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Next up for Marvel Films: Doctor Strange

Marvel continues to push forward with its unwritten agenda of bringing every single character in the Marvel universe to the big screen. All of the heavy hitters have been spoken for, and due to legal shenanigans, some of the biggest properties like X-Men, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are out of reach of Marvel Studios for the time being, but they too will all soon return to the big screen. But there are still plenty of Marvel characters screaming to be brought to life, and that list apparently includes Doctor Strange.

If you are not a long time comic geek, then you probably aren’t all that familiar with the character. He is a favorite of creator Stan Lee and has been around since 1963, so the name is relatively well known, but the average moviegoer won’t be as familiar with Strange’s story as with a character like Spider-Man. Most won’t even be able to name even one of Strange’s rogues gallery. 

But maybe that is a good thing, as it will give the filmmakers the freedom to try some new things, which could be very important because Doctor Strange is a weird character. He is a magician that battles enemies on the astral plane and in other dimensions. He has a part-demon lover and manservant named Wong. It isn’t exactly as simple as a guy with a shield punching Nazis.

For those unfamiliar with the character, Doctor Strange was actually a medical doctor with the fortuitous name Stephen Strange. Strange was once a world-renowned neurosurgeon that was as gifted as he was arrogant and greedy. When a car accident damaged his hands and made it impossible to operate at the same level, he travelled the world to find a remedy. In the Himalayas he discovered the Ancient One, who has great power but refuses to help because Strange was still kind of a prick. Strange later selflessly saves the Ancient One’s life from another student, and is allowed to train in the arts of magic. Once there he learns several mystic arts and eventually becomes the sorcerer supreme, battling evil entities, demons and several supernatural foes.

So as the Marvel stables begin to dwindle and the most famous names are taken, it makes sense that the Studio would move on to the somewhat well-known yet slightly more obscure characters like Doctor Strange. According to Twitch, a screenplay has already been turned in and Marvel is happy enough with the draft that they are going ahead. A short list of directors to approach has been compiled, offers should begin to go out soon and once that person has been signed they will take the project and “oversee continued development” for a possible 2013 release.

The next two years are going to be filled with Marvel goodness in the theaters. Although only co-produced by Marvel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and The Amazing Spider-Man are in post-production with a February 17 and July 3 release dates respectively, and The Avengers, which is independently produced by Marvel, will be released on May 4. Then joining Doctor Strange in 2013, Iron Man 3 has been announced for a May 3 release, and Thor 2 is scheduled for July 26.

After that it is anyone’s guess as to the next Marvel character to hit the big screen. Sequels aplenty are on the way for Captain America and The Avengers, a proposed Daredevil reboot is said to be in the works, as well as a new Fantastic Four, and a sequel to X-Men: First Class is being scripted (although those three will not be directly produced by Marvel). Then comes the next tier of Marvel heroes. A Heroes For Hire movie has been discussed with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, a Black Panther film seems to just be a matter of time, and Edgar Wright has reportedly turned in a script for a weird new take on Ant-Man. A new Blade is also a possibility, as well as a reboot (or possibly sequel depending on how they approach it) Hulk could hit the theaters in the future.

But for now, the next new Marvel character to be made flesh and blood will be Doctor Strange. Let the casting and director speculation discussions begin!