Marvel's Kevin Feige talked to EmpireMagazine (via CBM) in their recent issue about Doctor Strange, and what he brings to the cinematic universe. It's quite possible that Strange might be our second unnamed release in 2016, following Captain America 3. Thor 3 is also a strong candidate with it's script currently being written, but without a director as well. Feige's statements also suggest that they could end-up fast-tracking the project, similar to how quickly Captain America 3 was put together for 2016. If Kevin finds the right director we could be hearing about a release date soon.
“There’s a whole other side to the Marvel universe, which is the supernatural side..We’ve always been very interested in this aspect and this is going back to the early days of Strange Tales with Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. I love that stuff. We haven’t done anything that mind-trippy yet and for me, Doctor Strange is our doorway into that.”
"We have stories in development, we're meeting with filmmakers and we could be making announcements if all the pieces fall into place quickly."
Since Alan Taylor is all locked-up with Terminator: Genesis, it's unknown if we'll see him return to direct. Taylor could be obligated to finish the new Terminator trilogy, and that could remove Taylor from making Thor 3. I'm kind of hoping they end-up asking Patty Jenkins (Monster, The Killing) back, since she was originally set to direct The Dark World, but exited over creative differences.
It's usually hard for Marvel to keep it under-wraps when they are meeting with potential directors, since we haven't heard any new names for Thor 3. That project could end up releasing in 2017 instead, Feige also confirmed a second 2017 spot recently. Neither 2017 movies have been named, but it's likely the latter won't be Avengers 3, since it's projected for 2018. Ant-Man and Captain America 3 are already confirmed as the first two installments of Phase Three. If there are three other films to come before Avengers 3, making Doctor Strange the third movie in the Phase Three lineup would make sense (new film, then sequel, new film, then sequel..ect).
Marvel has been meeting with a group of directors for Strange, those early reach-outs began in 2012. It's odd we're only now hearing more concrete names such as Scott Derrickson (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Sinister, Deus Ex, Exorcism of Emily Rose), Mark Andrews (Brave), Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, Warm Bodies), Dean Israelite (Welcome to Yesterday) and Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair). Kung Fu Panda 3 writers Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger were also linked for penning the new script.
Derrickson is an interesting suggestion since he's worked both in the genres of of horror and sci-fi, elements that are intertwined within the world of Doctor Strange. Scott has also been tapped to co-write and direct a feature adaptation of the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution, another rather large scaled sci-fi action flick. It's not surprising Marvel is looking at directors with writing abilities, since it was said the studio wanted major rewrites to the existing script. I'm sure LatinoReview had a lot to do with that, as the site revealed the entire first act, along with it's villains from the original draft. Scott just happens to be screenwriter as well penning scripts for Devil's Knot, Sinister, Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil and Deux Ex. I heard from a source, that it was a sticking-point for this crop of directors to have screenwriting abilities. They want directors who can contribute to the script, similar to Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Shane Black, James Gunn and The Russo Brothers.
There have been a few names rumored for the title role, but only one actor has a connection to one of the directing candidates (Mads Mikkelson has been linked for Strange but A Royal Affair director Nikolaj Arcel is rumored to be out of the running). That would be the Mad Man himself Jon Hamm, who worked with Scott on the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still. Hamm's role wasn't huge but it's a connection we shouldn't ignore. Hamm was rumored for the role of Strange not too long ago. I had already heard that Jon has met with Marvel for an unnamed role and project, before the rumor came out. It's very possible he's at least talked to the studio about the role.
Considering Hamm is a giant comic book fan, it's not hard to imagine him at least knowing who the character is. Jon's finished with Mad Men allowing him to take on franchise role like this. It also doesn't hurt that he recently made a film with Disney (The Million Dollar Arm), and we know Disney likes to test actors they've already worked with for Marvel roles. Jon talked to MTV back in 2010, about the prospect of landing comic book movie roles.
"Well, it's interesting. I'm a huge comic book fan, first of all," Hamm told MTV News. "I've collected them, I've read them since I was a kid. I am a big fan of the classic comics and also the darker ones that have sort of predominated in the last 10-15 years."
"I don't know," he said when asked if he'd consider a role in a comic book movie. "It's a tricky road to go down with some of those heroes, because they're not flawed. Superman is Superman — he's invincible, so where's the drama?"
"I think what people are finding with the success of things like "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man," it's much more interesting to talk about the person behind these heroic personae rather than the flying, shooting fire and lasers and all this other stuff," continued. "Although it has been interesting to see the evolution of the comic book film, because technology has essentially caught up with the ability to tell those stories."
"When you get a Chris Nolan or a Jon Favreau who really have a take on it, you're able to make something better than just the average popcorn movie," he explained. "Ideally, that will be the evolution of those things. ... There's a reason comic books sell hundreds of millions of copies every year - because they're interesting stories."
Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Hannibal, Casino Royale, Pusher 2, Valhalla Rising) is also rumored for a role, and he originally was attached for the Malekith part in Thor: The Dark World. He eventually had to exit to take the lead in the series Hannibal, which is considered a very good network show. Taking a role like Baron Mordo seems like a character with more depth and dimension, than what we got with Malekith.
Another major character from the Strange comics is female sorceress Clea. There is expectation she'll be in the film or at the very least introduced, since there aren't many female characters within the original comics. I'd love to see someone like Australian actress Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street, Tarzan) in the role. Robbie was in the mix for Sue Storm role in Fox's Fantastic Four reboot. I think she would be suited for the MCU, but that all depends on if the character is even in the film.