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SYFY WIRE Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

'Doctor Strange' writer confirms he really did want Tom Cruise's Iron Man in 'Multiverse of Madness'

One of the most famous Marvel movie what-ifs was almost addressed in Multiverse of Madness.

By Matthew Jackson
The War of the Worlds Tom Cruise

The more Marvel Studios digs into the concept of the multiverse, the more they can have a little fun with their audience by exploring the various what-if scenarios the idea of alternate Earths presents. What begins with three different Spider-Man stars sharing the screen can translate to virtually endless possibilities for cameos, fan-casting, and yes, even one of the most famous casting decisions that never happened.

At least, that might have happened if the writer of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had gotten his way. 

**Spoilers ahead for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness**

We all knew that Multiverse of Madness was bound to lay on some alternate Earth cameos in a big way at some point, and it finally happened midway through the film during a pivotal visit to what's termed Earth-838. After being captured by that Earth's version of Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Strange is introduced to "The Illuminati," which basically turned out to be a long list of what-ifs from throughout the MCU. We got Hayley Atwell as live-action Captain Carter, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (complete with his Animated Series wheelchair), Anson Mount reprising his short-lived TV role as Black Bolt, Lashana Lynch as a Maria Rambeau version of Captain Carter, and of course, John Krasinski fulfilling fan-casting dreams everywhere as Reed Richards. 

But despite the expansiveness of that Earth-838 roster, rumors leading up to the release of Multiverse of Madness suggested even bigger names might be in the cards. Everyone from Hugh Jackman's Logan to Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool was rumored to be included in the cameos, as was Tom Cruise, who was famously an early contender to play Tony Stark back in the early days of working on Iron Man

Well, in a wide-ranging new interview with Rolling Stone about all things Multiverse of Madness, writer Michael Waldron confirmed that, while fans were wrong about the casting, they were thinking along the same lines that he was.

"Yeah, that [casting rumor] was totally made up," Waldron said. "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."

Waldron went on to confirm that the persistent internet rumor of Cruise's appearance spurred his decision, noting: "As it was being talked about online, I was like, 'Yeah, that’d be cool!'" Indeed, it would have been cool. It probably would have freaked some fans out to such a degree that no one would have heard the next five minutes of the film if Tom Cruise had agreed to show up in the MCU for the sake of a nod to a casting decision that almost happened more than a decade ago. All that said, despite the brief conversation with Feige, Cruise was so wrapped up with work on his next two Mission: Impossible films that, as far as Waldron knows, it never came up.

"I just don’t think it was ever an option, because of availability," Waldron said.

But hey, who knows? It's a big multiverse. Maybe Tom Cruise can play Tony Stark in another film one day, right next to Joaquin Phoenix as Doctor Strange and Yvonne Strahovski as Carol Danvers.

Other upcoming horror films include Firestarter in theaters and streaming on Peacock on May 13, The Black Phone in theaters on June 24 and Jordan Peele's Nope in theaters July 22.