Marvel Studio’s talks with Joaquin Phoenix to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel Universe have fallen through, Deadline reports. Rumors began circulating earlier this summer that the Oscar-nominated Phoenix (Gladiator, Walk the Line, Her) was being seriously considered by Marvel to play the Sorcerer Supreme in the upcoming standalone film.
Prior to Phoenix, the list of actors rumored to be in consideration for the role included Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, soon to be playing Alan Turing in The Imitation Game), Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyer’s Club), and Tom Hardy (The Drop, The Dark Knight Rises), so all three names are back on the table for speculation. Sinister‘s Scott Derrickson has signed on to direct the film and reports earlier this summer suggested that Prometheus writer John Spaihts is in talks to write the screenplay.
Doctor Strange will come out in 2016 as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ambitious “Phase Three,” which will include deeper cuts into the Marvel canon like Strange, Ant-Man, and Luke Cage (who should really be played by Terry Crews). The enormous success of Guardians of the Galaxy has bolstered the studio’s confidence that they can pull in audiences for lesser known characters. As the universe opens up further, it also allows for more liberal play in the huge, established catalog of stories and crossover events that have been developed over the last few decades of Marvel comics.
With Phoenix out of the running now, what’s your dream casting for the Sorcerer Supreme? Sound off in the comments.