One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s greatest achievements is the jaw-dropping acting talent it brings together. To think about all the major stars and ridiculously talented performers it has featured is pretty amazing.
When you take a minute to consider all the other projects this diverse crew has been involved with, it makes the feat of bringing them together all the more astounding.
Two of those great performers include Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch. Both are involved with the MCU, and one behind-the-scenes-photo of the duo left fans of the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes seeing double.
Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes
Of course, in the MCU, Downey Jr. portrays Tony Stark, the superhero better known as Iron Man. He’s a billionaire playboy philanthropist who reforms his ways of being a weapons dealer to become a force for good clad in an iron suit.
Downey Jr. also played Holmes. His version was on the big screen — he starred in a two-film series directed by famed British director Guy Ritchie. Jude Law played Dr. Watson.
Downey Jr.’s Holmes takes place in the Victorian era where the original stories are based. It also combined Holmes’ penchant for analysis with the sensibilities of a Hollywood blockbuster. For example, there are scenes where Holmes internally deduces the best way to attack an advancing opponent followed by a gripping action sequence of him executing the moves he planned in the head.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
Cumberbatch has a different role within the MCU — he plays Doctor Strange. Whereas Downey Jr.’s Stark is a hero at least grounded in our reality, Strange’s character shows Marvel’s ability to embrace the mystical side. Strange is the universe’s “Sorcerer Supreme,” using spells and other magic to protect the world from inter-dimensional foes.
Cumberbatch played a different version of the famous detective as well. In the BBC series Sherlock, Cumberbatch plays Holmes with the same brilliant aloofness that characterizes the famous gumshoe.
The main difference in this version is that it takes place in modern-day. It’s interesting to see a take on the character that accounts for present-day technology. He’s joined in his cases by Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. Unlike the American Downey, Cumberbatch is actually a Brit like Holmes.
The behind the scenes MCU photo that has Sherlock Holmes fans seeing double
An MCU fan posted a behind the scenes picture to Reddit of both Downey and Cumberbatch in character during the filming of Infinity War. It must have been quite the sight for Holmes fans everywhere, finally getting to see two actors who had played the detective onscreen at the same time.
What would have made fans of the sleuth really lose their minds is one inside joke that nearly made it into the film. According to SyFy.com, the Russo Brothers wanted to insert a Holmes reference into Strange and Stark’s first meeting in the film.
“I should’ve said, ‘No sh–, Sherlock…Everybody really wanted that joke.”
Would the joke have been a bridge too far? Even for a series that can be as irreverent as the MCU, it may come a little too close to breaking the fourth wall. Stark is known for his pop culture references (i.e. referring to Ebony Maw as “Squidward”), but this one would have been a nod toward the characters’ real-life acting careers. That would have pulled the audience out of the reality the movie was creating.
Holmes fans will just have to settle for the scenes the two shared during Infinity War and Endgame — all of which were pretty entertaining.
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