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The Alternate Avengers We'd Love To See In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

When the Loki variant named Sylvie killed He Who Remains, ending the stalemate that prevented an eruption of endless alternate timelines, the MCU's dive into the multiverse began. It continued in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," with heroes and villains from past movies crossing over in one of the biggest and best MCU films to date. But if everything we've heard is true, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness" is going to blow things wide open. With speculation running rampant that Patrick Stewart's Professor X will be returning in the film, rumors abound that we could be treated to any number of cameos from previous Marvel movies and alternate universe versions of on-screen superheroes, including several Avengers.

Whether it's true or not, the possibility of a variant team of Avengers is an exciting prospect, and we've put together a list of actors we'd love to see slip into the roles of Earth's Mightiest Heroes from other dimensions, from performers who once turned down parts in the MCU to a decade's worth of fan-casting favorites.

Tom Cruise as Iron Man

According to longstanding rumors, Tom Cruise was almost cast as Iron Man years before Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the role and made it his own, though the actor has said that talks were never truly that advanced. Nobody will argue that Downey Jr. didn't deserve the part, and Cruise himself claims he "can't imagine anyone else" in the role Downey Jr. played so brilliantly for a decade, but the question has always lingered about what might have been. Cruise's star has only gotten brighter since 2008, so if Marvel is planning an alternate universe Avengers team, we can't think of anyone we'd rather see suit up as the armored Avenger.

Rumors that Cruise has indeed been brought in to join the cast of "Multiverse Of Madness" have already made the rounds, with leaked images from the set purporting to show the actor taking part in the production. Though the photos may be faked, we can't help but wonder how true these rumors are. Of course, Cruise has voiced his concerns over joining the MCU in the past, so we'll have to wait and see just how impossible a mission it is to get him get him onboard for a cameo.

Asa Butterfield as Spider-Man

After Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures came to an unprecedented deal to allow Spider-Man to appear in the MCU and select "Avengers" characters to appear in solo films for the wallcrawler, Marvel quickly began searching for a new actor to play the part of Peter Parker. Marvel and Sony reportedly cast a wide net, wanting to ensure they got the right actor for the job, and they clearly wanted someone on the younger side. Ultimately, teenager Tom Holland would nab the part and make his debut in "Captain America: Civil War" before embarking on his own "Spider-Man" films.

But according to reports, actor Asa Butterfield was among the final choices for the role, and came so close to getting it that some sources even reported it as a done deal. If "Multiverse Of Madness" wants to give once-considered actors a chance to live out their own "What If...?," then Butterfield is the obvious choice to take the place of Holland's Spider-Man.

Alexander Skarsgård as Thor

In 2009, Marvel was on the hunt for an actor to lead their next big franchise, and it wasn't an easy role to fill. The part of Thor, who was literally a Norse god, had to be tall and good-looking, but also capable of standing toe-to-toe with Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. It's long been known that eventual "Loki" star Tom Hiddleston auditioned for Thor, but it was Alexander Skarsgård — ironically the son of Stellan Skarsgård, who would go on to play scientist Erik Selvig in the same franchise — who came closest to actually getting the part, at one point even trying on the outfit.

While Hiddleston himself might make some sense as an alternate universe Thor, as the former Frost Giant could have been granted the mystic hammer Mjolnir in some variant universe, we think Skarsgård would also be a fun inclusion as the God Of Thunder.

Emily Blunt as Black Widow

Marvel Studios has coveted Emily Blunt for years, even before her star-making turn in "Edge Of Tomorrow" in 2014. In fact, when it was time for the MCU to cast Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, in 2010's "Iron Man 2," Blunt was offered the role. The actress has spoken about her disappointment in having to turn down the role due to scheduling conflicts, and the fact that the competing film turned out to be the forgettable Jack Black comedy fantasy "Gulliver's Travels" has to make missing out on Marvel sting even more.

Unless Blunt has another major Marvel role in works that would land her elsewhere in the MCU, having her play a variant of Black Widow in a cameo would be delicious redemption, both for her and for the audience that has been longing to see her in the Widow's black suit all these years.

John Krasinski as Captain America

In the late 2000s, when Marvel Studios was searching for the right actor to play the Star-Spangled Avenger himself, Captain America, a number of chiseled, blonde-haired, blue-eyed action stars were considered, including Garret Hedlund, Channing Tatum, and Mike Vogel. But another actor who was reportedly considered for the role (which ultimately went to Chris Evans) was John Krasinski, star of "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" and "A Quiet Place." While he may now be well-known as a serious leading man, at the time he was known predominantly for his role as Jim, the schlubby, mop-haired everyman from "The Office."

Krasinski would comment on the audition in 2020, telling the story of how intimidated he was by the physique of "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth and how it convinced him he wasn't right for the superhero flick ... at least at the time. Now that he's proven his chops as an action hero, it's time he had his chance to play patriot. That is, unless Marvel has other plans for him.

Zooey Deschanel as The Wasp

When "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer/director Joss Whedon arrived at Marvel Studios and began mapping out his vision for the first "Avengers" film, he had a few ideas that didn't make the final cut. In fact, one version of Whedon's script introduced an entirely new character: The Wasp, a founding member of the comic book version of the superhero team. As revealed in the book "The Story Of Marvel Studios," Whedon had already cast the winsome hero in his head, dreaming of bringing in "New Girl" star Zooey Deschanel and making her the centerpiece of the movie.

Unfortunately, Whedon's plans were axed by Kevin Feige, who wanted "The Avengers" to be about Iron Man, Captain America, and the other characters the studio had previously introduced. The Wasp, meanwhile, would eventually be split into two different characters — played by Evangeline Lily and Michelle Pfeiffer — as part of the "Ant-Man" franchise. Deschanel never got the call to don a pair of tights, but casting her as the Wasp in a multiversal "Avengers" team would be a fun nod to Marvel Studios history.

Jensen Ackles as Hawkeye

While it's hard to imagine anyone but Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, especially following his successful spin-off solo series, rumors swirled years ago that "Supernatural" star Jensen Ackles had been up for the role. It was even said that he'd been flat-out offered the part after unsuccessfully auditioning for Captain America, but turned it down to focus on "Supernatural," which ended up running for 15 seasons.

None of this has been confirmed, and we'll likely never know how true any of these stories are. Still, as fan-casting and gossip goes, this one would have been a lot of fun to see, and it still could be! Ackles would certainly have made for a very different Hawkeye — perhaps one closer to his fun-loving bad boy persona from the original comics — so putting him in the role now, even for a one-off appearance in "Multiverse Of Madness," would make for a nice acknowledgement of fan speculation and rumor.

Saoirse Ronan as Scarlet Witch

Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, was first brought into the MCU in 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," played by Elizabeth Olsen. While her super-speedster brother, Pietro, didn't survive the film, Wanda went on to become a full-fledged member of the Avengers and played a major role in "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Infinity War" before eventually receiving her own spin-off on Disney+, "WandaVision."

When director Joss Whedon was first casting the character for the "Avengers" sequel, however, he may have had a different performer in mind: Saoirse Ronan. Ahead of production, rumors were flying that Ronan was under strong consideration, and was in fact the "prototype" for the part. There's no doubting that Elizabeth Olsen has been fantastic as Maximoff, but if Marvel wants an alternate version of the character for the "Doctor Strange" sequel, why not make the original prototype the final product?

Evan Peters as Quicksilver

The only Avenger who never officially made the team, Pietro Maximoff died in the battle for Sokovia before he could even take up his superhero moniker, Quicksilver. Some fans have theorized he was killed off in response to Fox's introduction of the same character, played by Evan Peters, in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past," though Kevin Feige insisted it was done for story and character reasons. Still, there's no denying that Peters' Quicksilver was a fantastic take on the mutant speedster, with his scenes being some the film's most memorable.

In 2020, Peters would return to the role in the MCU ... sort of. He was actually a red herring in "WandaVision," when he appeared to be a revived Pietro in Wanda Maximoff's fantasy town of Westview. It turned out he was just a resident of the real Westview who was being mind-controlled to make Wanda believe he was her lost brother, but if Marvel is going to do an alternate Avengers team for the "Doctor Strange" sequel, Peters deserves to return to the role for real and give fans the comeback they've been asking for.

Jason Momoa as Drax

If the alternate Avengers team in "Multiverse Of Madness" is truly from a different reality, it may include members of the Guardians of The Galaxy, who have fought alongside the Avengers in the MCU already. After helping take down Thanos in "Avengers: Endgame," it's possible that, in a different universe, some members of the Guardians stayed behind to officially join Earth's mightiest heroes. If that's the case, we'd love to see Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa, shave his head for a cameo as Drax, the character he almost played in James Gunn's 2014 film "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

Though Momoa turned down the role at the time because it seemed too similar to other roles he had already played, he's since become the star of his own superhero franchise on the other side of the comics divide. If Warner Bros. lets him, he may be up for a one-off appearance as the green-skinned Drax from a parallel world.

Amanda Seyfried as Gamora

Devious alien assassin and daughter of the mad Titan Thanos, Gamora — played by "Avatar" actress Zoe Saldana — finds kinship with Star-Lord and his team of misfit comic heroes in the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" franchise and went on to play a large role in "Avengers: Infinity War," as well. With more appearances on the horizon via a third "Guardians" film and a Disney+ holiday special, she's not going anywhere any time soon. But like many MCU icons, Saldana wasn't Marvel Studios' first choice, as the part was initially offered to actress and model Amanda Seyfried

In a 2020 appearance on the "Awards Chatter" podcast, Seyfried explained her reasons for passing on the role, saying she feared appearing in the MCU's first box office bomb. "Who wants to see a movie about a talking tree and a raccoon?" Seyfried asked herself. "I was very wrong." Should an alternate Avengers team include Gamora as one of its members, this would be the perfect chance to give Seyfried another chance to say yes — though she would still have to spend several hours each day being transformed into a green alien, another reason she turned down "Guardians."

Simon Pegg as Ant-Man

Edgar Wright was one of the first filmmakers signed up to direct an MCU movie when Marvel Studios first launched in 2006, but when his "Ant-Man" project finally got made in 2015, Wright himself was no longer part of it. The director and the studio parted ways over creative differences in the film, with Peyton Reed stepping in to direct the finished movie that starred comic actor Paul Rudd as the titular hero.

Though there doesn't seem to have been much bad blood between the two parties, Wright acknowledged during a Reddit AMA that he had decided not to watch Reed's version of "Ant-Man."" As a clever way of paying homage to Wright's involvement with the character (or to make it up to him), it would be only fitting if Marvel cast Wright's longtime friend and frequent movie collaborator Simon Pegg to fill the shrinking superhero suit of an alternate universe Ant-Man.

David Duchovny as Bruce Banner

Eric Bana had played Bruce Banner just five years earlier, but in 2008, Marvel was looking for a new actor to take on the role in the reboot "The Incredible Hulk," directed by Louis Leterrier. They'd eventually find their man in Edward Norton, star of "Fight Club" and "Red Dragon," but due to financial differences, time commitments, or Norton being notoriously difficult to work with (it depends on who you ask) the studio recast when "The Avengers" rolled around, making one wonder if they should have hired someone else from the start.

Norton was far from Marvel's only option. Before he was cast, "X-Files" star David Duchovny was said to be seriously considered, and may have gotten the part if not for scheduling conflicts. Whether those reports are true or just wish fulfillment, it would be a clever reference to the rumor mill to cast Duchovny as Banner in an alternate version of Marvel's super team.

Nathan Fillion as Wonder Man

Though he's never been seen on screen, the character of Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man — a Hollywood actor turned into a powerful superhero — has been a longtime member of the Avengers in the comics, and fans have been clamoring for him join the MCU for years. A popular choice to play Wonder Man has been actor Nathan Fillion of "Firefly" fame, and it almost happened. Fillion is good friends with James Gunn, director of the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" movies, and at one point, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" included a scene in which Fillion, as Williams, appeared on a series of movie posters on Earth, an easter egg for comic book fans and potentially a promise for future films.

Unfortunately, Gunn ended up cutting the scene, and Fillion has never had the opportunity to play the character on screen officially. Assuming he's not already cast for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," "Multiverse Of Madness" could be the perfect place for Fillion to make his debut as a member of the Avengers from an alternate dimension. It would certainly make fans cheer, and it could also spark a bigger role should Marvel ever want to finally introduce Wonder Man into the main MCU timeline.

Wesley Snipes as T'Challa

While it's been speculated that Wesley Snipes could appear in "Multiverse Of Madness" in a reprisal of his role as Blade, there's another major Marvel movie role that Snipes has long been associated with. Throughout the 1990s, Snipes lobbied hard to take on the role of King T'Challa, the Black Panther. Despite his best efforts, no movie ever materialized for the Wakandan hero during that time, but Snipes has never been shy about his lust for the role.

With MCU "Black Panther" actor Chadwick Boseman no longer with us and Marvel unwilling to recast him in the prime MCU timeline out of respect, there may still be room for a different Black Panther in the multiverse in the form of a variant from another world. If that's a route Marvel would be willing to take for a brief appearance, there's no one more appropriate for the part than Snipes, the man who tried to take up the mantle of Black Panther all those years ago.

Terrence Howard as War Machine

Introduced as the armored hero War Machine in "Iron Man 2" when he stole the prototype Iron Man armor and had it outfitted with more weapons, Colonel James Rhodes was played in that film by Don Cheadle, who has reprised the role throughout the MCU. But War Machine had actually been teased in the first "Iron Man" movie, back when Rhodes was played by Terrence Howard. After negotiations with the notoriously problematic actor fell through, Howard was replaced for the sequel, and much has been said by both Howard and the studio about the split, leaving it clear that there's at least some bad blood between them.

Since then, War Machine has become a major player in the MCU, even receiving his own spinoff series, "Armor Wars." Though another working relationship between Howard and Marvel is unlikely due to their history, it would still be quite something to see Howard return as an alternate universe War Machine, finally making good on his ill-fated promise, "Next time, baby."