played by Anthony Mackie in next year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he doesn't yet have an on-screen counterpart that the public has seen. So you're sort of starting more from scratch than the other main characters on the show. How did you approach that? What did it take to make Falcon come to life for you?
Robinson: It hasn't solely been on me. It's been a work in progress. First we spent a little bit of time kind of figuring out what his beat would be, but one of the cool things about it is I don't have somebody to parallel to, so I don't really have to meet any preconceived standard of anything. Not that I'm trying to undershoot a standard. We've been kind of free in letting him be brand new, at least with regard to film stuff. Because he still has a history. It's been pretty easy, actually. I'm glad that I didn't have anything preconceived to live up to. I mean, you guys have freaking Captain America. The Hulk.
Smith: Even on our side of things, while we borrow a lot and sort of pay homage to the film, we're not doing impersonations. We've got to stay true to the characters, but not necessarily the film performances, even though we're more than happy to be loosely affiliated with the film.
That'll drive you nuts. "You don't sound like it." Because I'm… not. [Laughs.]
Nrama: Right. You're not hired to do an impression.
Smith: But sometimes you are. And those jobs can be nerve-wracking.
Nrama: Obviously Captain America and Falcon have a very long history together in the comics, but when Avengers Assemble starts, they're starting fresh. So is this an eventual build, where viewers will get to see their bond forming in the early episodes?
Robinson: Yeah. It starts with me flying into a scene and punching him. So it kind of goes from there.
Smith: I was asking for it.
Robinson: It is a build. But it's very evident that they're comfortable with each other, and that Falcon idolizes Captain America. I mean, he's Captain America.
Smith: And I think Cap is flattered, but at the same time he recognizes that Falcon is not a bad guy to bring up and help, take under his shield. I think Cap recognizes in Falcon that there's an eagerness, but also there's a molding that can take place. And that's Cap. He loves to do things by the book.
For Cap, he loves the fact that he's got somebody who kind of admires him, since he's spending a ton of time having to defend his way of doing things to someone like Tony, since they're always at odds over their approach to problem solving; whereas with Falcon you've got a piece of clay, who can be molded. And yet he also appreciates Falcon's approach to things as well. It's a cool dynamic.