Guillermo del Toro Doctor Strange

Right now Marvel Studios is in production on an adaptation of their mystical comic book character Doctor Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role and Scott Derrickson (Deliver Us from Evil) behind the camera. But years ago, they could have brought the character to the big screen with Neil Gaiman writing and Guillermo del Toro directing. However, they ended up passing on their vision for the character. Find out more below!

While responding to coimc book writer Kurt Busiek on Twitter, Gaiman said this little bit:

Hearing about Gaiman and del Toro working on a Doctor Strange movie is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve heard that Marvel Studios passed on the prospect as opposed to del Toro or Gaiman being too busy to make it happen. For a little background, here’s what Gaiman told the now defunct Premiere (via Bleeding Cool) back in 2008:

“I would love to write Doctor Strange. It would be absolutely one of my dream jobs [to write] a Doctor Strange movie. Last year I was out in Budapest for three weeks on the set of Hellboy II with Guillermo, and I mentioned to him that I’ve been, in very very early sort of “I would to do this” talks with Marvel about doing a Doctor Strange movie, and Guillermo’s reaction was, ‘Neil, I want to direct it!’

But the fact of the matter is, you know, Guillermo has two Hobbit movies now, and then he’s probably gonna do another personal movie, I would imagine, after that. Probably Hellboy 3 ’cause he’d wanna do it before everybody gets too old to look like the Hellboy characters [laughs]. Although, actually I think he may have thought that one through in different ways. Anyway, the point is we’re probably, we may be four years away from Guillermo being free to do it, and I’m not entirely sure I’d want to do it without him. So we’ll see.”

It’s a shame that we never got to see del Toro’s take on The Hobbit and that Hellboy 3 still hasn’t come to fruition in the past seven years. But that’s show business for you. Anyway, at another point in 2008, del Toro talked to Empire and corroborated discussions with Gaiman:

“I talked with Neil Gaiman [about writing it]. I said, that’s an interesting character because you can definitely make him more in the pulpy occult detective/magician mold and formula than was done in the Weird Tales, for example…the idea of a character that really dabbles in the occult in a way that’s not X-File-y, where the supernatural is taken for granted. That’s interesting…But I wouldn’t use the suit!”

So it sounds like del Toro and Gaiman’s version of Doctor Strange may not have been the kind of movie Marvel Studios was prepared to make as they were just starting their cinematic universe. Perhaps the movie was going to be far too strange (no pun intended) to fit in with the early plans that Marvel had to make sure their lead-up to The Avengers went off without a hitch.

But at the same time, del Toro and Gaiman may have never even put a script or even a treatment together for Marvel. Back in 2012, del Toro spoke with Collider and said:

“When Neil Gaiman was visiting Hellboy II, he literally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do Doctor Strange together?”=’ and I said, ‘Yeah that would be cool.’ (laughs) That was the extent of the discussion, and then four or five weeks later it was like ‘Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Developing Dr. Strange for Marvel,’ and Marvel had never heard of that development and neither have I.  Some other times people say to me that I’m attached to a Gears of War movie and I go, “No I’m not. I play the game, but I’ve never had a conversation like that.”

Clearly the idea of a Doctor Strange movie got a little farther than just being discussed between Gaiman and del Toro, especially with the former saying that Marvel wasn’t interested in their take. So maybe the Guillermo del Toro Doctor Strange collaboration with Gaiman only got as far as a pitch, but Marvel just wasn’t prepared to take on that kind of movie at the time.

It’s a shame that they couldn’t circle back around to the two fan favorite writers and directors now that Marvel is officially tackling the character for the big screen, but at the same time, their take may not have fit into what the cinematic universe had become. Now we’ll just be left dreaming of what a Doctor Strange movie in the hands of del Toro and Gaiman might have been like while hoping that whatever Marvel has cooked up for the Sorcerer Supreme knocks it out of the park on November 4th, 2016.

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