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After Rumors Swirled Tom Cruise Could Be In Doctor Strange 2, Multiverse Of Madness Writer Explains What Actually Happened

One of the rumors swirling around Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was that Tom Cruise would play an Iron Man variant from a different universe, completing a full-circle moment when the Mission: Impossible star was considered to play Tony Stark back in the early 2000s. Now that the movie is out, we know that Cruise does NOT show up as Superior Iron Man when Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) appears before the Illuminati on Earth-838. And according to the screenwriter of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it was never actually an option. 

There are plenty of cool cameos in the Doctor Strange sequel, and they will have a major impact on the MCU moving forward. But Tom Cruise playing Iron Man wasn’t one of them. And screenwriter Michael Waldron told Rolling Stone during a recent interview that he suggested the idea, but was shut down. He said: 

Yeah, that was totally made up. I mean, there's no cut footage of Tom Cruise. But I love Tom Cruise, and I said to [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] at one point, I was like, Could we get Tom Cruise's Iron Man? I remember reading about that in Ain't It Cool News back in the day, that Tom Cruise was going to be Iron Man.

Hollywood history is littered with “almost happened” casting, and Tom Cruise being the foundation of the MCU is one of the juiciest. I’m certain that Marvel Studios would have made the MCU happen regardless of who played Tony Stark. Kevin Feige had The Incredible Hulk in active development opposite Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, and Thor and Captain America quickly ended up on deck. But there’s no doubt that putting one of the most famous actors on the planet in the title role would have given Iron Man a distinct advantage, instead of making the underdog origin story earn its respect. 

Michael Waldron went on to say that Tom Cruise’s availability prevented him from cameoing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which makes sense given the fact that the actor was busy doing barrel rolls for Top Gun: Maverick, and also dreaming up new ways to push the stunt envelope for the two part Mission: Impossible movie, which we now know will be called Dead Reckoning. Even without Tom Cruise, the Doctor Strange sequel dominated at the box office, posting nearly a half a billion in worldwide tickets sold in its opening weekend. There isn’t a ton of competition on the horizon either, with Firestarter and Downton Abbey heading to theaters before Top Gun: Maverick roars in and steals away everyone’s focus. Seriously, that movie is going to be a behemoth. 

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Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.