“He had flirted with the idea”: Marvel Turned Down Tom Cruise as Iron Man Over ‘Addict’ Robert Downey Jr. in Risky Gamble That Paved the Way for $30B MCU


The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) stands as a titan in the realm of superhero movies, but its inception wasn’t without its share of pivotal decisions and audacious casting choices. Among the most crucial was the selection of the actor to embody the iconic character of Iron Man.

The studio initially considered Tom Cruise for the role of Iron Man. Cruise was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the time, and he had a proven track record of success in action movies. However, Marvel ultimately decided to go with Robert Downey Jr.


, which at that time was a risky decision. Nevertheless, Robert Downey Jr. helped MCU to build its $30 billion worth.

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Initially, Tom Cruise Was Considered for the Iron Man Role

When Marvel Studios was first developing in the early 2000s, was one of the top names on their list to play the titular role.

Cruise, a seasoned and charismatic actor with numerous blockbuster hits under his belt, was seen as a bankable choice by many in the industry. His star power was undeniable, and his action-packed filmography made him a seemingly perfect fit for the superhero persona.


But, ultimately it did not come to fruition for some reasons. And, Marvel Studios then turned to Robert Downey Jr. and he became the face of the studio.

The new book , written by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards, narrates the reasons why the star was not picked for the role of Iron Man.

“Ten years earlier, when the Iron Man rights were at 20th Century Fox, Tom Cruise, then thirty-four, had flirted with the idea of playing Stark.”

It continued,

“According to Feige, however, 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.


And, thus the door for was opened whom Marvel executives labeled as an ‘.’ Nevertheless, Marvel saw beyond his troubled past and recognized his potential to breathe life into Tony Stark in a way that no one else could.

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Robert Downey Jr. was Once Called an ‘‘ by the Studio

The decision to cast Downey Jr. was unconventional and came with risks. His personal history could have potentially overshadowed the film and impacted its reception. At the time, Downey Jr. had a history of drug addiction and legal troubles.


David Maisel, the executive producer of Marvel Studios, talked with and said that he was the one who made the MCU, though people think it’s Kevin Feige. He said:


Per him, it was he who brought Robert Downey Jr. to lead the role of Iron Man.

“My board thought I was crazy to put the future of the company in the hands of an addict,” Maisel said. “I helped them understand how great he was for the role. We all had confidence that he was clean and would stay clean.”

The release of in 2008 marked the birth of the MCU and redefined the landscape of superhero movies. Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Tony Stark was nothing short of iconic.

Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man was a risky bet, but it paid off in a big way. His performance helped to redefine the superhero genre and make the MCU a global phenomenon.

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