Shane Black is Directing Sony's 'Doc Savage' Movie; Franchise Planned

Doc Savage as shown in the original comics

Marvel Studios' latest addition to their cinematic universe, Iron Man 3, has netted over $700 million so far within the first week of its release, already more than either of the previous films made in their total theatrical runs, and while the audience response has been mixed on a few topics (the depiction of the Mandarin being one of the more controversial plot points), the overall critic consensus is that the film is a strong entry in the franchise and the financial success seems to reflect this. Our own review noted that, despite director Shane Black's reputation for action movies like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 is probably the most personal and character-focused of the three movies.

Let's move on from Iron Man 3, however, because that's certainly what Black is doing. A new report suggest the director has already signed with Sony to co-write and direct their new action adventure movie Doc Savage, which is based on the character from classic 1930s and 40s pulp fiction novels and comics.

If you're getting the odd feeling that this is old news, then you're right. It's over three years old, to be exact. Shane Black was originally attached to write and direct Doc Savage back in 2010, though the film itself had been in and out of the works for many years prior to that. The reason behind the delays is unclear, but according to According to The Wrap, Black is back aboard and producer Neal Moritz, one of the driving forces behind the Total Recall and 21 Jump Street reboots, is pushing the film into pre-production. Doc Savage now seems to be, as Moritz once described, a Sony "'go' project."

Speaking on the assignment of director, Sony's president of production Hannah Minghella hinted that the studio has big plans for Doc Savage, with intentions to turn the character into the basis for their next big franchise:

"We couldn't be more excited to be building a franchise from the ground up with Shane and this team. Shane and Neal have a fantastic understanding of the character and a great take on the material and we can't wait to get this production up and running.”

Robert Downey Jr Shane Black Iron Man 3 Official Set Photo from Marvel

"From the ground up" is an accurate way of describing it. Doc Savage might have been popular in his own time, but the name is more or less forgotten in the current cultural landscape. To date, only one Doc Savage movie has ever made it all the way through production: the 1975 movie Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, which was both a critical and financial failure.

However, there's nothing like a fresh start to get a potential franchise up and running, and Shane Black's involvement alone will be enough to pique interest in Doc Savage. If they set the movie in the original period it could make for a fun family adventure in the same vein as Stephen Sommers' The Mummy, whereas a more modern retelling could turn out as a reinvented Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones movies themselves were originally based on the kind of serials that Doc Savage appeared in.

The premise for the movie is also a good fit for the superhero genre that's recently taken over mainstream cinema, since Savage is a superhero in his own right. His powers are similar to those of Captain America, in the sense that he was trained to a point of both physical and mental perfection, capable of kicking his enemies' collective butts with nothing but his bare fists and then giving them a detailed lecture on quantum mechanics. He also varies from Indiana Jones in his dedication to the causes of goodness and morality, rather than lining his own pockets, and stringently adheres to a code of "do right to all, and wrong no man."

With that in mind, let us know who you'd like to see in the role - and who you expect Black, Moritz and Sony to pursue for it - in the comments.


Iron Man 3 is out now in theaters worldwide. We'll keep you updated on Doc Savage as the project develops.

Source: The Wrap

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