Jon Favreau’s Iron Man will always be remembered as one of the most important and influential blockbuster movies ever made, after it served as the launchpad for what quickly became the world’s biggest and most popular franchise. Given the unprecedented success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems easy to forget that the studio’s debut feature was viewed as a huge risk at the time, especially with a so-called ‘B-level’ hero like Iron Man leading the charge.
However, that was far from the first attempt to bring Tony Stark and his armored alter-ego into live-action, with Universal trying to get the movie made as early as 1990. From there, the rights bounced to Fox and then New Line before ultimately ending up with Marvel Studios, with talent like Quentin Tarantino, Joss Whedon, David S. Goyer and Nick Cassavetes all flirting with the idea at various points.
Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Vince Vaughn and many more were all linked to playing the title hero as Iron Man shuffled through development hell at multiple different studios, and now an awesome new fan poster from Reddit user Jasonandwho imagines what could have happened if the movie was made in the mid-90s with Charlie Sheen in the lead role.
While you can’t imagine anyone other than Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Stark at this point, his career path bears more than a couple of similarities to Charlie Sheen’s, as the two second-generation stars both rose to prominence in the 1980s before suffering from some well-publicized personal troubles that saw each make a comeback on television. Of course, Sheen didn’t end up starring in Iron Man and going on to become one of the biggest names in the business like RDJ did, but at least this cool new poster lets you know how it could have turned out.