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Somewhere, There’s a Timeline in Which Daniel Craig Is in the MCU

I want to go to there

Daniel Craig at the premiere of Macbeth

Daniel Craig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Can you imagine it? Somewhere out in that vast web of infinitely branching timelines, you don’t have to—because Craig came tantalizingly close to playing a role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The rumors started shortly after the movie’s release last May, when Deadline reporter Justin Kroll tweeted that Craig had been slated to play one of the members of the Illuminati, but had backed out because of Covid concerns.

Then, in October, concept artist Darrell Warner revealed a watercolor painting of Craig’s scrapped character: Balder the Brave. The painting shows Balder dressed in Asgardian armor, holding a sword and flanked by ravens. His face clearly resembles Craig.

In Doctor Strange 2, the Illuminati is a group of superheroes on Earth-838 who secretly protect the universe from threats like Thanos and the multiversal collisions known as incursions. On Earth-838, the Illuminati consists of Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic (John Krasinski); Maria Rambeau, a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch); Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell); Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart); Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor); and Black Bolt (Anson Mount).

In the comics, Balder the Brave is an Asgardian warrior and Thor’s half-brother. Like his counterpart in Norse mythology, Balder is granted invulnerability to almost all weapons, until Loki tricks the god Hoder into killing Balder with a dart made from mistletoe.

For awhile, we didn’t hear much about Craig’s possible role in the MCU. However, a new video and an interview with Craig has shed more light on the subject.

Related: The 61 celebrities who have played themselves in the MCU on We Got This Covered

Craig (sort of) addresses his MCU near miss

On December 22, Craig appeared on the podcast Happy Sad Confused with Josh Horowitz. After discussing his recent appearance as Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion, Horowitz asked Craig if he’d ever heard of the character Balder the Brave. Craig paused, and then said that he hadn’t.

Then, when Horowitz asked him about the rumors that he’d been cast as Balder, Craig coyly said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ah, lying through one’s teeth: Spider-Man: No Way Home Despite Alleged Set Pic”>a time-honored MCU tradition. Whatever you say, Daniel! Wink wink!

There’s even more evidence that Balder was set to appear in Doctor Strange 2. On December 30, The Direct reported on a video shared by Elizabeth Olsen’s stunt double, C.C. Ice, showing Balder lying on the floor of the Baxter Institute on Earth 838. That Balder is most likely a stunt double, but it does confirm that the character made it pretty far into production before getting cut. Wanda was reportedly going to manipulate Balder into impaling himself on his own sword.

Will Daniel Craig ever join the MCU?

There’s still reason to hope that we’ll get Daniel Craig in the MCU someday, even if it’s not as an Asgardian. When Horowitz asked Craig if he was open to the idea of a future MCU role, Craig said, “Absolutely. Yeah, definitely.”

Here’s hoping that someday, our timeline will be the one in which we can enjoy a super-powered Daniel Craig in a Marvel movie.

(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.