Peter Parker with Iron Man gauntlet in Spider-Man: Far From Home
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Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Marvel Studios

What if? Tom Holland was nearly in Spider-Verse, Anthony Mackie auditioned for Iron Man 3

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Jun 27, 2019, 11:23 AM EDT

The world of comics has a tradition of speculation, teasing out ridiculous situations on covers to lure in controversy-hungry readers only to explain everything away over the course of the plot. Heroes fighting heroes, Captain America eating his shield — all sorts of crazy stuff. Marvel's reportedly even developing a whole series around the idea —  What If?.

The real-world equivalent to this is the what-if scenario brought about by superhero hindsight. Two recent revelations have fans speculating about Spider-Man and, surprisingly, a pseudo-villain from Iron Man 3.

First up is Spidey. Tom Holland has been doing a lot of interviews for the upcoming Far From Home, so he’s been asked a lot about different Marvel projects. And one Sony project. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had so, so many cameos that it seems greedy to ask for more, but apparently it could’ve featured far more than just Chris Pine, Oscar Isaac, Jorma Taccone, Stan Lee, Donald Glover, and all the main Spider-Men. It could’ve had the latest, greatest MCU Peter Parker.

Speaking to JOE, Holland explained that yes, he was supposed to be in Spider-Verse as yet another well-wisher to Miles Morales. Take a look:

“At one point I was supposed to be in it,” the actor explained. “Yeah, there was going to be another Peter Parker. It was a scene in a train station or something. It was going to be like an Easter egg. I was going to walk through the background and say, like, ‘Hey kid’ or something. Never happened. Heartbroken.”

Another MCU actor who didn’t end up appearing in the Marvel film in which they intended is Anthony Mackie. The high-flying Falcon portrayer is now taking up the mantle of Captain America after the events of Avengers: Endgame — but he was once on the wrong side of superhero history.

That’s because, as he revealed in an interview with Men’s Health, his first Marvel audition was for Iron Man 3’s The Mandarin. Yes, that The Mandarin. The role eventually went to Ben Kingsley, which should make fans wonder what kind of character the fake villain was when Mackie gave his version of it. Young and charming? Truly superpowered? Actually evil? Who knows.

Regardless, the audition won over some bigwigs at Marvel who wanted to find a place for him in the universe. A meeting including Endgame co-director Joe Russo and producer Nate Moore was set up and a key role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was found. All was right with the world.

“He has charisma, but he also has the ability to convey integrity in a way that very few actors can,” said Russo of Mackie’s first impression. “And there’s a level of trust between him and the audience.” Now he’s the new Cap and has an upcoming series on Disney+ to look forward to.

What if Tom Holland actually did make that cameo in Into the Spider-Verse? What if Anthony Mackie was hired to play the first role he auditioned for in the MCU? The Avengers would be a lot different, Captain America would have a new face, and Spider-Man canon would’ve become even more complicated.