Tom Cruise Iron Man Marvel Robert Downey Jr.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige Reveals Why Tom Cruise Didn’t Play Iron Man

Tom Cruise was once considered for the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man; however, Marvel StudiosKevin Feige says the actor’s asking fee was too high.

Approximately ten years prior to the release of 2008’s Iron Man, Cruise expressed interest in playing Iron Man in a Marvel project. The recently published MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios book by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards — per CinemaBlend — addresses why the collaboration between Cruise and Marvel never got off the ground.

“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,” the book reads. “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.”

The truth is…Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man

The role ultimately went to Robert Downey Jr., who portrayed the character not only in the original Iron Man, but in several other Marvel Studios sequels and crossovers as well, including 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, 2010’s Iron Man 2, 2012’s The Avengers, 2013’s Iron Man 3, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. He also appears via archive footage in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Around the same time as when he expressed interest in being Iron Man, Cruise became the star of the Mission: Impossible franchise, with the first film, directed by Brian De Palma, being released in 1996. Cruise continued to reprise the role of Ethan Hunt for another six films following that, while the eighth film in the Mission: Impossible franchise was recently delayed due to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. It currently has a May 23, 2025, release date.