The more that we hear about the upcoming Marvel sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the more we realize that we are only scratching the surface with what’s included in the movie. Similar to the way that Spider-Man: No Way Home introduced multiple characters from Marvel’s rich pre-MCU history to the existing universe, Multiverse of Madness seems ready to plunge into the numerous layers of Marvel storytelling that will pull in movies, comics, and more to completely enrich the current MCU, and one of the inclusions might wink at alternate casting for a seminal Marvel Studios character.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the vocal cameo of Patrick Stewart in the Doctor Strange Super Bowl spot as (who we expect to be) Professor Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-Men team. But consider it in context of what is being shown in its totality, and several Marvel comics readers are doing the math to conclude that we are going to get a new Tony Stark in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – a variant Tony Stark from another universe – and he might be played by Tom Cruise.
OK, here’s the image from the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer that is triggering all of the Tony Stark conversation:
Those robots are escorting Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has been detained for messing with the multiverse, to meet with a team of heroes known as the Illuminati. In the comics, this mysterious team is made up of powerful beings who agree to meet in secret and address massive concerns to our planet, to the timeline, to the multiverse… basically, anything significant, the Illuminati handle.
Charles Xavier is a member of the Illuminati, which is why we hear Patrick Stewart saying that they should “tell him the truth.” Strange also is a member of the Illuminati, and likely will be recruited to this force by the time Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is over. The rest of the team consists of Reed Richards, Black Bolt of the Inhumans, Namor… and Tony Stark.
Taking that information, and applying it to what we see in the trailer, several fans have jumped to the conclusion that the robots escorting Strange were built by the Multiverse Tony Stark. And that the actor playing him will be the man who almost got the Tony Stark role before Robert Downey Jr. stepped into it: Tom Cruise.
10000000% Tom Cruise is playing Tony Stark, who else’s woulda built those Ultron bots pic.twitter.com/QFBbCk1ojiFebruary 14, 2022
This has been a prevalent rumor for months now, not only that Tony Stark will be back in the MCU, but that he will be played by Tom Cruise. And several others are saying that the streak of orange and red that goes barreling towards Wanda in a battle shot isn’t Monica Rambeau’s Captain Marvel (as is being speculated), but rather, a goateed Tony in his Superior Iron Man suit.
Possible? Well, just ask comic book creator Tom Taylor, who took to social media to add to the discourse:
Hey, Superior Iron Man is trending.I have no inside information but when @ycinar and I created Tony’s Endo-Sym armor, it was designed to glow red/orange when he was angry. #DoctorStrange #MultiverseOfMadness pic.twitter.com/mZe7vk2tNGFebruary 14, 2022
The addition of ANY of those characters would be extremely exciting, but then you factor in rumors that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might also bring Hayley Atwell back as a Captain America variant, introduced in the animated What If? Series, and you begin to realize that the amount of insanity possible in this sequel is off the charts.
Personally, I’m buying into the Tom Cruise as Tony Stark rumor. There’s too much smoke coming out of that corner of the Internet to not admit there’s a fire. And I think the inclusion of those Ultron bots in the trailer were meant to wink at the fans who have been tracing the Illuminati rumors in chat rooms far and wide. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the first MCU movie of 2022, but far from the only, so bookmark our Guide to Upcoming Marvel Movies and check it often.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.