Before Anthony Mackie landed the role of Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, he had his eyes set on a completely different Marvel Cinematic Universe character.
During an interview with Inverse, published online Wednesday, the actor said after he started to make his name in the industry, he decided to aim for Marvel in the early 2010s.
“I had been contacting Marvel a lot about Black Panther,” he explained. “I had written them letters. I was trying to find a way to make them make Black Panther. And I wanted to be Black Panther because growing up I fucking loved Black Panther.”
He eventually got a meeting set up with longtime Marvel producer Nate Moore as well as Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who would ultimately end up being the directors for 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Mackie’s first MCU project.
“I’ll never forget, Joe Russo said, ‘Listen, so we’re doing this movie. We want you to be in it. We can’t say what character you’re playing or who else is going to be in it. Would you do it?’” Mackie recalled. “And that was it. I was like, ‘You know what, I like y’all dudes. I’ll do it. I’ll go on this ride with you.’”
A few weeks later, he finally learned he would be playing Captain America’s top ally, Sam Wilson, in the Chris Evans-led film, although he never could have guessed it.
“What other major comic book figure has enough of a presence to have his own movie? So when they hit me up and they were like, ‘Yo, so it’s Sam Wilson,’ I’m like, ‘Really?’” the actor said.
The role of Black Panther, which made its first appearance in the Russo brothers’ Captain America: Civil War in 2016, went to the late Chadwick Boseman.
Mackie went on to reprise the role of Sam Wilson/Falcon in three Avengers films, Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War, before leading the 2021 series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Now, after being well-established in the MCU, Mackie is set to lead the franchise as the next Captain America in the upcoming film, Captain America: Brave New World, following Evans’ Steve Rogers.
“There’s a huge amount of pressure,” Mackie told the outlet. “You throw my dumb ass in the water, and you’re like, ‘Swim.’ I’m like, ‘Shit.’ But at the same time, it’s all in the state of mind. I’ve been given a great cast. I’ve been given a great group of people who I’ve worked with before.”
Captain America: Brave New World is slated to hit theaters July 26, 2024.
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