Iron Strange: Infinity War Nearly Introduced the Best Iron Man Armor of All

In 2017, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Infamous Iron Man #9 gave fans their first look at Tony Stark as the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe. Although that doesn't seem likely to happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anytime soon, the recently released Art of Avengers: Endgame reveals concept art for Infinity War in which the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Stephen Strange, almost became Iron Man, at least just for a little while.

A potential plan for Infinity War saw Tony Stark and Doctor Strange swapping powers during the confrontation with Ebony Maw while the three -- along with Spider-Man -- hurtled towards Titan and the movie's climax. "When penning the Infinity Saga's epic two-part finale, several idea were floated that never made it onscreen. [...] One idea was for Avengers: Infinity War: the Iron Strange Armor," reads the book. "During Tony Stark and Spider-Man's reckless outer-space rescue of Doctor Strange, a magical showdown almost occurred between Ebony Maw and the Master of the Mystic Arts himself."

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The book continues, "Filmmakers played with the concept of switching Tony Stark and Doctor Strange's power sets -- with Stark wearing the Cloak of Levitation and Strange wearing the Iron Man armor -- in order to explore new character interactions."

Concept art John Straub provided some additional information on the images and what the scene might have looked like, saying, "While they were fighting Ebony Maw, they switched their weapons. I did this frame based on [Concept Artist] Phil [Saunders]' design, as well as some storyboard sequences. They wanted to see a more realized version of those sequences since there were sketches. I was happy to really draw the scene of these two people who share facial hair and attitude fighting together. It's one of those moments that people have seen in comics, where they have a history together, and to actually see it onscreen would have been mind-blowing."

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Saunders added, "The story point was that Doctor Strange is trapped by Ebony Maw, and he's being tortured with magic needles. When Tony sends his nano suit onto Doctor Strange to protect him so that he can escape, the armor forms itself around the Eye of Agamotto. The Eye of Agamotto effectively burns a glyph into his chest and turns it into a magically powered suit, rather than an RT-powered suit. It was super fun. I wish it was still in the movie."

The design of the Iron Strange Armor is particularly intriguing because of the way it combines technology and magic, which have been two major parts of the MCU so far. The armor would almost certainly give Strange a massive power-up, though Tony would be pretty vulnerable. The idea ultimately didn't end up making the final cut of the movie, with the projection instead opting to have Maw get sucked out into space via a hole Iron Man blasted in the ship's hull.

As Tony Stark died during the events of Avengers: Endgame, it seems unlikely he'll ever don Doctor Strange's Cloak of Levitation. It is, however, entirely possible -- though pretty unlikely -- Doctor Strange will wear one of Tony's old suits at some point in the future. There's still some question as to who, if anyone, will replace Tony in the MCU, and considering his similarities to the hero in terms of temperament, Doctor Strange isn't a particularly bad choice. However, the Sorcerer Supreme also has a lot on his plate, as he'll star in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Maybe somewhere in the multiverse he'll find a reality in which the Iron Stange Armor was more than just concept art.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. The film hits theaters on May 7, 2021.

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