Anthony Mackie joined the MCU thinking he was playing Black Panther

Anthony Mackie as Captain America
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Anthony Mackie may be best known for his portrayal of Falcon in the MCU, but the actor originally had a different role in the franchise in mind that he lobbied Marvel Studios to play.

"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 fucking loved Black Panther."

Mackie instead went on to play Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, in the MCU, starting with 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier – but he didn't know this when he signed onto the movie. 

"I’ll never forget, [co-director] 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 continued. 

"I was like, 'You know what, I like y’all dudes. I’ll do it. I’ll go on this ride with you.' 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?'"

Of course, it was Chadwick Boseman who took on the role of Black Panther in the 2018 movie of the same name, but Mackie will get to lead his own Marvel movie very soon. After Chris Evans' Steve Rogers set down the red, white, and blue shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson took up the mantle in the Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – and Mackie will make his big-screen debut as Captain America in Captain America: Brave New World. 

Captain America: Brave New World hits the big screen on July 26, 2024. In the meantime, make sure you're up to date with the MCU with our guides to Marvel Phase 5 and Marvel Phase 6.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.