If we had been asked who we would like to see as Iron Man before we knew that Robert Downey Jr. would be cast as Tony Stark, Tom Cruise would have been a very common answer. Of course, before that (2008), Cruise was involved in a new installment of ‘Mission: Impossible’, but it is an open secret that it was a possibility and that there was an approach from Marvel to one of the biggest Hollywood stars ever. What happened then?
The answer can be found in “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios,” a book full of Marvel Cinematic Universe tidbits that, of course, discusses how a then 34-year-old Tom Cruise “flirted with the idea of playing [Tony] Stark.
Why didn’t Tom Cruise play Iron Man?
What happened, quite simply, was that the project didn’t have enough money to pay Cruise because, let’s not forget, it was a far cry from the multimillion-dollar budgets that every Marvel Studios production now has. “Cruise’s asking fee at the time was more than even a profitable studio like Fox was willing to risk on an untested superhero property,” explained Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. That’s why they had to look at lesser-known actors, including Jim Caviezel, Timothy Olyphant, or the one they finally chose, Downey Jr.
Interestingly, there might have been another chance to see Cruise in the Iron Man armor in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” where he was rumored to have a cameo as the evil Iron Man, as confirmed by screenwriter Michael Waldron. In the end, it didn’t happen, as we could see. “I love Tom Cruise, and I said to Kevin Feige at one point, I was like, ‘Could we get Tom Cruise’s Iron Man?” he added. “I just don’t think it was ever an option, because of availability.” Feige reportedly replied.