People have been talking about making a Doctor Strange film for years now. But seeing as how the Sorcerer Supreme isn’t as well known a name as, and is a whole lot weirder than other super heroes, the project has never emerged as a priority over at Marvel Films. That might be ready to change though. Marvel’s real heavyweight franchises are Spider-Man and The X-Men, but Sony and Fox are still controlling their film rights respectively. They had a series of second tier characters that they are in direct control of, but at this point they’ve already brought most of them to the big screen and have them poised to team up in next year’s The Avengers. With all of their biggest names out of their hands or already starring in movies, the only option they have to create new movies at this point is to start moving forward with more obscure heroes.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Twitch is reporting the long rumored Doctor Strange project is beginning its first stages of moving forward in a real way. The last news on the subject of a Marvel made mystical movie was that Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer had been tasked with the job of coming up with a script. Reportedly, that script has now been turned in and Marvel is shopping it around to potential directors to “oversee continued development.”
I guess that means the Donnelly and Oppenheimer script is the structure of the film that they’re going forward with, but they’re looking for an auteur to come in a and put his own stamp on the material.
Most likely Marvel will be looking for a name that brings some fantasy or sci-fi experience to the table. Doctor Strange tells the story of a surgeon named Stephen Strange, who, through the collection of a series of powerful artifacts, becomes the most powerful sorcerer in the Marvel Universe. Dealing with magical material can be tricky. The rules of what a mystical character can and cannot do are often ill defined, and it takes somebody with a real feel for the material to create a story that is full of logic, and tension, and weight. When dealing with magic characters it is too easy to bring in deus ex machina developments that make your world seem arbitrary and stupid. Also, even the early “Doctor Strange” comics are known for their crazy, hallucinatory visuals. A director who can both ground a story and experiment visually will be key. I’d imagine Guillermo del Toro is still the dream candidate for the project, but he’s got so many maybes on his plate right now that I would say his involvement isn’t very likely. Is there anybody else out there you’d like to see take on the big screen adventures of Stephen Strange and The Eye of Agamotto?