Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is stacked with cameos, from surprise MCU debuts to multiverse versions of characters we already know and love. However, there's a pretty long list of rumored cameos – some that were plausible and others that seemed like a complete and total fever dream – that ultimately never showed up. But before you scroll on, this is your major spoiler warning. We're about to discuss some massive surprises that could ruin your enjoyment of Doctor Strange 2 if you've yet to see it. If you didn't catch it in theaters, the sequel is now streaming on Disney Plus.
If you're still here... you already know that some rumored cameos really did appear in the movie. We got to see a live-action version of the Illuminati, which features John Krasinski as Reed Richards, Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Lashana Lynch as Captain Marvel, Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, and Anson Mount as Black Bolt. But what about Tom Cruise as Iron Man, Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, or Nicolas Cage's Ghostrider? We answer all those questions here with our guide to all the Doctor Strange 2 cameos that never showed up.
Tom Cruise as Iron Man
The inclusion of Iron Man in Doctor Strange 2 was rumored after it emerged the Illuminati would be making an appearance. In the Marvel comics, this is a secret group of some of the strongest superheroes in existence who are tasked with making decisions that will impact the fate of the multiverse. One of their central members is Iron Man, who we last saw die in Avengers: Endgame.
Heading into Doctor Strange 2, many thought Robert Downey Jr. would not be back to reprise the role, which could leave the door open for a variant version of him. Rumors were that Tom Cruise could take on the role, as he was a fan favorite casting before Downey Jr won the part. There were also some Reddit theories that Cruise had been on the set after Doctor Strange 2 began filming in London, where he was working at the time on Mission Impossible 7. However, Sam Raimi did not make Iron Man a member of the Illuminati, and the cameo never happened.
"That was totally made up. I mean, there’s no cut footage of Tom Cruise!" writer Michael Waldron told Rolling Stone of the cameo that never was. "But I love Tom Cruise, and I said to Kevin [Feige] at one point, I was like, 'Could we get Tom Cruise's Iron Man?'" He explained he thought it would "be cool" after reading the speculation online, but, ultimately, no one reached out to Cruise because the actor was busy shooting Mission Impossible 7 and 8.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool was another fan favorite to appear in Doctor Strange 2. Marvel boss Kevin Feige has promised Deadpool will be part of the MCU, with a third adventure on the way for the sweary Merc. Some had been wondering if he could make an appearance ahead of this. Some eagle-eyed fans even spotted what they thought was a glimpse of Deadpool in one of the posters for the film.
Reynolds always maintained he wasn’t going to appear, however, telling Variety: "I’m really not in the movie. I’m promising, I’m not in the movie." Turns out, he was telling the truth as Deadpool was not the X-Men character who was introduced.
But, it was a possibility, according to Waldron. "Yeah, we talked about it," he told ComicBook.com. "I think we talked about everything in this movie. So, [it] would've been crazy to not raise that, but it ultimately didn't feel like... It just didn't feel the right place. But yeah, of course we talked about it."
Daniel Craig as Mr. Fantastic
This rumored cameo is slightly different to the others on our list, because it started after the movie was released.
While Mr. Fantastic did make an appearance in Doctor Strange 2 as an Illuminati member, played by John Krasinski, the actor reportedly wasn't top of the list to play the stretchy superhero.
According to Deadline's Justin Kroll: "Fun fact, Krasinski wasn't the first choice, the actor originally set to play the role was all set to shoot but when there was an uptick in COVID cases, he backed out as he was living in London and didn't think the quick shoot [was] worth risk of bringing back COVID to the fam." If that's too vague, he accompanied his tweet with a GIF of Craig.
Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider
Some people expected Nicolas Cage to appear as Ghost Rider. This was one of the more out-there suggestions, but rumors stemmed from the inclusion of characters from Sony's Marvel universe in recent MCU films. Cage previously played Johnny Blaze in the studio’s Ghost Rider movies back in 2007 and 2011.
Speaking to GQ, Cage had denied his appearance but admitted he definitely would have reprised the role if asked. He told the publication: "I don’t think they’re casting me. I mean, I would do it. It would be fun. I’d love to work with Cumberbatch, but I don’t think that’s happening."
Given the confirmation of the X-Men universe merging with the MCU, one cameo people thought may happen was Wolverine. However, it was speculated the iconic character would not be played by Hugh Jackman, and that Marvel would use this as an opportunity to cast a new star in the role. Jackman previously doubled down that his last appearance in the role was in Logan. However, some felt sure the character could return in a new form, which was fuelled by a supposed industry insider who suggested the character would appear in Doctor Strange 2. Instead, we got Professor X, so the movie was not exactly mutant-less.
Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains variant
Loki’s season finale introduced Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains, a variant tasked with protecting the Sacred Timeline and keeping multiversal order. He failed, with Loki variant Sylvie killing him in the Disney Plus show’s final episode, unleashing his variants on the multiverse. We got our first glimpse of one of these – Kang the Conqueror – in that finale, and he will return in Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania. However, given Doctor Strange 2’s multiverse focus, it was speculated he, or another of his variants, may appear. It seems like Marvel is saving his storyline for a later MCU property, but Feige did share how he’s linked to the plot of Doctor Strange 2 in a recent interview.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Along similar lines as Majors, MCU fans thought the multiverse subject could allow Tom Hiddleston to make a movie return in the Marvel universe. There were some on-set leaks which hinted that the actor could have filmed a brief cameo – but these turned out to be false. Hiddleston recently opened up to Total Film about his return to the character, and whether we may see him in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. Read our full chat with him to see what he said, and what we can expect from Loki season 2.
Paul Bettany as Vision
Wanda Maximoff plays a huge role in Doctor Strange 2, driven to dark magic after the loss of her children in WandaVision. The movie follows Elizabeth Olsen’s character as she hunts down America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).
Wanda's kids, Billy and Tommy, are in the movie, but there was no Vision. Paul Bettany had given a cheeky tease about being in the film when he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He’d said: "I said I was going to be entirely honest with you… Am I in Doctor Strange 2? Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no. I don’t know. Am I? What do you think?" It’s entirely possible that Vision wasn’t created in any other universe, or had been killed by Thanos in all of them, which would be why we didn’t see him. But there does remain the loose end of what happened to White Vision. In the WandaVision finale, the synthezoid flew off – check out our WandaVision ending explained for where he might have gone.
Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man
Tobey Maguire? Didn’t we just see him in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Well, this rumor seemed to stem from fans being desperate for him to reunite with Raimi in the Marvel universe. And given Maguire had shown he was open to reprising the role, some thought this would be a great opportunity to see the pair reunited. While it didn’t happen in this film, Raimi has said he’d love to work with Maguire again. Speaking to Fandango, he explained: "I've come to realize after making Doctor Strange that anything is possible, really anything in the Marvel universe, any team-ups. I love Tobey. I love Kirsten Dunst. I think all things are possible."
Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher
Marvel’s What If has had a much bigger impact on the MCU than many thought it might. Doctor Strange 2 brought some of the show's characters to live-action for the first time. Not only did we meet Sinister Strange, but we saw Captain Carter in action – albeit quite briefly. One cameo that didn’t happen was Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher, the all-knowing omnipresent character at the center of the show. Despite his character’s key link to the multiverse, we’ve still yet to see Wright take on the role in live-action. There’s always next time, right?
Want more on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Then check out our guides to:
- Doctor Strange 2 ending explained
- Doctor Strange 2 post-credits scenes explained
- Our guide to Marvel Phase 4
- All the Doctor Strange 2 Easter eggs listed
- What does 616 in Doctor Strange 2 mean?
- Where Doctor Strange 2 fits on the Marvel timeline
- Who is Charlize Theron in Doctor Strange 2?
- The TV history of the Darkhold, explained
- Our full WandaVision recap
- The Marvel movies and shows to watch before Doctor Strange 2
- When is Doctor Strange 2 on Disney Plus?
- How to watch the Marvel movies in order
- Is Doctor Strange 2 too scary for children?