Guillermo del Toro's Blade II (2002) helped land the Mexican director the directorial gig for another comic book adaptation in Hellboy, and although comics have been a big part of his career, superhero films do not generally interest him. Monsters do, as does horror, and these provide the motivation behind del Toro's project selections.
In addition to doing a Hellboy sequel and now working with ABC on a live-action Hulk television series (and potentially an eventual Hellboy 3), del Toro was once linked to Thor and The Wolverine, but neither came to be. Will his interest in Dr. Strange have him eventually work on another Marvel movie?
Before Kenneth Branagh signed with Marvel Studios to direct Thor, even before Matthew Vaughn was attached to direct, del Toro was in talks for Asgardian Avenger's solo film due to his interest in the mythology. He also was a consideration for The Wolverine but evidently, there aren't enough monsters in that movie to meet his quota.
In chatting with Collider, del Toro offered an update for The Incredible Hulk TV series and shared what comic properties he finds interesting and those he doesn't find interesting enough to spend years on developing into a film.
"The thing is that I’m not a superhero guy. I like monsters, and when the monster is a superhero, it’s a byproduct. Like Hellboy, the Hulk, Man-Thing, Swamp Thing, Sandman, Constantine, Demon, Dr. Strange, Spectre, Deadman. Those are the superheroes I followed as a kid religiously. I loved when the superhero genre crosses with horror. Morbius. Those are the guys I gravitated towards. Blade. So for me, to be interested in doing a superhero movie, it would need to be on the dark side or a Jack Kirby property. Kamandi, Demon, Mr. Miracle—I love any Kirby."
"Over the years, when Avi Arad was in charge of Marvel, I often had the discussions with him. I came very close to doing Thor because I really wanted to bring the Norse mythology… It’s something I’m very attracted to. Create the giants and create the more fantastical version of that. But it’s not like I have many meetings with studios discussing superhero movies. They come to me. Normally I pass, respectfully or not. They like it, that we have a very quick response. I was very attracted to doing The Wolverine in Japan, because that’s my favorite chapter in the story of Wolverine. But I’m not a superhero guy. It’s very hard for me to… It’s one thing to like something and another to marry it for two, three years."
We would love to see what del Toro's take on the Frost Giants and Asgard would have been, and for the Thor sequel we'll get another take on that part of the Marvel Universe from Game of Thrones' Alan Taylor. Fortunately for del Toro, there are plenty of "monsters" on the way from Marvel Studios now that they're going into deep space for Guardians of the Galaxy. There's also that Dr. Strange script that needs a greenlight and a director if Marvel still wants to make that happen.
Like Joss Whedon, del Toro is a tried and true comic book geek and a Comic-Con fan-favorite. With his Pacific Rim coming next year and representing del Toro's desire to take major risks with an extreme hard science fiction property, Guardians of the Galaxy could be right up his alley. Note his specific mention of Jack Kirby's properties, which happen to include several that Marvel Studios is actively developing: The Inhumans, Strange Tales (Dr. Strange's introduction) and Black Panther.
What's also interesting about del Toro's interest in Dr. Strange - a character we know Marvel is developing for their cinematic universe - is his real-life relationships with key figures involved with Marvel Studios, including friendships with Iron Man's Jon Favreau, who also produced The Avengers, and Ant-Man writer and director Edgar Wright. There's even a possibility that del Toro and Whedon could be working together on The Incredible Hulk series, which makes del Toro seemingly a perfect fit for the studio (he was already), should his schedule allow for it. Then again, del Toro's inSANE video game trilogy was just canceled so maybe he will have the time...
Could del Toro be hinting at a future team-up with Marvel Studios? Or does he simply have too much on his plate for years to come?
On the film side, Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.