Marvel Studios has been in an unprecedented lull. After ramping production up to a point where audiences had come to expect multiple movies from the MCU, it’s not been longer than a full calendar year since the last Marvel movie played in theaters, and the next film – Black Widow – doesn’t feel like it’s going to hold on to its November release date. BUT, the recent sharing of the trailer for the Disney+ show WandaVision leads us to believe that the MCU “machine” is cranking back up again, and that has led to a few major rumors on the movie side of the slate.
Eternals is in the can, and Shang-Chi reportedly has resumed filming. But what about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? We know, thanks to comments by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, that the Doctor Strange sequel will have direct connections to the television show WandaVision – with Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) signed up to appear alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. And the key word in the title of the Doctor Strange movie is “Multiverse.” Because a new rumor making the rounds (courtesy of MCU Direct) suggests that Marvel wants to get high-profile versions of alternate casting options for major MCU heroes.
The example that MCU Direct uses in its Tweet? Tom Cruise as Tony Stark in an alternate Marvel universe.
Now, there’s history here. Tom Cruise reportedly was up for the role of Tony Stark when Marvel was putting together Iron Man in 2006. The role, of course, went to Robert Downey Jr., and it’s nearly impossible to separate those two identities. And yet, the existence of a multiverse can mean that on another Earth, Tony Stark looks like Tom Cruise… and Marvel could get Tom Cruise to cameo in the part, if this indeed is part of their plan.
Do I think it IS part of their plan for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? It sounds like something ambitious and creative that Marvel Studios would try. And even mentioning Tom Cruise’s Iron Man brings up a universe of cameo possibilities that could have MCU history behind them. Imagine a visit from Chris Evans’ Human Torch, Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner, or Ben Affleck’s Daredevil, who all have been fighting away on their alternate Marvel worlds, only to be visited by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
As cool as I think the rumor is, I kind of think this is impossible, even by Marvel Studios standards. Mind you, this is the studio that pulled off Avengers: Endgame. But logistically, from a legal and business standpoint, I can’t imagine how much the addition of actors of that caliber would be to add to a Doctor Strange sequel. There’s the possibility that a few actors like Cruise or Evans would be willing to do it for the sheer gag of seeing it on screen. But are Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis all factoring in? Would Norton even do this?
It seems to be a real stretch, Possible, but MUCH harder to pull off than you’d even think possible. It’s a juicy rumor, and one that packs a lot of potential. But given the fact that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so far away from pre-production, it’s unlikely there’s any truth to this. Currently, Madness is down for a March 25, 2022 release date. But first, that means that the team has to get through Eternals, Shang-chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a third Spider-Man movie, and Thor: Love & Thunder before they even get to Doctor Strange. And that’s IF Black Widow stays in 2020.