MCU fans know Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, aka: The Falcon, who will soon don the Captain America mantle in “Captain America: Brave New World” next year. But if Mackie had his way, he’d be another Marvel superhero altogether: Black Panther.
Variety reports (via a new Inverse interview) that Mackie revealed he wrote Marvel Studios several times to play the Wakandan king and superhero. “I had been contacting Marvel a lot about Black Panther,” Mackie told Inverse. “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 f*cking loved Black Panther.”
Mackie eventually landed a meeting with Marvel producer Nate Moore and the Russo Brothers, who were developing the 2014 film “Captain American: The Winter Soldier.” After all of his letters to the studio, Mackie thought the meeting was about “Black Panther.” “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?’ And that was it,” Mackie recounted. “I was like, ‘You know what, I like y’all dudes. I’ll do it. I’ll go on this ride with you.’”
Of course, Mackie was wrong. “What other major comic book figure has enough of a presence to have his own movie?” Mackie laughed. “So when they hit me up and they were like, ‘Yo, so it’s Sam Wilson,’ I’m like, ‘Really?’” But Mackie took the role of Wilson, and has since reprised it three more films beyond “The Winter Soldier,” plus one Disney+ series. And of course, the actor stars as Wilson again in “Brave New World,” in production now and slated for a July 26, 2024 release. As for Black Panther? The late Chadwick Boseman eventually landed the role, with Ryan Coogler directing “Black Panther” in 2018.
So does Mackie regret deciding to play Wilson? Absolutely not, considering he’s now Captain America. But the actor also understands that Wilson and Captain America is a more demanding role than The Falcon. “There’s a huge amount of pressure,” Mackie said about starring in “Brave New World.” “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.”
And the former Captain American actor, Chris Evans, believes Mackie has what it takes to become one of Marvel’s new leading men. How does Evans know that? “His energy and his versatility,” Evans said of his co-star. “Both as a person and as an actor. I’ve never seen him tired, and there’s nothing he can’t do. He’s a true Renaissance man.”
As of right now, “Captain America: Brave New World” will be Marvel’s fifth film in Phase 5. And don’t be surprised if Mackie cameos in the following MCU film, “Thunderbolts,” in theaters December 20, 2024. That film culls several heroes and villains adjacent to Captain America into one adventure. So while The Falcon/Captain America may not be Mackie’s original Marvel dream, he’s still living one.