March 9, 2013

SPECULATION: Sam Raimi A Prime Candidate To Direct DOCTOR STRANGE?

Sam Raimi has recently confirmed that he has no plans to come back to direct the sequel to Oz, The Great And Powerful. Giving the impression he might only end up producing it, if that. This might allow him to consider other budding projects that could use from of the Raimi magic. One big project without a director is Marvel's new Phase Three feature Doctor Strange. The project has been all but given a release date by Marvel and could end up starting production sometime in 2015. Giving potential directors plenty of time to round out another feature before jumping into Strange. I haven't really attributed names that could do Strange justice besides Guillermo del Toro who is currently beyond busy with a massive amount of projects. Raimi actually could be perfect to create the world of Strange. Not to mention having deep Marvel roots already with his Spider-Man trilogy.

Sam Raimi clearly is on Marvel's radar completing a successful Marvel trilogy with his Spider-Man films. The latter installment not exactly heralded by fans, mainly due to it's rushed production and haphazard script (written at times while scenes were being shot). Raimi had even pursued Spider-Man 4 which was on the hinge of shooting but was ultimately cut over budgetary issues. Anne Hathaway was set for Black Cat and John Malkovich was going to play The Vulture. Sadly, the film never happened and Sam would walk from the Spidey franchise. He finally saw Amazing Spider-Man recently and said he loved it. Perhaps, healing ties with both Sony and Marvel? He's obviously a big fan of Spidey and Strange co-creator Steve Ditko, naming a supporting character after him (Peter's landlord Mr. Ditkovich). Also adding a hint to Stephen Strange in Spider-Man 2 as Joe's Pizza has a similar address of Mr. Strange.

During the early days of Spider-Man 4 there had been talk of Morbius being a possible addition to the villain roster. An interview while promoting Drag Me To Hell with Empire and a video interview with FearNet had the director talk about his interest in Morbius and vampires. Only Marvel's Kevin Feige can speak to this but Morbius might be back at Marvel as the Blade rights (including Tomb of Dracula) reverted back to them, when New Line Cinema failed to make more films. Morbius (fellow NYC doctor) was in the deleted ending to the original Blade and might not even be eligible for Spider-Man films. Director Stephen Norrington had originally planned on using Morbius as the villain in his sequel to Blade but it was ultimately changed when Guillermo del Toro signed on. Strange has fought vampires (most notably Dracula), werewolves (Werewolf By Night/Jack Russell) and demons previously. It would make sense to place Morbius (perhaps a villain turned ally?) and other characters like that within the Doctor Strange films. Sam likes the combination of superhero plus supernatural which is basically describes Strange as a concept. Having Strange start off fighting vampires could be way to hold off more powerful villains for future installments. Along with reintroducing Blade to audiences which Marvel seems to be keen on. I also wouldn't be shocked to see Morbius saved for a Blade reboot.

“I like it in the Marvel comics when Spider-Man fights Morbius,” said Raimi. “He’s really cool. A vampire! I like that combination of superhero plus supernatural.”

He still has comics on the brain as he was trying to put together a new version of the classic comic/pulp/radio supernatural anti-hero The Shadow which he had been developing before Oz. If Raimi was considered for Strange he would have enough time to complete a film like The Shadow before pre-production on Doctor Strange would need to begin in 2015. Avengers 2 and Ant-Man are due out in 2015 would could see Strange getting a late Summer or early Fall release in 2016. As it would make a perfect spooky Halloween adventure film. Raimi had previously been attached to Warcraft at WB which has since gone to Duncan Jones. Along with talk of Evil Dead 4 this week which turned out to be a joke Sam made. At this point besides a producing a few projects Raimi doesn't have much in the way of full length directing efforts.

His connection to Disney via Oz could be similar to how Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, The Rocketeer) ended up directing Captain America: The First Avenger. A bigger directing name than previous and current directors along with a couple of major hits under his belt (a bit of an understatement for Raimi). Johnston only made the first installment helping to flush out Cap's origins and setting up his mythos. Raimi could be a solid creative mind to setup the macabre/occult superhero within the MCU. He's already tackled magic in Oz not to mention dark laced humor with films like Drag Me To Hell and the Evil Dead franchise. Along with his more serious than usual supernatural thriller The Gift. Raimi certainly has a stronger following/fanbase than Guillermo (last person attached to direct Strange) and that could also be another factor to consider Sam for the job.


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