Yes, you read it right, you would have seen the Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise flying around the skies of New York and saving the world in that red Iron Man armor. Cruise many times in his interviews has given subtle answers on the role and character of Iron Man which sometimes is enough to guess he somehow regrets not playing the iconic Marvel character on the big screens.
When New Line Cinema held the rights of Iron Man, it initially planned for an Iron Man movie in 1994 and reported that it will feature Cruise as the arms dealer cum superhero Iron Man. Cruise also expressed his interest in playing the characters back then. In 2004, when New Line returned the right of the character to Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige said,
“THERE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSIONS [WITH CRUISE] OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS AND THERE ARE A NUMBER OF FACTORS INVOLVED.”
Many of these factors were undoubtedly money related. When Marvel emerged out as an independent production company, the production of Iron Man was just rolling out. While it seemed like there were some discussions, in earnest, for Cruise to be the first hero of the nascent Marvel Cinematic Universe, the harsh reality was that they probably couldn’t afford him, but they could afford RDJ and he was given the role.