Anthony Mackie could have played a very different character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; one that was far from the hero that is Sam Wilson aka Falcon. The MCU family gets bigger and bigger with each film, and even though some actors have only appeared once (mostly those who played villains), they will always be part of the family. Mackie’s role in this universe could have been one of those, have things gone according to his original plan.
Mackie has been part of the MCU for five years now, debuting in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Sam Wilson/Falcon, a former pararescueman who has a specially designed wing pack and teams up with Captain America and Black Widow to stop the Winter Soldier. But his introduction to the Marvel Universe could have been a very different one, as he auditioned to play The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
According to Men’s Health (via CBR), Mackie’s original audition was for the “villainous” role of The Mandarin, who we met in Iron Man 3. The role ultimately went to Ben Kingsley, but Mackie's screen test caught the attention of Anthony and Joe Russo as well as producer Nate Moore, leading him to the role of Falcon. In the end, things (arguably) worked out for the better.
The MCU’s version of The Mandarin was met with a lot of criticism as it wasn’t the genius scientist and skilled martial artist that we met in the comics. Instead, Kingsley played an actor hired by actual villain Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) to portray The Mandarin, the leader of the terrorist organization of the Ten Rings. Of course, this was the first and only time we saw him.
On the other hand, Mackie has reprised his role as Falcon in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War (siding with Captain America, of course), Avengers: Infinity War, and most recently in Avengers: Endgame, where he received the shield and mantle of Captain America from Steve Rogers himself. It’s still unknown when (or if) we’ll see him again on the big screen, but he’s getting a limited series for Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, alongside Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
The role of The Mandarin was destined for controversy, no matter who played him, but in the end everything worked in Mackie’s favor. He not only became an Avenger and played an important role in the narrative of Steve Rogers, but he is also getting a TV series and inherited the mantle of Captain America. Things worked out much better than if he had made his MCU debut in Iron Man 3, in that respect.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019