Before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came out, one of the multitudes of fan theories about the film included Tom Cruise playing a little-known variant of Tony Stark – Superior Iron Man. However, we all discovered that the white and blue blurs we saw in the trailer were not what fans had wildly speculated. To be fair, the idea only gained ground because someone saw Tom Cruise with a goatee. Before the movie came out, the crazy theories produced fan-made photos of Tom Cruise in an Iron Man suit and tons of possible entrances and storylines where this alternate Iron Man might make sense in the Marvel Universe.
The uproar from fans was so loud that Doctor Strange 2 writer Michael Waldron heard about the idea and loved it. He was so taken with the concept that he even brought it to Kevin Feige (president of Marvel) to see if it would work. It’s just proof that if fans want it enough, then movie studios will make it happen. So who’s to say it can not still happen? Apparently, Tom Cruise is not opposed to playing the character. The biggest reason it did not work was that Cruise was filming Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 at the time.
Who is Superior Iron Man?
Superior Iron Man is still Tony Stark but comes from a storyline in Marvel Comics called the Axis event, in which a spell switched the moralities of all the major heroes in the Universe. Before the spell was reversed, Evil Stark protected himself from it, ensuring he kept himself evil. Once everything had returned to normal, Stark began using his genius and vast resources to more or less quietly conquer the world.
He began distributing a virus hidden in an app that made the world’s population chemically dependent on Stark’s creation. After the population was addicted, he used their need for his app to force them to pay for a subscription to it. He hid from the other superheroes and the general population by forcing other companies to provide morally glowing reviews of the app. Because everyone else had their morality returned to normal, they assumed Stark did as well, so by the time his evil plan was unveiled, the damage had already been done.
Evil Stark had created a group of advanced drones and released them on the public to act as his own personal police force, enforcing his will on the already weakened population. Superior Iron Man was never technically defeated. He died fighting Captain America during an incursion, an event when two universes collide. All life in both universes was wiped out, and Superior Iron Man’s last words to Steve Rogers were that he regretted nothing.
How Would Tom Cruise Play This Role?
Clearly, this version of Stark has a massive ego and a brilliant intellect wielded for his selfish desires. It’s not often that Tom Cruise plays a villain. A lot of his characters more closely resemble a heroic Tony Stark. Ethan Hunt is a good example. The hero of Mission: ImpossibleEthan, is a capable, confident, and suave leading man, all qualities Stark also possesses, but this character might take himself a little too seriously to mimic Stark.
Joel from Risky Business is relaxed, comedic, and a charismatic leader but is probably too silly to be Iron Man. If one of Cruise’s roles were the closest to the superhero, it would probably be Maverick from Top Gun. Maverick is a slightly over-confident but still incredibly skillful pilot who refuses to take things seriously due to his incredible talent. It combines the right balance of ego, skill, and humor. Their character arcs are similar in Top Gun and the first Avengers movie.
However, Superior Iron Man is still a villain in this universe, so despite how charming or brilliant he may be, he still has to be motivated by a selfish desire to dominate everything. Cruise played an insane, slightly villainous character in Tropic Thunder. But despite how egotistical and dominating Les Grossman is, he might be a tad bit unstable to use as an archetype to play a cold, calculating genius.
Collateral is an excellent example of a film in which Cruise’s character is a slightly darker spin on a man who normally plays attractive, admirable heroes. While Vincent is not technically the villain of this movie, he is still an emotionless, sociopathic genius willing to sacrifice any empathetic connection he might make to achieve his dark goal. That’s the kind of man Superior Iron Man should be, but, of course, on a global scale, with a giant tower with his name on it and a super powerful suit. Tom Cruise bringing this performance to bear inside the Marvel Universe would give fans exactly what they want – a super-powerful, evil version of a charming character that is now no longer restricted by morality. Tom Cruise can answer the question: what is Tony Stark really capable of?
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