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Between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios delivered a remarkable and epic big screen tale with basically everything a fan could ask for... but there was one amazing idea that sadly fell short of being included in the movie. Revealed through officially released artwork last year, the 2018 film was apparently at one point going to include a sequence where Iron Man and Doctor Strange were going to pull off a costume switch, but sadly that sequence didn't wind up being included in the finished blockbuster.
That being said, apparently the concept did make its way pretty far through development – to the point where it was actually filmed. And while that footage has not yet been given to the general public just yet, apparently filmmaker Kevin Smith was given a special peek of Avengers: Infinity War that featured Benedict Cumberbatch a.k.a. Dr. Stephen Strange wearing the Iron Man armor.
Kevin Smith revealed this story recently on an episode of his podcast Fatman on Batman , where he explained that he got a brief sneak preview of Avengers: Infinity War when screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely visited his house. Smith explained that while people have seen footage floating around of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark wearing Dr. Strange's Cloak of Levitation, he got to see something a bit extra a couple years back:
There’s footage or a photo of Robert Downey Jr wearing the cape that came out long before Infinity War came out. It was an early press release photo or something like that. So we know they shot it. [Marc Bernardin and I] know personally that they shot it because when the writers, McFeely and Markus, came and spoke to us at the house before they went to do the big shindig and shit for Endgame, before they left they were like ‘You wanna see something?’
For reference, here's that super brief Robert Downey Jr/ clip for your enjoyment:
Instead of being just the Phil Saunders-drawn artwork of Doctor Strange in the Iron Man armor that's been floating around the last couple of months, Kevin Smith claims that he actually got to see a photograph of Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey Jr. in their switched costumes – though he was also told that he couldn't tell anybody about it:
They pulled out the phone and literally showed us, not just a drawing, cause that’s what’s going around the internet, is there’s a drawing and shit – and it looks badass. But they showed us fuckin Sherlock in the Iron Man fuckin suit, man. Like wearing the goddamn suit with Tony standing next to him wearing the cape, and we were like ‘WHAT THE FUCK,’ and they were like ‘We can’t say, never tell anybody.’ Then it’s out in the world and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, we saw that fucking photo!’ It looked badass, man.
In earlier versions of Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange was going to wind up wearing Iron Man's suit during the scene in the first act when the master of the mystic arts is being tortured by Ebony Maw. Tony Stark was going to send his armor to Strange to stop him being impaled by the energy needles, which surely would have led to some kind of special action sequence. Instead, the finished version of the film went with the reference to Alien where Spider-Man and Iron Man team up to get Ebony Maw sucked out into space.
You can see concept art of this specific idea by Phil Saunders below:
As of now there is no way for normal people to actually see this footage, but hopefully that will change one day. There is little doubt that the future will see multiple new home video editions of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame released, and surely one of them will eventually feature footage of Benedict Cumberbatch in the Iron Man armor. We may have to wait for a significant anniversary, so it might not be until 2043, but just have some patience!