It’s still not official yet, but according to sources at Collider, Marvel is still very much courting Joaquin Phoenix for Stephen Strange. Rumors of this casting first began to circulate as early as mid-July, and now the studio is reportedly finalizing the decision.
If this turns out to be true, then why did it take so long? Look at who we’re talking about here. Remember when Phoenix pretended he was trying to get into hip hop just so he could film a weird mockumentary film with Casey Affleck? Yeah, they wanna make sure they’ve got him locked in. Or, as Collider says, “it makes sense that an actor of Phoenix’s caliber and temperament would want to ensure that his Marvel contract doesn’t restrict his creative freedom to take on other projects outside the MCU.”
Once the deal is finalized, this will be a huge get for Marvel. After all, Phoenix does have three Oscar nominations and a penchant for being… well, strange. Others have also speculated that Marvel is deliberately courting bigger names for their odder lead characters, such as in the case of Paul Rudd and Ant-Man. I don’t know how smart that is considering how much they have to pay Robert Downey Jr. for every time Iron Man shows up everywhere, but okay, Marvel. You do you.
Speaking of Marvel doing them, there’s another giant rumor floating around that a certain superhero who might or might not appear at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Spoilers after the dancing Phoenix.
Yup, according to another mysterious source from Badass Digest (so take all this with a giant grain of salt), Marvel is currently “rethinking” how they plan to introduce Carol Danvers into the cinematic universe. According to rumors, Age of Ultron will end with Captain America assembling a new team of Avengers for Phase 3; in Whedon’s original script, Captain Marvel (referred to as “Ms. Marvel”) was listed as one of the characters in that scene.
But apparently Marvel’s getting cold feet over a possible end-of-movie cameo for Danvers. “Not because they’re against the character–my sources assure me she is coming and it’s very plausible she could be on the team in Avengers 3.” Devin Faraci writes. “They basically aren’t certain they want to just drop her into the MCU fully formed in a team movie.”
He goes on to add that Marvel is trying to back away from the idea of “full-blown origin stories” for characters who don’t start out with powers and aren’t already on their respective paths when the movie opens, like Iron Man or Captain America:
They’re okay with opening Doctor Strange like Thor—the characters exist, have their abilities, have their relationships, and as the movie goes on we learn the important background. That doesn’t mean they’re totally okay with just dropping a fully-formed character into Age of Ultron. This is part of the reason why you won’t see Black Panther in the movie, despite the film visiting Wakanda so Ultron can get vibranium. There’s enough time passed between the end of the action in Age of Ultron and that final scene for Carol Danvers to get powers, a costume and have a career as a hero, but the powers-that-be aren’t sure how this will play on film. Will dropping her in just be baffling to audiences? I think it’ll be an exciting hint in the way that many of the credit tags are exciting hints.
Yeah, I’m not sure what to think about this. True, I’d rather have a Carol or a T’Challa that’s better integrated into their debut than one who’s given a glorified cameo—but the longer the wait, the less optimistic I am that we’re ever going to see them. What do you think?
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