Robert Downey Jr As DC Villain? It Almost Happened Before MCU

Robert Downey Jr As DC Villain? It Almost Happened Before MCU
Image credit: Legion-Media, DC, Universal Pictures

Before securing the Iron Man gig, the actor wanted to play one of the villains in 2005's Batman Begins.


  • These days, Robert Downey Jr. is practically inseparable from his MCU character, Iron Man
  • But before he got that fateful role, he was eager to play a villain in the 2005 DC film Batman Begins
  • For better or worse, his pitch didn't impress director Christopher Nolan, who had another actor in mind

The rise, fall, and resurgence of Robert Downey Jr.'s acting career is arguably the most famous example of a disgraced Hollywood star completely turning his life around and reaching new heights he previously could only dream of.

There is no denying that the role of Tony Stark in 2008's Iron Man, which launched the most successful superhero movie franchise of all time, was a godsend for him, resulting in the actor being the face of the MCU for many years.

However, during a recent Q&A at the Los Angeles American Cinematheque theater, the actor revealed that before he landed the fateful role that saved his career, he actually wanted to star in the hit movie based on Marvel's rival DC Comics.

The Actor Pitched Himself For The Role Of Scarecrow

Robert Downey Jr As DC Villain? It Almost Happened Before MCU - image 1

Downey Jr. shared that when he heard about Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins several years before Iron Man, he was immediately intrigued by the idea of portraying one of the villains, Scarecrow, as he saw himself in the character.

The actor even met with the director over a cup of tea and pitched himself for the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane, but it was clear that Nolan was not interested in casting him, even though the filmmaker was polite about it.

Fans point out that in the end, everyone benefited from Downey Jr. being denied the role in the 2005 film, as he eventually got the MCU gig that restored dignity to his career, while the Batman villain was brilliantly portrayed by Cillian Murphy.

Downey Jr. Would Have Been Perfect As Another DC Villain

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Some of them believe that while they don't really see him as the Scarecrow, Robert Downey Jr. could be perfectly cast as another DC villain, the Mad Hatter, a criminal who controls the minds of his victims and is inspired by the character from Alice in Wonderland.

The actor's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the 2009 film and its sequel bears some resemblance to the DC character, so it would have been curious to see Downey Jr.'s take on him.

While he didn't have any luck with the 2005 Batman movie, the actor recently got the chance to star in Christopher Nolan's latest film, Oppenheimer, and received high praise for his portrayal of Lewis Strauss.

He was even nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category at the 96th Academy Awards and this March we will find out if his performance will help Downey Jr. win.

Sources: Griffin Schiller on X, Reddit

Which DC villain role do you think the actor would be best suited for?