Report: Johnny Depp in early talks to play Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

01.14.14 4 years ago 29 Comments

Marvel Comics

Latino Review didn’t wait very long before they started getting up Marvel’s nose for 2014, did they?

Look, casting Johnny Depp as pretty much anything is a no-brainer these days, especially at Disney. “The Lone Ranger” didn’t dent his star power one little bit, and if they do end up casting him as Dr. Strange, that’s intriguing.

What is more important, though, is who they hire to direct, and I think that’s the truth with all the Marvel movies at this point. I’m excited about “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and sure, part of it is because I find the notion of a gun-toting raccoon with a bad attitude so unbelievably crazy that I can’t believe that’s actually part of a real movie that will play in real movie theaters. But the reason I have faith that the film will actually be something new, something we haven’t seen from Marvel before, is because I’ve spoken to James Gunn and I’ve seen how much room they’ve given him to define the world the way he wants to.

With “Ant-Man,” I am excited because I want to see what Edgar Wright does with the notion of staging fight scenes no one’s ever staged before. It was Devin Faraci who dubbed the fighting style “size-fu” after we got our first look at it a few Comic-Cons ago, and that’s thrilling to me. Wright already shoots action unlike anyone else in the business, and unleashing him on something as strange as Ant-Man means it won’t look like any other Marvel movie, or any other action movie, frankly. Today’s casting of Michael Douglas shocked me a bit. I’m not sure how I pictured Hank Pym, but making him significantly older than the other main heroes we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe so far sets up some interesting implications. I no longer feel like I have to tiptoe around describing what Wright and co-writer Joe Cornish have planned for “Ant-Man” since Wright pointed out today that he basically spilled the beans to Ed Douglas back in 2006. If we learn that Pym’s whole career was a secret, something that the public was totally unaware of, it makes him a different character than the Pym we know from the comics. I think there’s something really interesting about Ant-Man’s whole career having been in the past, before any of the events we’ve seen in the Marvel films so far.

“Ant-Man” is the first movie after “The Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” and “Dr. Strange” will most likely be the film after that. It’s been the pet project of Kevin Feige for the entire time they’ve been making this movies, and I think it’s actually a good sign that they didn’t rush to make it in the first wave of stuff. You have to win the audience over to the rules of your universe before you can start doing the really out-there stuff, and any faithful version of “Dr. Strange” will be about as weird as mainstream filmmaking gets. If Depp does end up signed for the film, that gives them a huge commercial leg up, and they can take a risk on a director who will bring something unique to the table.

It’s also going to be interesting to see what other Phase Three films they announce, because the end of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” pretty much shatters what we know about the Avengers so far and who we know as the Avengers. There are some big narrative threads that will be left dangling by the mega-sequel, and playing those storylines out before bringing everyone back together for “Avengers 3” is going to require some very deft storytelling even as the larger world-building is going on.

For now, take this as a report on the early part of the process. I have no doubt Depp has met with them about the role. How far they are into the process is the question, and if they do end up with Depp, I would love to know what the numbers are that get him to sign on. I can’t imagine how fat a deal that’s got to be for Depp.

It would make sense to cast Dr. Strange now, too, so if they feel like adding some sort of tag to any of the upcoming movies where they introduce him, they can do so knowing who will play the part in the stand-alone film that comes later.

In the meantime, Marvel’s got a big 2014 ahead, and we’ll bring you all the news on what’s shooting even as we discuss “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians.”

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opens April 4, 2014.
“Guardians Of The Galaxy” opens August 1, 2014.

Around The Web