According to multiple rumors, Iron Man may be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rumors say the character is set to appear in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness film.
To be clear, these rumors are not saying that Robert Downey Jr. will be returning to play Tony Stark. Rather, multiple reports indicate that one of the world’s most famous action stars — Tom Cruise — will be taking on the role.
A plot description of the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel suggests how this all might be possible.
“Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the door to the multiverse, including an alternate version of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff,” the IMDB description reads.
So, as Strange traverses the multiverse, he could meet various alternate versions of characters we are familiar with — including a Tony Stark that looks like Tom Cruise.
Further lending to these rumors is an alleged leaked image of Tom Cruise in a mo-cap suit. Although this remains as yet unconfirmed, the image could very well be from the set of the new Doctor Strange feature.
After all, when he filmed scenes as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. was often decked out in a similar outfit. In the image, Cruise can be seen sporting a goatee, a trademark look for Tony Stark.
But why cast Cruise as Tony Stark? Well, Marvel Studios may be making a subtle nod to rumors surrounding Cruise and Iron Man for years. Those rumors claimed that Cruise was close to landing the role of Iron Man.
However, back in 2018 Cruise addressed the rumors stating, “Not close. Not close, and I love Robert Downey Jr. I can’t imagine anyone else in that role, and I think it’s perfect for him.”
The actor did leave the open of playing a superhero though, “I look at a movie and I don’t rule anything out.”
Marvel Studios has a history of tipping its hat to fans who’ve stayed in the loop on even the most obscure casting rumors over the past decade.
For instance, in the Disney Plus series “WandaVision,” Marvel pulled a bait and switch with its Quicksilver — previously played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson — with Evan Peters, the character originally cast by Fox Studios when the companies owned dual-movie rights to the X-Men/ Avengers hero.
While it seemed Peters was joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Quicksilver, he ended up becoming a walking, talking “dick joke” as it was revealed he played a character named Ralph Bohner that had been bewitched by Agatha Harkness.
Nevertheless, what this shows is Marvel Studios’ eagerness to play around with fan expectations. If rumors are true and Tom Cruise has been cast as an alternate universe Tony Stark, this should come as no surprise.
As noted above, this isn’t the first time Cruise’s name has come up in connection to taking on the role of a multiverse Iron Man.
Back in September 2020, Portuguese Twitter handle Nacao Marvel cited scooper Daniel Richtman when they claimed that Tom Cruise was being considered for a multiverse version of Iron Man.
They tweeted, “Marvel Studios is considering a number of cameos in DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS to interpret different versions of characters we already know. Apparently, Tom Cruise is being considered Tony Stark another Earth
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige did confirm that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would feature a number of new characters for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At the New York Film Academy, Feige stated, “The next Doctor Strange film, for instance, features some new MCU characters which will be making their debut in that movie.”
He added, “You won’t expect or won’t guess who it is but we found a cool way to make it work because we want to make a particular type of movie there. And there was a character who we always wanted to do something with who will fit really well there.”
This rumor regarding Tom Cruise fits in well with another casting rumor coming from the Doctor Strange sequel. Rumors also claim that John Krasinski has been cast in the film as Mister Fantastic, the famed leader of the Fantastic Four.
Much like the casting of Tom Cruise — if true — this decision was, again, made to play around with fan expectations.
Long before the announcement of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, various fan campaigns called for Krasinski and his wife — Emily Blunt — to be cast as Reed and Sue Richards.
Should all these rumors come true, some fans may be excited at the prospect. Others might be left asking one important question.
When it comes to Doctor Strange 2, which is Marvel Studios more concerned with delivering to audiences — fan service or an adequate story-arc for the titular fictional sorcerer?
Only time will tell.
What do you make of this latest rumor and this alleged set photo regarding Tom Cruise and Iron Man?