When it released in 2016, one of the biggest complaints about Doctor Strange was that its hero hewed too close to Iron Man. It followed an arrogant man at the top of his game who suffers a humbling set back and discovers a new identity in the East. Also, facial hair. Surprisingly, bringing the two characters together in Avengers: Infinity War eased the comparison, as initial snark-offs between the duo eventually gave way to revealing their distinctive power sets.
But the movie almost went in the opposite direction, further winking at the interchangability between the two. Early concept art posted to Reddit shows Strange wearing Iron Man’s Mark 50 armor while facing off against Thanos’s minion the Ebony Maw. Created by Phil Saunders, who has worked on several MCU films, the images show Strange deflecting Ebony Maw’s needle attacks while wearing the armor, his Eye of Agamotto glowing in the center.
Speaking about the mashup, Saunders (via Murphy’s Multiverse) explained that the scene would have taken place “in the Q ship when Tony and Spidey are trying to rescue Dr. Strange from Ebony Maw.” The most notable part of the design involved the Eye of Agamotto, the medallion Strange wears around his neck to protect the Time Stone, which the Maw wanted for Thanos. “I imagined the Eye of Agamotto would have taken the place of Tony’s RT and powered the suit, burning a sigil around it,” explained Saunders.
As cool as that mash-up would have been, it wasn’t the only one Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely had in mind. According to Saunders, “later in the scene Tony gets Strange’s cloak, leading to a bizarre team-up.” While Saunders didn’t provide images to help us visualize the sight of Tony Stark flying around with the Cloak of Levitation, it’s not hard to picture the discomfort he would experience dealing with magic. “Could have been cool, I don’t know why they cut it from the script,” Saunders concluded.
The finished film featured heroes in their more traditional garb, give or take an Iron-Spider. Following Spider-Man’s plan to mimic that “really old movie, Aliens,” Iron Man and Spidey blast the Maw out into space. Using his web-shooters and newly-discovered Iron-Spider tendrils, Spidey snags Strange before he can recreate a scene from Event Horizon.
But fans have been able to see different people don Iron Man’s armor in the pages of Marvel Comics. Not only have Rhodey and Pepper worn Iron Man’s armor before their movie counterparts tried it on, so also have Spider-Man’s best girl Mary Jane Watson and his worst enemy Norman Osborn, as well as Victor Von Doom himself.
The 2018 crossover Infinity Wars, written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Mike Deodato, saw Gamora using the stones to reduce the world population, resulting in heroes merging. We didn’t get an Iron Man and Doctor Strange hybrid, but we did see Strange and Captain America become the Soldier Supreme, while Iron Man and Thor became Iron Hammer.
Long before that in 1996, Iron Man and Doctor Strange merged not with fellow Marvel superheroes, but with those from the DC Universe. The short-lived truce between the big two resulted in the Amalgam Universe. There, the Iron Lantern Hal Stark (Iron Man and Green Lantern) fought against a M.O.D.O.K. and Shark mashup called S.H.A.R.K. (they can’t all be winners). Less surprisingly, Doctors Strange and Fate became Doctor Strangefate. Given these oddball pairings, a Doctor Strange and Iron Man combo doesn’t seem like much to ask for.