Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. (as seen looking scholarly above) is a perfect example of Marvel‘s problem with making a Doctor Strange movie. Mostly because his grand silliness is all I can think about when I imagine someone bringing Strange to life on the big screen. Orpheus is a stellar parody which points out that Strange is dated in a way that, say, Iron Man isn’t.
A guy in a flying metal suit with a bunch of munitions makes gut-level sense as a hero. Hell, even Thor has a grounding in a real-world mythological structure we’re familiar with, but when you have a guy screaming about Hoggoth and doing magic in a cinematic universe built ostensibly on humans advancing through science, you run into an issue.
Specifically, whoever is going to play the character runs into the issue of not looking like Dr. Orpheus. According to Latino Review, that might be Johnny Depp. The rumor is that he’s met with Marvel about the role, and in general it sounds like a good fit for one reason: Jerry Bruckheimer won’t be involved.
Yes, it’s another opportunity for Depp to go crazy. John Gholson hit the nail on the head earlier today with this tweet:
I like Actor Depp. Blockbuster Depp is a little more hit and miss, loves the taste of scenery. Actor Depp could make a cool Strange.
— John Gholson (@gholson) January 14, 2014
The thing is, the scenery-chomping Depp has run amok recently specifically because the persona he created with Bruckheimer has made its way into other fantastical projects. With a catch. In all of those instances — Alice in Wonderland, The Lone Ranger, Pirates 23 — Depp has played a sidekick. He’s been a rainbow tornado in other characters’ stories. With the main focus on Strange, it becomes less plausible for Depp to let everything hang loose.
It’s also unlikely that he would port that personality wholesale into a comic book character with a long history — particularly because of how well Marvel has cultivated their own properties. On the other hand, if the rumor is true, Marvel might be in the no-brainer mindset that led them to cast Robert Downey, Jr. as himself in Iron Man.
At any rate, this is still unfounded grist for a movie that’s quite a ways off. Keep that in mind, but the prospect of seeing Depp as Strange is an intriguing one if only to imagine the guy from The Ninth Gate using lightning hands to blow stuff up.