Marvel Studios was able to end 2016 in similar fashion to how it began. While Doctor Strange could not match the financial dominance of Captain America: Civil War, it was met with similarly great reception. Much of the reasoning behind audiences enjoying the film came not only from the trippy visuals, but also Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Stephen Strange. While Cumberbatch was the clear fan favorite and obviously got the role, it was not always a sure thing. Joaquin Phoenix was reportedly extremely close to signing on, but Marvel had no shortage of big names on their wish list.
One of the stars they also considered was Ryan Gosling. Despite director Scott Derrickson saying Cumberbatch was the only one seriously considered, some new (but old) concept art shows that at one stage Marvel was seriously considering Gosling – so much so that they commissioned concept art of Gosling in the cloak.
Artist Court Chu posted his work for Doctor Strange on his blog, The Art Blog of Court Chu, which reveals the interest in Gosling was very real for a point. Chu states that he worked on these designs for about a day, which could mean Marvel had moved on from this idea as quickly. However, it is still interesting to think about Gosling in the role, and these photos make that a bit easier to do.
While Marvel will never discuss just how interested they were in Gosling for the time being, it is clear that they were focused on Cumberbatch through most of the casting process. They went as far as to delay the project by a few months to work around Cumberbatch’s busy schedule just to get him to sign on. Unsurprisingly, it appears to have been worth the wait with audiences loving the character and excited for his future involvement in Thor: Ragnarok later this year, but also Avengers: Infinity War and likely Untitled Avengers later in Phase 3.
As for Gosling, he continues to remain one of the biggest names to not get involved with a superhero project, but that has not stopped his career from blossoming. There is not much that can generate similar buzz that comes with superhero movies nowadays, but that is nothing in comparison to potentially winning an Oscar – which he appears to be in line to do so thanks to La La Land. In addition to being in one of the best critical received movies of 2016, Gosling also starred in The Nice Guys, and received awards buzz as well for The Big Short in 2015. However, he will also be making the jump to major franchises with Blade Runner 2049, so this should work out nicely for both parties for now. And who knows, maybe one day Marvel will be able to bring in Gosling for a different role instead.
Source: The Art Blog of Court Chu