‘Dr. Strange’ Makes Movie Magic?
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige tells MTV News that he wants to bring Dr. Stephen Strange to the big screen in the not too distant future.
When asked if he thinks the Master of the Mystic Arts would translate well on film, Feige answers, "Very much so."
"I’d say in the next year, year and a half, as we start putting together our film slate for 2012 and 2013, I would not be shocked if we saw Dr. Strange on those lists. I love the idea of tapping into the magical realm of the Marvel Universe, which is fairly significant and hasn’t yet seen life on screen. It’s something I’m very, very interested in."
For the detractors who say Strange is too, er, strange and obscure for a mainstream audience, Feige points out that it wasn’t long ago that Tony Stark was an obscure character himself.
"I remember two years ago at Comic Con, the cover of the ‘LA Times Calendar Section,’ red ‘Marvel calls out the B team’ and there was a picture of Iron Man," says Feige. "We don’t look at [these characters] as ‘B team.’ Dr. Strange? This is one of the best characters we have."
The good doctor is no stranger to appearances away from the page. He has been seen in numerous animated series starting with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and at one point was being voiced by John Vernon (Animal House) who was the very first vocie artist for Iron Man back in the 1960s.
In 2007, he was the star of his own Direct-to-DVD animated film.
A telefilm serving as a pilot was produced by Phil DeGuere (Twilight Zone) and aired in Spetember 1978 with Peter Hooten as the Master of the Mystic Arts, Clyde Kusatsu as Wong and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) as Morgan LeFay. The poor ratings kept it from going to series.
His mystical path to the Silver Screen began in 1986 with Bob Gale announced as screenwriter. That evolved into a Wes Craven project for him to write and direct beginning in 1992 but Savoy Pictures went bankrupt before the project could really begin. Columbia Pictures snatched the rights out of the ether and David S. Goyer wrote a script in 1995. By April 1997, Jeff Welch worked on a new draft followed by Michael France. The studio wearied of the process and let the rights lapse which were then taken by Dimension Films with Goyer now set to write and direct. Rights shifted from Dimension to parent firm Miramax and Goyer was gone by early 2002. Three years later, with still no activity of note, Miramax allowed Paramount Pictures to take control over the character and in February, Guillermo del Toro was attached to direct with Neil Gaiman rumored as being the scriptwriter (a film we’d love to have seen). Instead, del Toro dropped out in favor of his mammoth deal with Universal and Marvel Studios seized control over thier character. An animated Doctor Strange direct-to-DVD movie was released in 2007, focusing on Strange’s origin story.
Fans of Brian K. Vaughn’s Dr. Strange: The Oath can attest to the Sorcerer Strange’s mainstream appeal. The limited series is one part origin story and one part kung fu epic, as Strange races to save his servant Wong’s life with the aid of Night Nurse. Adapting The Oath on film could be an excellent way to bring Dr. Strange to the public eye, much like how Green Arrow: Super Max purports to integrate Oliver Queen’s origin in the film’s main plot.
In other Marvel Studios news, Feige tells MTV that the prospect of the Hulk appearing as a villain in The Avengers is exciting.
"To have all of the Avengers going up against a green goliath?" asks Feige. "I think that would be very cool to see that on the screen."
Currently, Marvel has no plans for a second Hulk film. Feige explains: "The truth is that Hulk has had two films in the past five years, and it’s time to give some of the other guys a turn. But certainly what we are doing is suggesting and cross-pollinating the characters between films, and like reading a comic, I’d like to set that expectation that anything can happen — and anyone can pop up — in anybody else’s story."
"I would expect that people may see the Hulk again soon before he is again carrying his own film," Feige concludes.