- Tom Cruise almost portrayed Iron Man before Robert Downey Jr.
- The reason for Cruise not being chosen has been revealed in a new book
- A potential Iron Man appearance with Downey Jr. or Cruise in the future remains possible due to the concept of the multiverse
It has recently come to light that Tom Cruise was close to being cast as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, before Robert Downey Jr. secured the role that helped define the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Today, it’s hard to imagine the MCU without Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo, as the actors have become synonymous with their characters, particularly Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.
In the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, authors Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards reveal why Cruise, star of Mission: Impossible and Top Gun, was not chosen for the role. They write, “Ten years earlier, when the Iron Man rights were at 20th Century Fox, Tom Cruise, then thirty-four, had flirted with the idea of playing Stark. According to Feige, however, Cruise’s asking fee at the time was more than even a profitable studio like Fox was willing to risk on an untested superhero property.”
When Iron Man premiered in 2008, nobody could predict the success it would have, let alone the entire MCU that followed. Casting someone as high-profile as Cruise in a then-unknown project would have been a significant risk. The MCU has since played a significant role in the careers of many actors and featured prominent stars like Samuel L. Jackson.
With Avengers: Endgame marking the end of the Infinity Saga and the story arc of several characters, including Tony Stark, there is speculation about the possible return of Downey Jr. in future MCU films. The introduction of the multiverse concept, which involves time travel and alternative realities, opens the door to appearances by Downey Jr.’s Iron Man or even a variant played by Tom Cruise. Ultimately, the decision to return would depend on the actors’ interest and availability.
Tom Cruise will next appear as Ethan Hunt in the yet-to-be-titled eighth Mission: Impossible film, set to release on May 23, 2025.