A new deepfake video imagines what it would have looked like if Tom Cruise had played Tony Stark in Iron Man as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of Robert Downey Jr. While it's almost impossible to imagine anyone else other than Downey Jr. playing the role now, Cruise was once considered for Iron Man, though the actor himself claims that it was never close to actually happening.
Iron Man has been a staple character in the MCU since its inception, and many credit Downey Jr. with making the franchise an early success thanks to his performances and dedication to the role. While his time as the character seemingly came to an end earlier this year in Avengers: Endgame when Iron Man sacrificed himself to defeat Thanos once and for all, his impact on the franchise will likely never be forgotten. Still, thanks to the internet's obsession with "what if" scenarios and deepfake technology, which replaces one actor's likeness with another's using existing images and video, it was only a matter of time before fans were treated to Cruise as Iron Man himself.
Created by Collider, the deepfake video showcases what Cruise would have looked like as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the MCU. The video moves through pivotal scenes in the franchise, from Stark admitting he's the eponymous character in the first Iron Man movie to the fateful snap in Avengers: Endgame. For a look at the video, see below:
Like most of these deepfake videos, the replacement can be a little awkward-looking and unreal. This is especially true given that Cruise and Downey Jr.'s body acting styles are so drastically different from each other that merging the two can't be anything but a little off-putting. Regardless, it's still a nice little trip down the what-if lane, and Evan Ferrante's Cruise impression (the actor himself obviously does not do the voice over) is admirable enough to give a solid idea of what the MCU would have looked like with Ethan Hunt himself in the role of Stark.
Again, though, as fun and well edited as this deepfake video is, it's still almost impossible to imagine anyone but Downey Jr. ever slipping into the role. While Cruise has certainly had his fair share of action-oriented roles, for a lot of fans, the role of Stark is one that Downey Jr. was simply born to play. And given the character's emotional and praised send off in Avengers: Endgame, it's likely no one will ever be able to capture the soul of the character like that again. Still, it's always fun to imagine what could have been in Iron Man.
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