Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is redefining what it means to have limitless possibilities. As seen in this past December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, an opened Multiversal door gives passage to anyone, regardless of whether they exist in Marvel Studios’ canon.
Not only does the concept Strange knows “frighteningly little about” allow for legacy characters to make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, but it also opens up the possibility for alternate versions of established MCU heroes.
Loki brought those alternate versions to life with its many Variants of the God of Mischief. While some of those Loki Variants retained Tom Hiddleston’s face, others depicted the trickster in different races, genders, and even species.
With past precedence establishing these Variants do not need to be played by the same actor, Doctor Strange 2 has the unique ability to bring scrapped dream castings to life.
Tom Cruise’s MCU Debut?
Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange has already ventured to the Quantum Realm and the Dark Dimension, but he could be taking the highway to the danger zone come May.
Acclaimed actor Tom Cruise has long been rumored to be among Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’s impressive ensemble, specifically portraying a Tony Stark Variant. While evidence on Cruise’s involvement remains unconfirmed, there is significant history between the Mission: Impossible star and Marvel Studios that dates back to the MCU’s genesis.
The MCU’s Biggest What If…?
Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man, studios across Hollywood were playing hot potato with Tony Stark’s film rights. Distribution privileges bounced from Universal Studios to 20th Century Fox to New Line Cinema before eventually landing at Paramount Pictures.
Over those two decades of trading the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist back and forth, numerous actors expressed interest in rocking the suit of armor. Among those A-Listers was Tom Cruise.
The story goes that Cruise was not crazy about the initial Iron Man script. Before anyone questions Cruise’s taste, what fans saw on screen in 2008 is not exactly what was on paper in the development process. Obidiah Stane actor Jeff Bridges has admitted that most of Iron Man was improvised, going as far as calling the script more of an “outline.”
The script wasn’t the only issue for Cruise. Allegedly, the Top Gun star wanted the Iron Man headpiece to be redesigned to make his face visible at all times. More on that later.
Tom Cruise has admitted in recent years that he was “not close” to accepting the role. Even if Cruise’s Marvel history is bigger in the fans’ eyes than reality, the relationship still exists, and the celebrated actor may be looking to rectify his biggest career “what if?” if the opportunity presents itself.
Multiverse of Madness Rumors
Rumblings first sparked of Cruise’s Doctor Strange 2 involvement in Fall 2020. Insider Daniel RPK reported that Marvel was considering “a bunch of interesting cameos” for the sequel, with “Tom Cruise as Tony Stark from another Earth” on that list.
That said, just because Marvel wants it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman was also rumored to be on Marvel’s shortlist of desired Multiverse of Madness cameos, but it “didn’t end up happening.”
Regardless, that hasn’t stopped Cruise rumors from snowballing in recent months. Cruise was spotted alongside Hayley Atwell in England this past summer, as the two were filming the seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise around the area.
Interestingly, Multiverse of Madness also held production in the United Kingdom during Summer 2021. On top of that, Hayley Atwell is also rumored to make her live-action debut as What If…?’s Captain Carter in Doctor Strange 2.