Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has been talking about making a Doctor Strange movie for years. Feige has shown incredible patience in the way he’s built the Marvel superhero films into some of the biggest movies in the world, and he’s taking his time with Doctor Strange because he knows there’s some weird stuff in it that might be tough for mainstream audiences to instantly accept. But once they’ve seen a talking raccoon firing a machine gun in space, the concept of magic probably won’t seem so…strange.
Latino-Review has a great track record of pissing Marvel off by uncovering information long before the studio wants it revealed, and it looks like their tipster deep inside Marvel’s organization has struck again. The outlet is reporting that the studio has met with Johnny Depp about playing Doctor Strange in the Phase 3 film, even though there isn’t a director attached to the project yet.
The casting would certainly make sense. Robert Downey Jr. has all but admitted that Avengers 3 will be his last go-around in front of the camera in the Marvel universe, and Gwyneth Paltrow told our own Kevin McCarthy last year that there wouldn’t be an Iron Man 4, so the studio will need someone with a big presence to anchor the next set of movies as Marvel continues into Phase 3 and beyond. Depp obviously has history with Disney (which owns Marvel), so keeping him in the family would be advantageous to both parties. And Depp is probably salivating at this whole situation – with the massive paydays Downey is pulling in for these films, you can bet Depp’s people will try to strike a deal for him that gets him pretty close to Downey numbers.
Early word was that the script for Doctor Strange featured the title character as a thirty-something man (back when Marvel wanted Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role), but we can easily see how it’d be a smart move to tailor the screenplay to Depp if he were to sign on. This is all still very early on, however; Doctor Strange won’t hit theaters until 2016 at the earliest, but Latino-Review speculates that if Marvel were to sign Depp now, they could introduce Strange in a post-credits stinger of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which would be a hell of a way to get people excited about Phase Three.
I don’t know much about Doctor Strange, but it seems like something Depp would be interested in. He once showed interest in playing Houdini in a biopic of the illusionist, and this project would handle some similar elements – though with a bit more of a supernatural bent. The thing I’d be most interested in seeing (assuming this deal goes through) is Depp working in an ensemble of megastars in Avengers 3 a few years down the line. He’s been stuck in a creative rut over the past few years, making weird face after weird face and essentially playing versions of Captain Jack Sparrow over and over again. Putting him in a movie with some other A-listers and having him deliver Joss Whedon dialogue could be exactly what he needs to get out of this creative slump. If he doesn’t sign on the dotted line? Well, at least we can have hope for Transcendence.
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