Robert Downey Jr. Almost Played Marvel’s Biggest Villain

Robert Downey Jr. was originally sought after to play Doctor Doom in the 2005 Fantastic Four film.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

robert downey jr feature marvel costume

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and filmmaker Jon Favreau say Robert Downey Jr. was originally in the running to play Doctor Doom in a Fantastic Four movie. The actor, who became a pivotal part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Tony Stark/Iron Man, had met with the studio for the Victor Von Doom role long before casting for Iron Man began.

The pair made the revelation during an Iron Man 15-year retrospective, where they discussed how Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark. “I remember that Robert had come in for a general [audition], and I remember you had all met with him already for Doctor Doom, or something, on another project… maybe, Fantastic Four,” Favreau said. Feige replied with a simple, “Right, right.”

Robert Downey Jr’s Doctor Doom casting likely refers to 2005’s Fantastic Four, produced by 20th Century Fox, for which Kevin Feige served as an executive producer. The film, directed by Tim Story, featured Julian McMahon as Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom. The actor reprised the role in the 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

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Julian McMahon as Doctor Doom

Joseph Culp played Doctor Doom in Roger Corman’s defunct 1994 film, The Fantastic Four, which was never released. After McMahon, Toby Kebbell assumed the role for 20th Century Fox’s 2015 Fantastic Four reboot.

Although Robert Downey Jr. was never cast as Doctor Doom, he made an indelible impression on the realm of superhero movies. He launched the MCU in 2008’s Iron Man and reprised the role of Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Robert Downey Jr. made his final appearance as Iron Man in the two-part Infinity Saga – Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in 2018 and 2019, respectively. One could wax lyrical about how fitting it is that the actor who flawlessly embodied Iron Man for an entire decade was once considered for the role of Doctor Doom.

In the comic books, Victor Von Doom once assumed the mantle of Iron Man in the Infamous Iron Man story arc created by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. The series ran from 2016 to 2017. The first issue was released in October 2016 with reasonable success. It sold 73,735 in the first month and was the 23rd most popular title at the time of its release.

Robert Downey Jr. will next be seen as Lewis Strauss in OppenheimerThe biographical thriller is based on the 2005 book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the movie stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist from the United States, known as the “father of the atomic bomb.”

Along with Robery Downey Jr., the supporting cast includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett, and Kenneth Branagh. The movie is currently in post-production.

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