Just imagine for a second: Iron Man takes off his crimson and gold helmet. But, instead of Robert Downey Jr, Tom Cruise’s face pops out with Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun playing in the background. As crazy as it sounds, it almost happened back when the first Iron Man film was in the works. But, would MCU have been the same with Cruise instead of Downey Jr? Let’s take a look.
Imagine Tom Cruise as Iron Man…
We know it’s very hard to imagine Iron Man as Lt Pete Maverick Mitchel, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. No one can deny Robert Downey Jr.’s importance for the MCU as the “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist”. But just imagine for a second someone else in the stead of the MCU?
This question has traveled among MCU fans for many years. There was even a DeepFake made once of Tom Cruise as Iron Man, which looked kinda weird. That would be because Robert Downey Jr’s body posture is not at all like Tom Cruise’s. And sadly, that’s about as close as Cruise came to be cast as Iron Man. In an interview with Comicbook.com, he clearly said that he and the MCU were never close to making a deal:
Not close. Not close and I love Robert Downey Jr. I can’t imagine anyone else in that role and I think it’s perfect for him.
However, that did not make him rule out the possibility of playing the rule of a comic book superhero in any film. Cruise further said:
I look at a movie and I don’t rule anything out. It’s, ‘What’s the story? Does it interest me? Do I feel this is where the audience would like to see me in? What can I learn?’ And ‘What can I contribute?’ That’s how I choose my movies.
The most recent Tom Cruise film that was set to be out was the sequel of his 90s blockbuster hit Top Gun: Maverick. However, as awesome as Cruise is, something just seems off about him playing the genius billionaire.
Why Robert Downey Jr was made for this role
Simply put, Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. go hand in hand. It is well known that Iron Man in the comics isn’t the most pleasant person to be around. He always had that element of narcissism with him, that came with his ingenuity. Moreover, the only person who can portray that element of his personality was indeed Robert Downey Jr. His way of acting encapsulates that element of Tony Stark’s personality perfectly. However, when you think of Tom Cruise in his place, it just doesn’t sit well. The Mission Impossible actor is more suited for an action-packed role of a single-minded individual. It’s just very difficult to imagine him as an eccentric genius that Tony Stark was.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that what happened was for the best. Tom Cruise as Tony Stark simply doesn’t cut it. And it’s safe to say that the MCU might not have seen the same amount of success with Cruise at the helm instead of Downey Jr.