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The Real Reason Tom Cruise's Iron Man Wasn't In Doctor Strange 2

While top-tier cameo-killer Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) went to town on some of Marvel's most powerful figures in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" – including John Krasinski as Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic – there was one supposed guest appearance for which she never even needed to break a sweat. As much as some corners of the internet ended up in a frenzy theorizing that Tom Cruise would step in as the Illuminati variant of Tony Stark in the latest "Doctor Strange" film, it apparently just wasn't meant to be. What could have become the new face of Stark Industries was entirely absent from the film, no matter how many Ultron bots were on display.

In the lead-up to the release of "Multiverse of Madness," a number of fans believed that a shot in an early trailer of a super-powered being squaring off against the Scarlet Witch was actually a character established in Marvel comics lore named Superior Iron Man, which is effectively a version of Tony that ends up becoming a little power-crazed. Of course, by now, it's been confirmed that the character in question was actually Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, who in that universe is its Captain Marvel. While some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans might be disappointed with this revelation, it seems that according to the film's writer, Michael Waldron, we really only have ourselves to blame.

Tom Cruise appearing in the MCU was totally made up by fans

Speaking to Rolling Stone following the release of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," Waldron revealed that Tom Cruise was on his wish list for potential cameos, and even went as far as suggesting it to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. However, this was something that never came to pass, in spite of the frame-by-frame examination of trailer footage that fans had determined teased the actor's arrival in the MCU. "Yeah, that was totally made up. I mean, there's no cut footage of Tom Cruise!" Waldron assured Rolling Stone interviewer Brian Hiatt. "But I love Tom Cruise, and I said to Kevin 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."

A link between Cruise and Marvel — even if not a part of "Doctor Strange" — is not entirely outside the confines of reality, however, as Waldron noted. Back in the 90s, the action man from "Mission: Impossible" was approached to take the role of Tony Stark when the first attempt at bringing "Iron Man" to the silver screen was in its earliest stages of production. Tom Cruise as Iron Man, of course, never came to pass, and we instead got the pitch-perfect casting of Robert Downey Jr. in the role instead, which clearly worked out pretty well in the end. 

Nevertheless, plenty of fans still held onto their hope of seeing this fun twist onscreen, and in turn, so did Waldron, which is why he even attempted to throw the name to Feige. "As it was being talked about online, I was like, 'Yeah, that'd be cool!'"

Waldron confirms that Cruise was never called

Of course, nowadays, Tom Cruise's calendar is pretty crammed with appearances in some of his established tentpole franchises. This month, Cruise is returning to the skies in "Top Gun: Maverick," which sees him reprising the role of Maverick Mitchell for the first time since 1986. After that, Cruise is slated to once again steer any high-speed mode of transport he can get his hands on in "Mission Impossible — Dead Reckoning," with parts one and two set for release in 2023 and 2024 respectively. As a result, when asked if Cruise was ever given a call about appearing in the MCU, Waldron revealed that Feige and Marvel never even reached out in the first place. "I don't believe so. I just don't think it was ever an option, because of availability," he said, citing the two upcoming "Mission Impossible" movies specifically as conflicting with the filming of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

It's a shame that Cruise's casting never came to pass, but then again, there's a high chance it may have taken the spotlight away from a handful of other great appearances already in the movie. Also, let's face it — this is Tom Cruise, after all. He wouldn't sign onto a superhero film unless he could, say, actually fly in a functional iron suit while fighting a real Scarlet Witch. Maybe next time, folks.