As if adding two-time Academy Award winner Michael Douglas to the MCU wasn't enough, rumors are now swirling that megastar Johnny Depp has met with Marvel for the role of Doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe.
Late last night/early this morning Latino-Review ran an exclusive report stating that Depp and Marvel Studios have met concerning the role of Doctor Strange and that BOTH sides want to work out a deal and that, if things go well, an announcement could be forthcoming at some point. Given the fact that a release date and director have not been announced as yet, it could be some time before we get an announcement and it's entirely possible that the two sides cannot come to terms on a deal despite their willingness to get one done.
Depp has been a goldmine for Disney, who owns Marvel, with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise grossing over $1billion worldwide and, despite the box office flop of Depp's last Disney film, The Lone Ranger, this meeting indicates that the studio feels comfortable handing Depp the keys to the future of the MCU. It has long been rumored that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige intends for Doctor Strange to be the centerpiece of the MCU going forward with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark moving to the sidelines for a bit. While the original script calls for a Strange in his 30s, it seems the studio is willing to adjust it to land the 50-year old Depp, a move that would almost instantly ensure that a Doctor Strange film would be a financial success and become the launch pad of Marvel's plans for its Phase 3 and beyond.
Even before rumors began circulating about a Doctor Strange film being a part of Marvel's Phase 3, Depp was the fancast leader in the clubhouse for the role and, apparently, Disney, who it was rumored favored Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role of Strange until he signed on with WB/DC, has heard the fans and has made this move partially as a response to the them. Adding an actor of Depp's quality and star power is a sure fire success for the studio and message boards are already abuzz about the scenes that Depp will likely share with Downey in the third Avengers film. While Marvel Studios has long been annoyed by leaked information and prefers to make ALL official announcement through their webpage, this rumor has generated enough positive buzz to wreck the internet.
Depp is ready-made for the role of Stephen Strange and can easily lead the studio through 6-years and 4-6 films as Downey has done as Stark. While I've long bemoaned the fancasts of Depp as Strange, some time and thought has begun to erode my discomfort with him in the role. Quite honestly I want a Strange movie to succeed so badly that I'm happy to see someone with Depp's gravitas attached to the role. While I was sure Gordon-Levitt would kill it as Strange, I was skeptical about how audiences would react to him. Realistically, as long as Depp doesn't phone in his performance as he's done in the past two Pirates films, he will bring nuances to the role of the Sorcerer Supreme that Gordon-Levitt may not have in his bag of tricks. Having said all that, no deal is in place at the present and likely wouldn't be announced until San Diego Comic-Con anyway, unless Marvel spills the Phase 3 beans earlier, so for now I'm going to sit back and patiently await official word. IF this turns out, Marvel will have done its part to stay on top of the comic book movie genre and have won the bucks of another set of fans!