Will Tom Cruise’s Iron Man ever appear in Doctor Strange 2?

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Warning: Contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

There have long been many rumors circulating about Tom Cruise’s potential involvement in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at some stage in development, it’s never been clear whether he was ever actually going to appear as an Iron Man variant. The massive success of the MCU began back in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr.’s iconic turn as Tony Stark in Iron Man, but one popular alternate casting for the hero has endured. It’s well-known that many consider Tom Cruise to be a near-perfect choice for an alternate version of Iron Man, even though the Top Gun actor turned down the role back in 2008.

However, leading up to the Doctor Strange sequel’s release, the hints of Doctor Strange 2 multiverse cameos dropped by the film’s trailer fueled speculation that Cruise may finally appear as a Stark variant. Not only did his rumored appearance cause excitement that the hero may still have a future in the MCU after his noble sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, but it seemed possible that the MCU may finally make use of one of its most widely sought fan castings. Though Doctor Strange 2 did deliver some exciting variant heroes, Tom Cruise as Iron Man was not among them.

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Though Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ trailer prompted the circulation of rumors online, Tom Cruise as Iron Man didn’t come to fruition in the finished film. With the rumors being so widespread, Cruise not making a Doctor Strange 2 cameo was considered a disappointing development by some. But, just because Cruise didn’t appear as a Tony Stark variant in the finished film, it doesn’t necessarily mean that his inclusion was never planned or considered during development. However, for all the talk, it appears that Tom Cruise’s Iron Man appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, was always just a hopeful rumor, and wasn’t ever seriously considered.

Why People Thought Tom Cruise’s Iron Man Was In Doctor Strange 2

Of course, the biggest reason that many believed Tom Cruise would make an appearance as Iron Man in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was primarily due to the rumors that circulated leading up to the film’s release. These rumors were fueled by compelling evidence that seemed to point to Tom Cruise’s Iron Man making an appearance: the film’s trailer seemed to show Iron Legion drones in the Illuminati headquarters, the MCU had just explored the idea of variants played by different actors in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Cruise as Iron Man is the oldest MCU fan casting, and therefore an excellent opportunity for fan service. However, as convincing an argument as the rumors presented, they were proven wrong upon Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ release.

How Tom Cruise’s Iron Man Could’ve Fit Into Doctor Strange 2

The rumors were largely so convincing because they made such clear sense even within the context of Doctor Strange 2’s premise. The trailer revealed the Illuminati and the exploration of the Multiverse, and the idea of introducing Marvel variants and even popular fan castings were indeed used in the film. This means that not using Tom Cruise’s Iron Man was a missed opportunity in many ways because he so clearly could have fit within the film’s plot as a member of the Illuminati.

Serving as a key member of the group, Cruise’s Iron Man could have presented as a more serious and outwardly responsible iteration of the MCU hero (which would also fit better with Cruise’s own personality). Having Tom Cruise’s Iron Man also resist Scarlet Witch’s Multiverse rampage alongside the other Doctor Strange 2 variants would have made sense, as the character’s status as a distinctly human hero would serve as clear motivation for his role within the Illuminati. Ultimately, Cruise’s Iron Man would have had to die alongside the other variants, meaning his appearance in the role would have been short-lived fan service at best.

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Why Tom Cruise’s Iron Man Wasn’t In Doctor Strange 2

The reason why Tom Cruise didn’t appear in Doctor Strange 2 as Iron Man wasn’t that it wasn’t considered, but that it didn’t seem possible. Speaking with Rolling Stone, screenwriter Michael Waldron liked the idea of including an Iron Man cameo using Cruise, but it wasn’t pursued due to scheduling conflicts. This indicates that though it was considered to have potentially been included in Doctor Strange 2, it wasn’t ever planned in any real sense. Cruise was busy filming Mission: Impossible 7 and 8, and Waldron didn’t believe including his Iron Man variant was ever really an option.

All things considered, it’s probably better that Tom Cruise’s Iron Man didn’t appear in Doctor Strange 2. Though him appearing as a variant in Doctor Strange 2 would have been excellent fan service, it would have been short-lived due to the nature of the movie’s story, and thus would most likely have proven disappointing. As Cruise’s continued involvement in other franchises (and having passed on the role in 2008) indicate that he would have no inclination to continue the role within the MCU, it may be better than Tom Cruise’s Iron Man was never seriously considered to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.