Anthony Mackie made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Sam Wilson, aka Falcon. Surprisingly enough, though, he nearly joined Marvel Studios one year earlier in a role that's a far cry from Cap's heroic sidekick.
According to Men's Health, which conducted an interview with Mackie, the actor originally auditioned to play The Mandarin in 2013's Iron Man 3 -- a role that ultimately went to Ben Kingsley. However, his positive screen test earned him a followup lunch with Joe Russo and producer Nate Moore, which eventually led to him being cast as Sam Wilson.
Of course, the role that ended up going to Kingsley in Iron Man 3 was a radical departure from the comic book interpretation of The Mandarin. Instead, Kingsley played a drunken actor named Trevor Slattery, who merely masqueraded as The Mandarin in a series of propaganda-style videos used to cover for the illicit activities of Aldrich Killian and A.I.M. This revelation was met with harsh criticism from longtime comic book fans, so, all things considered, Mackie probably lucked out by losing the role to Kingsley. After all, he's the new Captain America now.
Mackie can be seen in Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the film also stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos.