This is my new favorite conspiracy theory, because there’s just no way somebody—let alone a studio—would turn down the chance to see Guillermo Del Toro direct a Neil Gaiman script, especially one about Doctor Strange. But that’s apparently what happened.
This is the guy who wrote Sandman and American Gods handing his script about a wild magic-based superhero over to the dude who made Hellboy and Pan’s Labrynth. What were the studio heads scared of, that this flick would ruin every other movie for us in the future?
To be fair, these talks were back in 2008, the year the first Iron Man was released. So it wasn’t like Marvel had the cinematic backbone it’s since established to give a non-household Marvel name his own movie. Guardians of the Galaxy was a (gloriously) defining moment in the capabilities of Marvel films, proving you can make the world care about non-Avenger characters.
Anyway, the actual Doctor Strange movie coming out next year will probably be great, given that Benedict Cumberbatch has an impeccible streak and could easily disappear into the role. I’ll just be paying attention to parts that could be moodier. Which I may mention aloud to the people beside me. Which I may announce to the entire theater. Which I may yell directly at the screen. Honestly, I may heckle the movie because I know this other thing was a possibility once.