Among the many things that set Doctor Strange apart from his fellow Marvel superheroes is that he’s among the few early Marvel creations whom Stan Lee is not credited as a co-creator of. While Lee collaborated with the first wave of fellow Marvel creators on almost every other major property launched in the early 1960s, Doctor Strange is agreed to have been the original concept of artist Steve Ditko.
However, Lee did write or co-write many of the earliest Doctor Strange comic book stories, so he’s better positioned than many to opine on the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe version from director Scott Derrickson. Fans should thus be encouraged to learn that Lee gave the director his stamp of approval while speaking during an appearance at Fan Expo Canada 2016.
Reported via Twitter by Moisés Chiullán (see below), Lee offered his praise for Derrickson’s handling of one of Marvel’s most unusual properties, while humorously implying that his main disappointment was not being asked to play the title character himself. He also tried his hand at reciting some of the iconic incantations that Stephen Strange (who is portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming MCU film) uses to cast his magic spells:
He did admit a beef with @scottderrickson though: "you know I'm disappointed I wasn't cast as Doctor Strange. I think I'm strange enough."— Moisés Chiullán (@moiseschiu) September 2, 2016
Long considered to be one of the most difficult comic book heroes to adapt into a live-action feature, Doctor Strange was made iconic largely thanks to the bizarre reality-defying storylines of its original run and Ditko’s offbeat psychedelia-esque art style (used to rendered the alternate realities and magical realms that Strange would interact with). Derrick son’s MCU film promises to recreate that unique sensibility, blending classic Marvel Comics iconography with new effects based on contemporary surrealist art and visual trickery.
The Doctor Strange filmmakers and producers (to say nothing of the fans) will no doubt be glad to have received Lee’s endorsement. Although he has made a cameo in every one of the MCU movies released to date (a tradition that will continue with Doctor Strange), Lee is not officially affiliated with Marvel Studios; having sold the bulk of his rights to the Marvel superhero characters shortly before the launch of the MCU.
Still, there are other challenges awaiting Doctor Strange that won’t be quantifiable until much closer to release. The casting of Tilda Swinton as “The Ancient One” has proven controversial and has prompted accusations of white-washing. Plus, as Doctor Strange is the first MCU film that won’t attempt to explain its fantasy elements using (fictional) science, there are concerns to be had about the film’s viability in markets where entertainment dealing in spiritual and/or “mystic” themes are less popular or frowned upon (like the lucrative Chinese box office).
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Twitter [via Comic Book]