Will Tony Stark come back? Variant theories explored as Tom Cruise Iron Man rumors intensify ahead of 'Multiverse of Madness'

Concept of Tom Cruise as Tony Stark, and Superior Iron Man (Image via Aitesam Farooq/𝐒𝐏𝐃𝐑𝐌𝐍𝐊𝐘𝐗𝐗𝐈𝐈𝐈/Instagram)
Concept of Tom Cruise as Tony Stark, and Superior Iron Man (Image via Aitesam Farooq/𝐒𝐏𝐃𝐑𝐌𝐍𝐊𝐘𝐗𝐗𝐈𝐈𝐈/Instagram)

Rumors of Tony Stark’s return in the upcoming MCU film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, have heated up after a fanart concept reimagined Tom Cruise in the role. On January 10, digital artist Rahal Nejraoui posted a picture of his fanart of the Mission Impossible star in an Iron Man suit. This generated further hype over the character’s potential return to live-action movies.

Marvel’s previous multiversal film, Spider-Man: No Way Home, featured three variants of Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and MCU’s Tom Holland. The film led directly to the upcoming Doctor Strange 2, which is also expected to showcase multiple multiversal characters.

The multiversal elements of the recent Marvel films have riled up fans who think variants of established MCU characters will appear in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange sequel.

Origin of the Tom Cruise's Iron Man (Tony Stark) variant rumor


In September last year, well-established Marvel Insider Daniel Richtman reported on the potential return of Iron Man to live-action projects of MCU. In a report on his Patreon page, he stated,

“I hear they are considering a bunch of interesting cameos for Strange to play different versions of characters we know. One example I heard of is Tom Cruise as Tony Stark from another Earth.”

These rumors spread like wildfire as fans have always wondered about Cruise’s portrayal of the character. Prior to Robert Downey Jr. being cast for the role of Iron Man, Tom Cruise was eyed for the role by Marvel Studios.

Richtman’s report is also plausible as the 59-year-old star was filming Mission Impossible 7 in London, while Doctor Strange 2 was also beginning its production there.

Fan reaction to Tom Cruise's rumored Iron Man appearance in Doctor Strange 2

To no one's surprise, this rumor has divided MCU fans. Meanwhile, one side claimed this will affect Robert Downey Jr.'s legacy and the embodiment of Stark in the films. Others were excited for Cruise potentially donning the Iron Man armor.

Superior Iron Man rumor

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature multiple versions of Doctor Strange, including Defender Strange and potentially Strange Supreme. Further rumors suggest that Tom Cruise’s variant of Stark will be the Superior Iron Man.

Tony Stark as Superior Iron Man (Image via Marvel Comics)
Tony Stark as Superior Iron Man (Image via Marvel Comics)

This version of Iron Man first appeared in the Superior Iron Man Vol 1 #1 comic in November 2014. In the comic series, this variant of Tony was villainous and donned a white ‘Iron Man’ armor with a blue glow.

Superior Iron Man was an immoral character with a distinct contrast from the primary version of Iron Man (Earth 616). Marvel may introduce this character in the film, with the possibility of future cameos in projects like Iron Heart.

A tweet from Moth Culture, a self-proclaimed source of leaks, claimed that Tom Cruise’s Superior Iron Man would appear in Doctor Strange 2 to disarm his version of Ultron bots. However, the tweet also claims that this was reportedly before the extended reshoots the movie went through.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is also rumored to include X-Men characters like Professor X as some variant and Fantastic Four.

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Edited by Srijan Sen
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