Doctor Strange doesn’t have an official release date yet, but with director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) onboard and screenwriter Jon Spaihts (The Mummy (2016)) actively revising the script, odds are this is the film that Marvel Studios is eying for a July 2016 arrival.
That means that a casting announce concerning who’s going to play Stephen Vincent Strange ought to be coming sooner than later, well ahead of when production should be getting underway in the first half of 2015. Jack Huston is the latest actor whose name has been thrown into the rumored Doctor Strange actor ring, thanks to This Is Infamous.
31-year old Huston – a Boardwalk Empire veteran, costar of such recent films as Kill Your Darlings and American Hustle, and a fairly recent addition to the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies cast – already has a history with Marvel Studios. Indeed, those with good memories might recall that he was on the shortlist of candidates eyed to play Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, before Chris Pratt landed the role instead.
Huston also makes sense, given Marvel Studios’ previous casting selections (for a recent example, see Huston’s fellow Boardwalk alum Charlie Cox being cast as Daredevil). He’s not a big enough name to command a huge salary, yet his career is on the rise and he’s young enough that it would be reasonable for Marvel to sign him to a multi-picture contract. Judging by Doctor Strange’s presence in the Avengers NOW! comic book reboot, the character is being setup to hang around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time. On the other hand, Marvel Studio might be looking for a slightly older actor to portray Stephen Strange.
The logic behind having a somewhat older Doctor Strange would be to allow the character to occupy a position similar to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, as the “senior Avenger” on the Avengers squad in the Marvel team-up films to date. Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm recently told Digital Spy that, despite rumors, he’s not met with Marvel about Doctor Strange; that doesn’t mean the 43-year old isn’t a model for the sort of actor the studio has in mind (see: those older Johnny Depp rumors). Meanwhile, 38-year old Benedict Cumberbatch has downplayed the likelihood of him playing Stephen Strange, while 39-year old Joaquin Phoenix’s name entered the public conversation about Doctor Strange back during the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. (Soon-to-be 37-year old Tom Hardy’s also been mentioned before.)
As This Is Infamous notes, Doctor Strange is a project that Marvel President of Produciton Kevin Feige has been passionate about for a while now. Feige’s excitement for Strange partly extends from its potential to open up new sci-fi/fantasy concepts for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (inter-dimensional travel, imaginative quantum mechanics). The film will also continue Marvel’s push into different genres, what with a full-blooded horror filmmaker in Derrickson calling the shots, building on the other Phase 3 releases (see: Ant-Man as a heist thriller and Captain America 3 diving deeper into political thriller turf).
That is to say: the explanation for why we haven’t gotten a casting announcement for Stephen Vincent Strange yet is, among other contributing factors, because Marvel has more reason than ever to be careful about its choice. Be sure and let us know who you would prefer to have play Doctor Strange: a more established and slightly older candidate, or a 30-ish up and comer like Huston.
Marvel Studios’ next theatrical release is Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, and Captain America 3 on May 6th, 2016. Doctor Strange is expected to arrive thereafter on July 8th, 2016.