At the end of 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gave us a glimpse of what once was by bringing back actors who had previously played Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Now there is a rumor that rather than similarly give us a picture of what was, with Doctor Strange 2, the MCU will give us a look at what could’ve been. The rumor that just won’t die — and likely won’t until the flick hits theaters — is that Tom Cruise will be appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a version of Tony Stark from another reality.
Certain sites like Geekosity are reporting that the rumor that Tom Cruise is playing a variant Iron Man is true, and there appears to be some possible photographic evidence to back them up. Last week, The Moth Culture posted what appears to be Cruise in a motion capture suit and sporting some very Tony-Stark-like facial hair. You can see that tweet below.
As The Moth Culture points out, it’s pretty much impossible to verify this photo is the real deal. It’s blurry, and even if it were crystal clear, there’s no shortage of editing processes that could fake it. Not to mention that even if we assume this is a relatively recent photo of Tom Cruise on a film set in a motion capture suit, since when is Iron Man the only role necessitating a motion capture suit?
However, Geekosity reports that Tom Cruise will be in Doctor Strange 2 playing a variant Tony Stark. They say he won’t be in the film long and that he won’t be playing the role on a long term basis. We’ll have to wait and see.
Tom Cruise’s supposed appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be a reference to the widely reported piece of trivia that the star was offered the role before it went to Robert Downey, Jr. Cruise has since confirmed that he turned it down, adding that “as it was lining up, it just didn’t feel to me like it was gonna work.” With Downey playing Tony Stark in 10 films spanning a decade, it may feel impossible to imagine anyone else taking on the role. But as the cliche goes, hindsight is 20/20. And, after all, is it really that tough to imagine Marvel wanting to cast Cruise as a rich, eccentric, reclusive guy who’s out of touch with the world?
Among other things, the rumors have inspired fan artists to do what they do best — reimagine what we all see on the big screen. One particularly impressive example comes from digital artist Rahal Nejraoui, whose Instagram handle is rahalarts. Earlier this month, Nejraoui posted his depiction of Tom Cruise as Iron Man, in the middle of what appears to be a pretty rough battle. You can see his rendering below.
We’ll know for sure about Tom Cruise and any number of other speculated appearances in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, when the sequel hits theaters May 6, 2o22. The film is directed by Sam Raimi and written by Jade Halley Bartlett. We know for sure it will star Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez.