Santa Clarita Diet’s Timothy Olyphant Was Almost This Avenger

Timothy Olyphant, currently starring alongside Drew Barrymore as the devoted husband to a flesh-eating – yet family-oriented and loving – mother and wife, plays Joel on Santa Clarita Diet. The Netflix original recently released its third season to strong critical reviews and likely has a bright future ahead on the streaming platform.

Timothy Olyphant
Timothy Olyphant | Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Before starring on Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, Timothy Olyphant starred in Justified, Deadwood, Hitman, and Live Free or Die Hard. With a smoldering aesthetic, boasting a salt and pepper hairdo and a gentlemanly demeanor, the Avenger he was pegged to play should come as no surprise.

Timothy Olyphant was pegged to play Tony Stark / Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Timothy Olyphant, while no stranger to success, missed out on the chance to be a part of one of this generation’s most celebrated film franchises. The Avengers saga – a cultural phenomenon destined to be remembered as one of the most successful Hollywood ventures ever tackled – would have undoubtedly sky-rocketed the actor’s career. So, how did he come close, and what exactly happened? Why didn’t he land the role?

According to Looper, after Timothy Olyphant successfully headlined two hit TV shows – Justified and Deadwood – his management team was able to snag him a spot on Jon Favreau’s shortlist for the role of Tony Stark. Jon Favreau directed the first two Iron Man movies before Shane Black took over for the final Iron Man standalone film.

View this post on Instagram

1 Month. #AvengersEndgame

A post shared by Avengers: Endgame (@avengers) on

While Olyphant’s audition went well, and he went on to film a screen test, Robert Downey Jr. shot his screen test on the same day! And, as the saying goes, the rest is history. In 2015, many years After the Iron Man movies hit the silver screen, Olyphant joked on Conan that he was still waiting for the call, and he explained how the role would have been a “game-changer,” according to Looper.

While Timothy Olyphant did not get to play the man who would start it all, he came pretty close, which is a lot more than many other actors can claim. However, do we think Olyphant would have been a fit for Tony Stark?

Would Timothy Olyphant have been able to carry the MCU from ‘Iron Man’ all the way to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ just like Robert Downey Jr.?

Though it may be nearly impossible to imagine anyone else in the Iron Man suit, aside from Robert Downey Jr., let’s momentarily suspend our disbelief and pretend that RDJ was never cast as the iconic superhero. Would Timothy Olyphant have been a match for the role?

Timothy Olyphant has proven that he’s got quite a knack for comedic timing on Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet, so the sarcastic quips and quick-tongued comments likely would have been effective coming from Olyphant. Olyphant – from starring in Hitman and Justified –is also no stranger to do-or-die action dramas. He knows how to conquer and convey dire circumstances.

While Timothy Olyphant may not be Robert Downey Jr., if fans never knew any better, he likely would have done a pretty good job. While all this talk is all just for argument’s sake, and no one else can ever play Tony Stark – for following in RDJ’s footsteps would likely be destructive to one’s career – it should come as no surprise that Olyphant was shortlisted for the role. He’s got the chops, and he’s certainly got the look.