14 years into the MCU, who hasn't been rumored for a role at Marvel Studios at some point? With an ever-expanding universe filled with casting opportunities for heroes, villains, and everyday people, Marvel Studios will always be looking for talent to bring into the fray. This was more true than ever with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - a movie with endless rumored cameos.
The cameos were ultimately contained to just the six members of Earth-838's Illuminati, which consisted of Baron Mordo, Captain Marvel, Professor X, Captain Carter, Black Bolt, and Mr. Fantastic. But since four of the six council members appeared in the marketing in the run-up to release, only John Krasinski's Mr. Fantastic and Anson Mount's Black Bolt proved to be true surprises.
There were plenty of cameo rumors that didn't come true, such as Deadpool, Spider-Man, and Wolverine; on top of that, one of the more subtle ones was Balder the Brave, son of Odin and brother of Thor. While the Asgardian hero never made it into Multiverse of Madness, it has now been revealed which legendary actor would have played him.
Daniel Craig Was Almost in Doctor Strange 2's Illuminati
James Bond actor Daniel Craig reportedly almost held a chair on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Illuminati as Balder the Brace in place of John Krasinski's Mr. Fantastic.
Deadline's Justin Kroll revealed in a recent tweet that Krasinski wasn't originally planned to appear in the film, but the original actor - which he teased to be Craig using a GIF - dropped out of the project amid an increase in COVID cases in the UK. At the time, Craig was living in London and concluded the brief shoot wasn't worth risking spreading the virus to his family.
Twitter user @heavyspoilers later revealed Craig was intended to play Balder the Brave (Thor's brother) on the Illuminati. The Asgardian reportedly would have been talked into suicide by Wanda, but Craig was unable to film the scenes and Krasinski's Mr. Fantastic replaced him in reshoots.
Will Daniel Craig Join the MCU?
So, if it wasn't for a sudden uptick of COVID-19 cases in the UK, James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, would now be in the MCU. Balder the Brave presumably would have served as a Thor replacement on Earth-838's Illuminati council, but ultimately, John Krasinski's Reed Richards was the right way to go. After all, he is the smartest man alive and a key Illuminati member in Marvel Comics.
Although, perhaps including both was at one point considered to be a possibility as the Illuminati scene features six chairs, plus a gap to fit Charles Xavier's wheelchair. With seven spots on the stage and only six Illuminati members, there may have originally been plans for one more hero to join the team. Typically, the spare chair would be removed with CGI, but the symmetry of the scene could make this a tough task, one that the creative team ultimately decided wasn't worth the effort.
With Krasinski having been fan-cast as the popular stretchy hero for a long time now, crowd reactions to his debut were immense. A surprise appearance from Daniel Craig would still have attracted an ecstatic response, but one only fueled by him appearing as an actor, as only hardcore comic buffs are really familiar with Balder.
Even though Craig didn't end up making his way into Multiverse of Madness, he clearly has an interest in joining the MCU, but who could he play besides Balder? Well, he's has long proven to be a popular choice for the X-Men's Magneto, and there's no doubt he would pull it off greatly. Just as every British actor has at one point or another, some have also suggested he could be the right man to finally bring Captain Britain to screens.
Either way, fans can now only hope Marvel Studios can secure Daniel Craig for the MCU before Sony gets a chance to cast him in its Spider-Man spin-off universe. But in the meantime, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is playing now in theaters around the world.