5 Actors Who Could Have Played Iron Man

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

In the more than 10 years since Iron Man hit theaters, the world of superhero movies has changed. A lot. The 2008 blockbuster was the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it paved the way for all the rest of them—Avengers movies included. The film franchise's success is largely due to actor Robert Downey Jr., who has truly brought the character of Tony Stark to life and set the tone for the Marvel movies to come.

Though Downey proved to be the perfect fit to play the superhero, he was by no means the studio’s first choice. Or even their second. In fact, it took a lot of work to convince Marvel to officially cast him. Though it's hard to imagine the MCU without Downey, here are five other actors who were considered for the role.

1. Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise stars in Mission Impossible - Fallout (2018)
Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise responded to rumors that he was almost Iron Man, stating in 2018 that while he was considered, it didn’t go beyond that. "Not close," Cruise said of how close he got to the part. "Not close and I love Robert Downey Jr. I can't imagine anyone else in that role and I think it's perfect for him." Cruise's stunt work alone probably would have made him a decent pick.

2. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman in Melbourne, Australia on September 4, 2015
Adam Trafford, AFL Media/Getty Images

This one is a little strange, considering Hugh Jackman already plays the X-Men's Wolverine, one of the world's most famous superheroes. But according to CBR, Jackman was considered for the role of Iron Man. For his part, Jackman has stayed relatively quiet on the subject—except to say that he's dying to kick Downey's a**. 

"I actually just asked the other day, I said, 'I don’t know what the legal situation is, but why don’t these companies come together? Why isn’t it possible?,'" Jackman said of his desire to see the X-Men meet up with the Avengers. "Because personally, I would love to mix it up with Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man and kick his a**. It’d be great." (Be careful what you wish for, Hugh.)

3. Nicolas Cage

Actor Nicolas Cage arriving at a screening in 2011
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Nicolas Cage has a well-known affinity for superheroes (just check out his legendary screen test for Superman). According to ScreenCrush, Cage expressed interest in taking on the role of Tony Stark back in the 1990s—more than a decade before the film finally came to fruition. Alas, much like the Man of Steel, Cage's time in the Iron suit never came to be.

4. Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell in 'Iron Man 2'
Marvel Studios

Today, Sam Rockwell is an Oscar-winning actor. But when Jon Favreau initially approached him about playing Iron Man, he was largely known as a character actor (and had played a lot of villains). Though the titular part didn't work out, Rockwell did appear in Iron Man 2—as villain Justin Hammer.

5. Timothy Olyphant

Justified star Timothy Olyphant has all the makings of a great superhero. And, as he shared with Conan O'Brien in 2015, he ended up earning an audition for the role of Tony Stark. But luck was not on his side as it turns out that he actually tested for the role on the same day as Downey. Which just doesn't seem fair for any actor.

This $49 Video Game Design Course Will Teach You Everything From Coding to Digital Art Skills

EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images
EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images

If you spend the bulk of your free time playing video games and want to elevate your hobby into a career, you can take advantage of the School of Game Design’s lifetime membership, which is currently on sale for just $49. You can jump into your education as a beginner, or at any other skill level, to learn what you need to know about game development, design, coding, and artistry skills.

Gaming is a competitive industry, and understanding just programming or just artistry isn’t enough to land a job. The School of Game Design’s lifetime membership is set up to educate you in both fields so your resume and work can stand out.

The lifetime membership that’s currently discounted is intended to allow you to learn at your own pace so you don’t burn out, which would be pretty difficult to do because the lessons have you building advanced games in just your first few hours of learning. The remote classes will train you with step-by-step, hands-on projects that more than 50,000 other students around the world can vouch for.

Once you’ve nailed the basics, the lifetime membership provides unlimited access to thousands of dollars' worth of royalty-free game art and textures to use in your 2D or 3D designs. Support from instructors and professionals with over 16 years of game industry experience will guide you from start to finish, where you’ll be equipped to land a job doing something you truly love.

Earn money doing what you love with an education from the School of Game Design’s lifetime membership, currently discounted at $49.


School of Game Design: Lifetime Membership - $49

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Which Friends Character Would Earn the Most Money in the Real World?

Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Friends went off the air in 2004, the iconic sitcom continues to attract new fans who've discovered the show via re-runs and streaming networks like HBO Max.

To play into this devoted fan base, the professional resume writers at StandOut-CV conducted a fun experiment: They asked more than 3000 fans to predict where Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica would be today, career-wise. They also took the time to figure out how much each character would earn in their respective fields in the real world. Could we be more curious?

Bringing in the highest salary is Joey, whose acting exploits are projected to earn him approximately $61,022 a year. Next comes Dr. Ross, whose career as a paleontologist brings in an estimated $59,023. After that comes fashion designer Rachel, earning $54,563 a year, followed by Chandler's writer/editor salary of $47,039 annually. Phoebe comes next, with her musical career bringing in an annual salary of $43,604 (although the site doesn't mention how her massage therapy business might factor into her life today). Surprisingly, Monica would bring in the least amount of money; she'd earn an average of $43,165 per year as a head chef.

As far as where fans think the Friends gang would be today, the answers are pretty great: They believe Joey would have expanded his acting career to include his own reality series called Keeping Up With Joey Tribbiani. Monica, meanwhile, would have taken the next step in her culinary career by opening up her own restaurant, and her husband Chandler would have continued his passion for writing at a comics magazine. The last season of Friends follows Rachel as she works as an executive for Ralph Lauren, and fans theorize that she would have used her breadth of experience to start her own fashion brand. It's believed Phoebe would have continued her music career, perhaps even becoming a music teacher, while Ross would have spent time writing dinosaur-themed children's books.

Hopefully, the upcoming Friends reunion special will give fans a final answer on what the characters would be up to today.