We’re all very well aware that Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect Tony Stark in the MCU, and probably no one could have portrayed the character better. Indeed, the Iron Man franchise, specifically the success of its 2008 origin movie, is one of the main reasons why the MCU exists as we know and love it today — and a lot of that is owed to Downey himself.
Of course, prior to Iron Man being released, comic book superhero movies weren’t necessarily always the blockbuster giants as they are today. What’s more, Downey’s personal reputation as an actor wasn’t the most highly regarded prior to his joining the MCU. Combined with the natural ever-evolving development process of any movie, it’s no surprise that there were other actors considered for the role of Iron Man. Which actors tried their luck or were offered to play Tony Stark? Let’s take a look at six of them.
6/6 Sam Rockwell
Choosing the best actor to play Tony Stark was a long hard process. One of these potential candidates was none other than Sam Rockwell, who’s known by the MCU fans as the industrialist Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. Well, as it turns out, Jon Favreau (then director of Iron Man) approached Rockwell in the early development process to audition (via Cinema Blend). They had prepared a slightly different image of Tony Stark for Rockwell, one with less charisma and less tech knowledge. Before Rockwell actually got to audition, however, Downey beat him to it and completely stole the show. Of course, Rockwell at least impressed Favreau enough to be offered the part of Justin Hammer. More than that, Rockwell is ready to return to the MCU for future projects.
5/6 Hugh Jackman
There’s probably no other actor who’s been considered for big franchises like Hugh Jackman has. The role of the MCU billionaire was initally offered to him as well (via E! Online). However, Jackman was already committed to the X-Men franchise as Wolverine, and he couldn’t be the face of two superhero franchises simultaneously. Now that X-Men is officially part of the MCU, there’s a high probability we’ll see them clash in the future. For now, we can be excited for Jackman’s return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3, which the actor himself pitched to Ryan Reynolds.
4/6 Tom Cruise
Top Gun and Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise was also offered the role of Tony Stark. He ended up turning down the offer, but doesn’t really regret his decision, as he admitted that Downey is simply perfect for the role. When asked why he rejected the part, Cruise said (via Us Magazine), “As it was lining up, it just didn’t feel to me like it was gonna work. I need to be able to make decisions and make the film as great as it can be, and it just didn’t go down that road that way.” It seems as if Cruise needs control over his…