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Rumor: Marvel Is Choosing Between These Four Directors for the Doctor Strange Movie

Looks like we might be seeing Doctor Strange and his snazzy cape hit the big screen sooner rather than later, at least if this rumor that Marvel is already in the process of choosing a director and screenwriters is true. But which directors are in the running, and which (in some cases) excellent films have they previously done? And when are Black Widow and/or Captain Marvel and/or Black Panther finally getting their movies? No news on that behind the jump. I just wanted to mention how Marvel’s chug-chug-chugging along on yet another white superhero movie before any superheroines or POC get their shot.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, four directors “have either met or are about to meet with Marvel higher-ups” to discuss the possibility of directing the Doctor Strange movie. And they are: Mark Andrews, co-director of Brave. Nikolaj Arcel, writer/director of the Oscar-nominated Danish film A Royal Affair. Dean Israelite, director of the upcoming time travel found footage flick Welcome to Yesterday. And, the best well-known of the bunch, Jonathan Levine, director of 50/50 and Warm Bodies (which he also wrote).

Kung Fu Panda scribes Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger are reportedly being considered to write Doctor Strange, though according to THR Marvel Studios may go for “a filmmaker who can do both tasks,” writing and directing.

A large part of Marvel Studios’ success comes from how they go after genuinely good directors for their films. Who thought Kenneth Branagh would ever do a superhero movie? But then was tapped for what was basically Shakespeare Family Drama: In Space, and it worked. A movie about a superhero who can make himself insect-size, which is a pretty ridiculous premise to your average moviegoer? Edgar Wright, duh. With the exception of Israelite, who doesn’t have a feature film out yet so who knows, all the directors in the running to helm Doctor Strange are really good. I’m particularly exited about the possibility of Arcel, because A Royal Affair—an historical drama crossed with romance crossed with political intrigue—is really, really good. It’s on Netflix Instant if you want to watch it. Fannibals, it has Mads Mikkelsen! And Brave isn’t the most critically well-loved of Pixar films, but dangit, I liked it.

Regardless of who’s directing or writing, it does look like all those Doctor Strange rumors will start coalescing into something. Will Johnny Depp play the good Doctor? We’ll have to see. Marvel, let’s just make the cape appropriately voluminous, please.

(via: The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • blu girl

    Another straight white dude starring in a superhero movie? Who would’ve thought!

  • blu girl

    Another straight white dude starring in a superhero movie? Who would’ve thought!

  • jd

    A straight white dude playing a character, who in the source material is straight and white? Inconceivable!

  • Lup Lun

    Y’never know; they could recast him like they did with Johnny Storm. Although it might not be such a good idea; overtones of the Magical Minority Man.

  • Haleigh Yonish

    I’m voting for Jonathan Levine! I’m not voting for J-Depp!

  • Daniel E. Jacobs

    for those that don’t know Mr. Depp his a huge han of Dr. Strange, and has wanted this part for years…

  • Troy Lenze

    I’m always down for a Doctor Strange movie. As long as he uses overwrought phrases to cast his spells, he can be played by any good actor or actress.

  • Adrian

    I can understand the frustrations of people but this all makes sense to me with the MCU heading towards a confrontation with Thanos in The Avengers 3. I wonder if Doctor Strange will have some sort of connection with Scarlet Witch. It’s not like they can make her a mutant due to Fox having those rights. There’s also the chance that they can just make her and her brother an Inhuman.

    I guess I just give Marvel Studios a lot of credit. I mean, they have plans. First Doctor Strange and Black Panther rumors were years ago and now here one is, supposedly. Same with Ant-Man. Wright’s been connected to that for years and now they’re finally doing it. I guess that’s why I firmly believe Black Panther is on the way and can wait while they tell their film-spanning stories.

  • Cad Wallader

    It’s disappointing that Strange is getting his movie before Black Panther, Captain Marvel or other worthy, less represented superheros, but the silver lining is this: This was Feige’s big project. He’s been chasing this one down for years and years, and now that it looks like it’s moving forward, there’s nothing left for him to churn up out of nowhere. He literally has to start making movies starring POCs and women, so it would shock me if we didn’t get announcements about those by ComicCon at the latest.

  • JSchoolJunkette

    I don’t know why, but I’m putting Michael Shannon into the ring for Dr. Strange. It sounds odd, but picture it. At worst it would be darn entertaining.

    And I agree with the dearth of POC in the Marvel universe – unless that color is green or purple. It’s the typical sci-fi diversity syndrome. White men run everything and instead of women and POC in positions of power and leadership we see aliens to show how “open” and “diverse” this future is.

  • Cad Wallader

    Doc Strange is interesting to me, because he would be incredibly easy to cast as POC, and you could even make him gay (Clea becomes Clarence), and it would actually make the character much better. For someone known as the Sorceror Supreme, he’s awfully bland. This would be a great property to take a bold chance with.

  • Adrian

    Also, slightly off-topic, I’m adding Margot Robbie to my list of ladies I’d love to see as Captain Marvel that includes Alice Eve, Yvonne Strahovski, Katheryn Winnick, and Katee Sackhoff.

    For Black Panther, I still want Chiwetel Ejiofor, if only because he already has the connection to Joss Whedon due to playing that awesome villain in Serenity. I can only hope!

  • Charles M. Hagmaier

    Yeah, cast Lance Reddick. Too bad they already wasted Idris Elba on the character equivalent of a fancy doorknocker.

    I’m sure Terrance Howard’s still looking for work. I don’t know, all the oceans of the world couldn’t hold the I-don’t-cares I have for Doctor Strange. But lord knows, I’ve had enough of Johnny sodding Depp.

    No! Clarke Peters. Marvel movie universe could use some Clarke Peters.

  • blu girl

    Darn you, I forgot about Clea! Now I want to see her on screen! Why are you making me give in?!?
    I wouldn’t mind the casting of a POC as Doc Strange but I would be happy if they put Brother Voodoo in the movie as well. I haven’t read much with either of them but I liked the storyline with Doc Strange and Brother Voodoo in New Avengers from a few years back.

  • Cad Wallader

    What’s awesome about Strange is he does bring a lot of ladies and POCs to the table with him as supporting cast. My thing is, why not make him POC or gay as well? I mean, the only thing more difficult to believe than Guardians of the Galaxy is that a straight white dude is pulling off that look.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t begrudge Doc Strange at all but I do find it extremely annoying that their excuse for no Panther was “Well he’s tricky! Tricky, tricky, tricky!” (which is exactly what WB says about Wonder Woman) and “Well he might be too OUT THERE for audiences to accept” and then they turn around and make the Guardians and now Doctor Strange.

    “Black guy with superpowers” is apparently more out there than “a crew of aliens including a talking raccoon with a gun” and “sorcerer supreme who fights demons and says stuff like ‘Hoary hosts of Horgoth!’”.

  • Cad Wallader

    We don’t know who is playing Strange. Nice try.

  • Mark Matson

    I agree about Scarlet Witch being Inhuman. I think they are setting up that storyline with Skye in SHIELD.

  • Mark Matson

    As long as he doesn’t play him drunk, Depp would be pretty good. We’ve gotten so use to his over-the-top style in recent films we’ve almost forgotten he is a good actor.

  • Aeryl

    I saw this on tumblr, and I support it 1000%.

    Oded Fehr for Dr. Strange

  • jd

    I was being sardonic. Nice try!

  • blu girl

    Yeah I’m kinda over Johnny Depp too :(
    Clarke Peters would be seriously awesome!

  • Jennifer Albert

    > …we’ve almost forgotten he’s a good actor. <
    Not almost.

  • Charlie

    We haven’t seen them do proper magic yet. This should be interesting. Also I suggest Nathan Fillion, he has that twinkle.

  • Jennifer Albert

    Agreed. Love this idea.
    And what would make it even more of a cool “risk” is if the director and writers were women, POC, or GBLT. Whitewashing: not just for the front of the camera!

  • KF

    Lance Reddick would be absolutely perfect.

  • KF

    Did they actually say that? I haven’t seen it. Do you have a link? (Asking seriously. I’ve seen the Wonder Woman statements, but nothing like that for Black Panther.)

  • Rob Payne

    Hm. That explains why he made the Ninth Gate, then. If his Strange was more like that and less Cap’n Jack, it might not be terrible.

  • Anonymous

    I thought The Sorcerror’s Apprentice movie starring Nic Cage already was the Dr. Strange movie?

  • Forrest Rogers

    Doctor Strange is definitely a character that could easily by played by a POC. There is nothing in his origin that requires him to be white. The only real requirement is someone who can play a former surgeon that becomes The Master of the Mystical Arts. This is an excellent character to change things up with, I hope Marvel and Disney take advantage of this and add some needed diversity to their Marvel C U.

  • Forrest Rogers

    Omar Epps would be fantastic!

  • Anonymous

    If he’s bi he can have a threesome with Wong & Clea. Then people can still complain about love triangles undermining independent characters.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I confess, I was never able to quite figure out what his ethnicity was in the first place. Sometimes he looks fairly pale, and other times artists depict him as super tan, to the point that he could pass for italian, then at other times he comes off as kinda spanish, or even that super vague ‘asianish’ look that comics sometimes pull off.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Inhumans are basically mutants by another name. Specifically, Marvels mutants are the descendents of ancient humans millions of years ago who were experimented on by Celestials (godlike super aliens who in the comics actually created life and death across the multiverse.) with a ticking time bomb in their dna that is supposed to spontaneously evolve a human without warning into a mutant.

    Inhumans are the descendants of ancient humans millions of years ago who were experimented on by the Kree (super duper old alien empire) and had their dna merged with that of Eternals (a race of people who were created in an effort to copy the ‘new gods’ idea from dc) with a genetic quirk in their DNA that will spontaneously mutate them to DC levels of power upon inhaling a mysterious element they call ‘Terrigan mist’ with the reveal that any human on the planet could unknowingly be an Inhuman.
    Their essentially the same as the mutants, but with an established nation of Inhumans, a big secrecy schtick, a whole ancient monarchy with game of thrones type power grabbing, other royal families of Inhumans existing on other planets (the explanation being that the Kree pulled the inhuman experiment on a load of races) and an impulse in their genetic code to universally answer to a king of the Inhumans and all bend to serve his will.

    In the comics, they recently had the terrigan mist dispersed into the atmosphere as a permanent thing, causing all dormant inhumans to spontaneously evolve at once. (With a large panic from the human and mutant populations who don’t trust this weird new species that has comee out of hiding because their different and suchness)

    (It should also be point out that the comics also recently established the horsey aliens who gave the power pack their powers as inhumans, and that the comics had established that they couldn’t give those powers to normal humans.)

    One fun quirk of the comics though is that apparently ‘the genetic code that makes inhumans and mutants is entirely incompatible with one another!’ and any such interbreeding results in a 100% human who can never become either an inhuman or a mutant.

  • Katie Frederick

    I can sorta understand Marvel wanting to be careful with Black Panther on the grounds that they want to avoid portraying Wakanda with too many stereotypes about African cultures. But if they get the right creative team, which so far they’ve scored each time, yeah I don’t think it should be at all difficult to portray a believable highly-advanced kingdom in Africa.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Umm…As I recall, Black Panther did not actually have any powers. His scthick was super scientist who happened to have access to super rare metals. Kinda like lee falks phantom merged with batman.

    The only issues I can see Panther having is the apathy problem of ‘why should i care about something that is not in the united states?’ an element that Marvel has always had a problem with. (Heck, having something take place outside of new york can be to much for them half of the time) but given the popularity of the marvel films internationally, this is obviously more of an imagined issue more than a reality.

    and the fact that most of the stories about black panther did not actually have anything to do with Wakanda. His lengthy membership in the Avengers was naturally focused mostly on problems in the states, and for a while, he had taken up the Daredevils mantle of all things and swore to protect hells kitchen of all things from evil, despite the fact that he could probably buy the whole district with what he could scrounge up in from between his sofa cushions.
    Some eye rolling directions were taken with the character over the years and unlike Thor and Iron mans adventures which were half based on actual events in the comics, they would not be able to get very far with just his own material as a standalone.
    Heck, his first adventure involved calling up the fantastic four and inviting them to wakanda so he could beat them all up and then turn around and enlist them to take on his arch nemesis, the Klaww. (note: marvel can’t use the fantastic four.)

    The final issue is what should they do with the setting. In the comics, Wakanda was a fairly average generic ‘african straw hut village’ country until T’challa became the latest Black Panther and began using his super science to in a few short years make it one of the most prosperous of nations in the world.

    So would they do a movie about how he became black panther? In which case they could certainly have a good movie to work with though it would lack alot of the elements Marvel might be looking for in a movie. Or do they fast forward to after he had become king? In which case they certainly have the setting but now they are starved for direction with their film.

    The problem with Black Panther is more of a need to lay down alot of groundwork and work out what direction they want to go tonally as well as storywise, which is going to take them a bit to work out since he is quite different from any character DC has presented thus far (the ones he best resembles in the Marvelverse are Namor and Blackbolt over Ironman and Thor.)

    If they had the movie rights, I would say go straight to Storm for a solo film as she is badass and awesome, but thats Fox’s and their trying to mirror the spirit of the X-men comics which is a shame.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been thinking, The character of Wong is sometimes perceived as a racist stereotype of the “stoic Asian assistant.” I guess it depends on how he is portrayed. Anyway, Marvel could avoid that criticism by having Stephen Strange be played by an actor of Asian descent as well. Then the movie is staring two Asian leads who are different and combat stereotypes. A Doctor Strange movie sure would be fun.

  • Kol Drake

    I thought the old ‘pre Pirates’ Depp would have made a great Stephen Strange — he almost looked the part when he was in ‘The Ninth Gate’ back in 1999. These days… no telling who the studio might pull out since Dr. Strange really could be any ethnicity.

    Now, why isn’t anyone tossing out who should play his semi lover/apprentice — Clea.

  • Lia Hansen

    Jeez, “Doctor Strange Movie” is a phrase I never thought I’d hear seriously discussed. I’m excited!

  • CeeV

    The real problem with Magical Negro, etc. characters isn’t that they’re magical, though, but that their characters have no interiority. They represent fairy godmother/godfather roles whose only apparent raison d’etre is to educate and help the (white) protagonist.

    There’s simply no comparison between on the one hand a PoC supporting character whose only narrative function is to benevolently and selflessly aid the white protagonist, and on the other hand a PoC protagonist whose narrative function is to carry the plot of the entire film.

  • Anonymous

    If we’re casting other former TV doctors, I’ll nominate Alex Siddig. Alas for Richard Biggs, though.

  • Lup Lun

    Actually, the problem is both. The notion of a Magical Minority is an outgrowth of the idea of the Noble Savage; the minority character who lacks the white man’s civility, culture, and intelligence, but due to being closer to nature has insight into things the white man doesn’t. It’s a way for conservative white men to acknowledge the contributions of minorities while retaining their sense of racial superiority.

    And actually, when you think about it, Doctor Strange already has trouble with that. All versions of the character that I’m aware of start off as white men of learning, acquire magical abilities from an asian character, and then turning out to be better than his mentor.

    The more I think about it, the more problematic this becomes…

  • Anonymous

    I’d appreciate a T’Challa film, but BP seems like the subject of the film would be inherently more political than, say, Luke Cage, John Stewart Green Lantern, a Storm solo movie, Wonder Woman, another Blade film (I just realised how much I’d like another Blade film), or a whole host of woman or POC lead comic films.

    Is it unfairly political because a great many people are terrified of black power? Sure. But not all “tricky” films are equally so.

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting to think about the production ecosystem. Feige loves Ant Man and Doctor Strange, so when he’s in charge, that’s what he wants to make first. If we had more diversity at studios at the top production brass levels, maybe we’d be more likely to have someone say “I’ve always loved Icon, so that’s the film we’re doing next.”

  • Anonymous

    Likewise, I get annoyed whenever the Demon Etrigan doesn’t speak in verse in DCAU.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t knock it. It’s a way to incorporate Wong into the plot without reverting to nearly as many orientalist tropes which ought to be dead and buried.

  • CeeV

    Any connection that could be drawn between magical PoC and the Noble Savage stereotype loses its power when it’s not only the PoC characters who are magical, though. As an extreme counterexample, simply imagine a story in which all of the white characters have magical powers and all of the PoC characters don’t. Reserving magical abilities just for white characters is equally bad as reserving them just for PoC characters; the former suggests that only white characters can be special–which is its own racist stereotype–while the latter evokes a different set of racist stereotypes.

    Since the Marvel movies have already included several white characters demonstrating magical abilities (Odin, Frigga, Loki, and soon-to-be Scarlet Witch)–not to mention several PoC characters who *don’t* have magical abilities–there shouldn’t be any inherent problem in portraying Doctor Strange as a PoC.

    Re: Doctor Strange’s origins, I’ve only encountered him as a supporting character so far, so this is a somewhat uninformed discussion on my end. But based just on what you’ve said, it sounds as though Strange’s origin story provides additional incentive to cast a PoC Doctor Strange (assuming, of course, that Strange’s origins are touched on at all, rather than Marvel beginning the film in media res).

    The options are as follows: 1) white Doctor Strange surpasses his PoC mentor – yet another Last Samurai/Dances with Wolves/Avatar/etc. story: not good; 2) white Doctor Strange surpasses his white mentor – whitewashing a sympathetic PoC character: also not good; 3) PoC Doctor Strange surpasses his white mentor – still whitewashing a sympathetic PoC character, but in a less unfortunate way since it’s really a raceswap: better; 4) PoC Doctor Strange surpasses his PoC mentor – no unfortunate implications, and also presents an opportunity for two PoC characters to interact: excellent.

    There are definitely occasions in which a lack of representation is better than a bad representation, and adapting a problematic source is always going to be a balancing act. When weighing the positives and negatives on all sides, though, I think it’s clear that a (well-written and -directed, natch) Doctor Strange movie in which Strange is a PoC would be a net gain.

  • Anonymous

    I would’ve cast Fillion as Mr. Fantastic so that I’d actually be conflicted about Dr. Doom potentially murdering him.

  • Charlie

    I just want to see Robert Downey Jr do Beckett face when he’s told about magic.

  • King Apedemak

    No, you are mistaken. Black Panther has superpowers and always has. He’s a enhanced human from taking the Heart Shaped Herb, which gives him enhanced speed, strength, agility, and super human senses. That’s besides being a super scientist and one of the best fighters. This entire post is a bunch of excuses. He’s no different then any other character.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I may have been mistaken about his powerset, but you sure are being generous in ignoring everything else to claim he is ‘no different from any other character’ as if Marvel’s stall of characters are so generic that they could slap just ANY generic movie plot onto any of their characters and call it a day.

    This is not Luke Cage or Daredevil who are based out of an already established city, whose storylines are more personal ones involving themselves more than other people.
    This is the bloody king of Wakanda, a super scientist on par with Tony Stark who is not only a genius but a spiritual leader to his people and a cultural icon of his nation. For him, the locale and how it is presented is at least as important as the character itself and they cannot settle for half assing it.

    Also as I stated above, I believe it weakens the character when they focus his conflicts in the states or have him being a generic stand-in for the likes of Daredevil as ‘the guardian of Hell’s kitchen’ he is a monarch who does what he does for the good of his people and unlike Stark, is supposed to be a crowning aversion of the ‘Reed Richards is useless’ trope in that he actually uses his intellect to better the nation and increase the standards of living for his people. Have you seen Wakanda in modern comics? That bloody place has structures out of a ‘year 3000′ setting and people getting around on hover platforms. This is a character who doesn’t just promise to better the world and then wimp out claiming that his tech could only be used for war.

    I VERY much hope the people actually considering a Black Panther movie don’t consider him ‘no different from any other character’ and decide ‘oh hey, lets just make him a SHIELD agent who protects new york from the next threat that will pop up and threaten this specific american city!’ because it would be a painful injustice to he character.

  • King Apedemak

    To me these are excuses. Black Panther stories have revolved around Wakanda. Have you ever read Don Mcgregors Panther’s Rage? How is Wakanda that different from, say Asgard? We have seen adaptions for his stories else where outside of publishing. It can be done, period. Just do like they do for other characters and adapt his tales. Again, he’s not different then Thor, Cap, IM or others with movies.Otherwise, we will have this same excuse 10 years from now. It’s the same with Wonder Woman, enough is enough.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Oh so by that logic we could just copy paste Asgard onto Wakanda, screw trying to make a deep and engaging location and just copy piece meal from other movies?

    My argument is that they need to put serious thought into the movie and make a black panther movie that is actually ABOUT black panther, not just push him in for the sake of an avengers slot, but put some actual bloody thought into how they are going to present it.

    I understand that you want to project everything as an ‘attack’ or an ‘excuse’ for why something cannot be, even when that is just your own inner need for there to be bad guys to oppose in a whimsical ‘good and evil’ scenario, but enough is enough.