The Alternate ‘Avengers’ – The Superhero Casting That Almost Happened
With the buzz around Marvel's 'The Avengers' reaching a fever pitch and the first reviews starting to hit ahead of the film's May 4th release (all positive, from what we've seen so far), now might be a good time to reflect back on some of the many casting rumors to reflect on a very different 'Avengers' movie.
Over the course of several years, as Marvel set its cinematic plans in motion and began developing films like 'Iron Man,' 'Thor' and 'Captain America,' various actors were rumored at one point or another for those iconic superhero roles. Even before the construction of the modern Marvel Studios that we know now, plans bounced around various studios for years regarding an 'Iron Man' movie.
So what if, as a result of that, the Tony Stark we know and (sort of) love today was not played by Robert Downey Jr.? And what if Chris Evans lost the role of Captain America to a guy who plays a paper salesman on TV? If a certain actress did not have a contractual obligation to fulfill, would we be seeing her instead of Scarlet Johansson fill out the Black Widow's black leather?
It's all interesting speculation for sure, so here for your geeky pleasure (or not) is a cast list for an alternate 'Avengers' — perhaps this version is playing in a theater on some other Earth (and no, that's not a DC reference, just a sci-fi one):
Tom Cruise as Iron Man
Cruise was rumored to play the billionaire weapons manufacturer and armored superhero as far back as 1998, with a movie about old Shellhead in development as early as 1990. It bounced around various studios before landing at New Line in 2004, with Cruise still attached. By the time Marvel got the rights back in 2006, however, Cruise had moved on. Other rumored contenders over the years included Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicolas Cage (of course) and one of 'Iron Man' director Jon Favreau's other choices, Sam Rockwell.
John Krasinski as Captain America
A number of actors were on Marvel's short list to play the patriotic World War II super-soldier, including Chace Crawford, Scott Porter and Mike Vogel (interestingly, Chris Evans came into the picture very late in the game). But the name that stood out — and apparently came within inches of getting the part — was 'The Office' star John Krasinski. He did have a lot going for him, including his age, his cheerful, optimistic attitude, and his youthful 'aw, shucks' presence. But could he have made a formidable action hero? We'll never know.