In 2016, horror director Scott Derrickson will bring “Doctor Strange” to the big screen and introduce the world of the supernatural* to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Entering the world of the mystical takes a certain kind of vision. Hiring a director who has a history with paranormal effects and filmmaking is a smart move. Waiting until more “grounded” and recognizable characters within the Marvel lore established the world was a smart movie. But there was a time when something magical was brewing at the nascent Marvel Studios. Something involving Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro.
*At least on the movie side. Netflix has already cracked that door open for Marvel television.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, comic book writer Kurt Busiek lamented he never got to explore Clea when he was writing for Marvel. Looooooong story short, Clea is a sorceress born as the heir to the Dark Dimension who aids Doctor Strange in banishing bad guys and becoming his disciple and his lover. That led to Neil Gaiman chiming in that he”d desperately wanted to write Clea as well…for a “Doctor Strange” film.
– Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 27, 2015
But was this a pipe dream Gaiman and del Toro talked about amongst themselves or did Marvel approach them at one point? HitFix Harpy decided to find out. I reached out to Gaiman on Twitter for clarification and it appears that yes, it was officially considered. That means Marvel has been kicking around the idea of a “Doctor Strange” movie for almost a decade. Gaiman confirmed he momentarily flirted with the property.
“It was a conversation I had with Marvel Films back in 2007. At the time [Doctor] Strange was way down their list, and we let it go. I remember Guillermo had one particularly brilliant idea for a way to do [Doctor] Strange…”
What that “particularly brilliant” idea was remains a mystery. But it is fascinating that Gaiman was approached all the way back in 2007, a year before the first “Iron Man” changed the movie game forever. Both Gaiman and del Toro have said these conversations took place while Guillermo was filming “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” Production began for that film in April of 2007. “Iron Man” production began in March of that same year. So at some point, “Doctor Strange” was in development at the same time Tony Stark was taking his first steps into a brave new mega-franchise world.
What do you guys think? Would you have preferred “Doctor Strange” to show up on the Marvel scene earlier?