Tom Cruise Turned Down Marvel Role For A Weird Reason

Tom Cruise turned down what ended up being a huge Marvel role because of some feelings he had about the character and plan.

By Doug Norrie | Published

tom cruise

With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set to hit screens not too long from now, there have been all kinds of rumors around who might actually appear in the movie. That’s the nature of the Multiverse, the possibilities are seemingly endless around who could show up as new versions of time-honored characters. One of those rumors floating around is that Tom Cruise is making an appearance as Superior Iron Man, a Multiverse version of the hero Robert Downey Jr. brought to life. While that isn’t confirmed, what is known is that there was a time when Tom Cruise nearly took the role, to begin with. In an interview, the actor described some of what happened with Iron Man was first in development and where he landed with the role. 

The original interview was from The Indian Express (via SlashFilm) and Tom Cruise talked about what was happening with the casting of Iron Man for Marvel. Remember, this was back before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a thing, and few could ever picture it would become the behemoth we know it to be now. As far back as 1998, Cruise was said to be hovering around the project of bringing along an Iron Man movie and was in consideration (or even being wooed) for the part prior to RDJ. Check out what Tom Cruise had to say about why he ultimately turned down the movie. 

“Not with me, no … They (Marvel Studios) came to me at a certain point and, when I do something, I wanna do it right. If I commit to something, it has to be done in a way that I know it’s gonna be something special. And as it was lining up, it just didn’t feel to me like it was gonna work. I need to be able to make decisions and make the film as great as it can be, and it just didn’t go down that road that way.”

tom cruise

So it’s pretty clear from this quote, though it’s couched in some industry speak and flowery language, that Tom Cruise thought the plan for Iron Man, and maybe even the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe just wasn’t up to snuff. Honestly, it’s hard to blame him. This was before the advent of major overlapping comic book franchises all under one banner and the MCU was a far cry from what we know it to be now. And though it might be tough to remember, it wasn’t like Iron Man was even the biggest superhero name on the block then, far from it. The popularity of the character is thanks in almost all parts to what Robert Downey Jr. brought to the part and how Jon Favreau brought it to life from the director’s chair. 

Another thing to remember is that back in the early 2000s, Tom Cruise’s own career was at a different place than it is now. He started off the decade with Minority Report, War of the Worlds, and Vanilla Sky. Sure, we were into the Mission: Impossible franchise at that point, but it wasn’t what we know it to be now. That started to shift with 2011’s Ghost Protocol. Iron Man came out in 2008 and the movies Tom Cruise chose at that time were Valkyrie and Knight Day, neither of which were anything to write home about. 

I think we can agree that it all worked out pretty well for Marvel here. Would the franchise have been different with Tom Cruise instead of Downey Jr.? Of course. The feel and maybe even the popularity would have had a different vibe to start. I’d contend that things probably would have still worked out relatively the same considering the vision was so big, but it would for sure have been different. Maybe we will still get to see what it would have looked like if Tom Cruise does actually make an appearance in the next Doctor Strange movie. That’s hitting theaters on May 6th.