Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange FINALLY Gets a Release Date

Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige has been developing a Doctor Strange film for about as long as Marvel Studios has existed. Yesterday he was happy to announce that on November 4, 2016, the Sorcerer Supreme will finally join the MCU.

Fans know that Doctor Strange is a project that's been very near and dear to Kevin Feige's heart and that he has worked very hard for a long time to see it brought to the big screen. Feige's primary concern, as it is with all entries into the MCU, is making sure they have the proper creative team to do it right and, as Feige said, sometimes that doesn't come together right away. "It takes a while to work on these movies before they're ready to come to you in theaters", said Feige. Feige continued:, "Doctor Stephen Strange, brilliant neurosurgeon, bit of an arrogant fellow who gets in a car accident and ruins what he thinks are the tools of his trade: his hands. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the supernatural, that involves everything from quantum mechanics to string theory. The idea of this film is to open up a whole new corner of the cinematic universe. We want to enter, through Strange, the world of parallel dimensions."

Feige's description of the films matches up with much of the "mind trip" talk that we've heard in the past about director Scott Derrickson's upcoming film. While the film was originally scheduled for July of 2016, the new date suggests that there may be a LOT of truth to the Deadline report that actor Benedict Cumberbatch is close to signing on as Stephen Strange. During Marvel's original dalliances with the actor, it became apparent that his busy schedule, including a commitment to star on stage in London as Hamlet from August to October of 2015, would keep Cumberbatch, a fan favorite for the role, from signing on. As Cumberbatch told MTV News in July, " couldn’t work out because I’m doing a little play called Hamlet in London. So I don’t think I could even if that was in the cards. It sounds like a fantastic project. It’s a shame if I miss out, but who knows?”

With Cumberbatch apparently out, Marvel turned it's focus to several other actors, most notably Joaquin Phoenix, but Phoenix balked at the commitment to a multi-picture deal. Marvel, it seems, wanted Cumberbatch enough to move the film. I'm sure that as soon as the deal is signed, we'll find out that production of the film will be starting much closer to November of 2015 than the original May date, giving the studio a year to finish up the film. Of course Cumberbatch taking on the role of Stephen Strange crushes my hopes that he'd appear in Inhumans as Maximus the Mad.

Knowing that Avengers: Infinity War is on the horizon and that Marvel originally had a script for the film before turning to Jon Spaihts to completely redo it, it won't be entirely surprising to see one of the remaining Infinity Stones repurposed to serve as the source of the supernatural abilities Feige described above. If I had to guess at this early date, the Reality Stone sounds like it could make an appearance in Doctor Strange. I've thought for a while now that the Aether might be the MCU's Reality Stone, but that's not something that's been confirmed. As far as I know, Marvel has only confirmed the Tesseract as the Space Stone and the purple orb as the Power Stone. We'll all find out together!