It’s a fascinating bit of alternate history to consider. In the end, Matthew Goode played the role of Ozymandias. Again, Goode was not yet a big name and this was one of his first significant roles in a major tentpole. Cruise would have been by far the biggest movie star in the cast. It’s easy to see why Snyder, at that time, envisioned him as the all-powerful, super-confident Ozymandias. But it’s also not difficult to see why Cruise would see Rorschach as the meatier role.

“He was interested,” Snyder explained to CHUD in 2007 when asked about Cruise’s near-involvement. “I did talk to him about it for a while.” The director also confirmed at the time that yes, it would have been for Ozymandias. This Rorschach news is fascinating though. Would Cruise, Snyder, and Warner Bros. have worked things out if they hadn’t already found Haley? Would “Watchmen” have been a theatrical hit rather than a bomb with that kind of star power? There is so much to consider.

This also isn’t the only time that Cruise flirted with a major superhero movie role in the late 2000s. The Oscar nominee was also famously courted for the lead in 2008’s “Iron Man,” which he passed on. Robert Downey Jr. ended up with the part and the rest is box office history. To this day, Cruise still hasn’t appeared in a superhero movie. That being the case, it’s pretty fascinating that he circled two very big ones right around the same time and, beyond that, never ended up taking part in what became the biggest genre in Hollywood for a decade and a half.

“Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver” is now streaming on Netflix.

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