Anthony Mackie is known to Marvel Cinematic Universe fans as Sam Wilson, the Falcon. But Sam wasn’t Mackie’s first choice when it came to Marvel Universe characters to play. Speaking at Celebrity Fan Fest in San Antonio, Mackie and Marvel Cinematic costars Lee Pace (Ronan the Accuser) and Benedict Wong (Wong) got to talking about what comics they read as children. “I was really into X-Men too,” Mackie said. “I wanted to be Beast. Like, Beast has always been my favorite DC character.”
Mackie didn’t get to play Beast. Instead, it’s Nicholas Hoult who has played Dr. Hank McCoy through four X-Men movies. Mackie admits he was disappointed, but can’t blame the studio for that decision. “I was very upset when I didn’t get cast as Beast. But I really wanted to be Beast. Then they cast one of the greatest actors alive and I was like, ‘Gah! I love you so much.’”
Hoult concludes his run as Beast in Dark Phoenix, which has struggled at the box office. The final installment of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies series had the lowest opening weekend in franchise history. It was the only X-Men movie to open below first place at the box office, and it suffered the biggest second-weekend dropoff for a superhero movie ever.
Simon Kinberg wrote, directed, and produced Dark Phoenix. He’s willing to take the blame for the film’s failure. "It clearly is a movie that didn't connect with audiences that didn't see it, it didn't connect enough with audiences that did see it. So that's on me," Kinberg said. "I loved making the movie, and I loved the people I made the movie with."
Speaking to ComicBook.com, Kinberg had said that he wanted Dark Phoenix to be the epic conclusion to 20 years of X-Men movies. "I approach this movie as the culmination of 20 years of storytelling, of living with the X-Men for all this time and watching this family come together, and this movie is the movie that challenged that family and tears them apart in a new way," Kinberg said. "And so I imagined it as the culmination, and I even pitched it to the studio, as this is the culmination of this cycle of X-Men stories. Which there will be more X-Men movies in the future no doubt, but this particular cycle with this cast, it felt like it was time to do kind of what Game of Thrones has done, what [Avengers:] Endgame has done, really see them challenged in a new way and sort of survive and go off into the sunset."