“Yeah, that was totally made up.”
This article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange 2. Well, maybe spoilers for what isn't in Doctor Strange 2. If you want to see the movie with knowing a thing, turn back now.
Fans have been requesting an MCU debut for Tom Cruise for years, and many thought they'd finally see the day in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, it turns out that was never really on the cards – but that doesn't mean writer Michael Waldron didn't ask about it.
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Waldron revealed that Cruise was never a part of the Doctor Strange sequel – despite a running fan theory that he would appear as Superior Iron Man:
“Yeah, that was totally made up,” he said. “I mean, there’s no cut footage of Tom Cruise!”
Although Cruise’s cameo was entirely fictional, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t considered: “I love Tom Cruise, and I said to [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] at one point, I was like, ‘Could we get Tom Cruise’s Iron Man?’ I remember reading about that in Ain’t It Cool News back in the day, that Tom Cruise was going to be Iron Man.”
“As it was being talked about online, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’d be cool!’” continued Waldron. But when he floated the idea to Marvel boss Kevin Feige, he was reminded that Cruise was already busy shooting Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
Waldron said he doesn't believe Cruise was ever asked as a result. “I just don’t think it was ever an option, because of availability.”
With all of this in mind, could Tom Cruise reappear in the role of Iron Man in the future? Don't necessarily count on it. After losing out on Iron Man to Robert Downey Jr., Cruise's career took a very different turn. In fact, Cruise has since stated that he just doesn’t make those kinds of movies.
“Look, I really enjoy those films a lot. I enjoy them,” he said back in 2016. “But I make the Missions and Reacher. Just different kind of films.”
Either way, Marvel’s upcoming slate is already pretty packed, so if Cruise ever does suit up as an alternate version of Iron Man, it’s likely going to just be a fun cameo. But I wouldn’t bet my arc reactor on it.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, alongside Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. They’re joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Xochitl Gomez.
Sam Raimi directed the movie from a script by Michael Waldron, based on characters created by comic book legends, Steve Ditko, and Stan Lee.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.