Neil Gaiman Details Doctor Strange Movie Pitch Turned Down by Marvel’s Kevin Feige

Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro presented Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige with a Doctor Strange movie that was perhaps ahead of its time. These days, Gaiman is focused on Netflix The sand man series, which has yet to be renewed for a second season but is well on its way. Gaiman was a guest on a Josh Horowitz live recording Happy Sad Confused podcast, and he talked a bit about his relationship with Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige. Gaiman previously revealed that Marvel rejected his pitch for a movie based on his Wonder 1602 comic book mini-series. On the podcast, he explained that he had an idea for a Doctor Strange movie that del Toro would direct, but Doctor Strange wasn’t a mainstream concern for Marvel Studios in 2007.

“Kevin and I have spoken many times over the years,” Gaiman says (transcript via The Direct). “The only one I wish, though, the odds are probably, I think the way they did it commercially was better than…but I remember back in 2007, having minimalist conversations with Kevin Feige about” And what about Doctor Strange? Then talking to Guillermo Del Toro, and Guillermo and me having these ideas about Doctor Strange and starting the beginning, me starting the beginning of the conversation with Kevin about “I could do Doctor Strange with Guillermo.” And basically they said, ‘We just want to focus on the main characters right now. Doctor Strange is top of the line. We don’t want to go there.'”

Gaiman offered some details on his pitch. It is said to have originated as Strange in the 1920s or 1930s and was heavily influenced by Steve Ditko’s original Doctor Strange stories.

“There were some cool things in it,” Gaiman says. “My favorite thing about Doctor Strange was the idea of… the only thing we really wanted to do was have his adventures, have him become an alcoholic and a disbarred doctor, all that kind of stuff, happen in the 1920s So the idea is that he went through all of that and training to be the greatest magician in the world in maybe the early 30s, late 20s, and he’s been living in Greenwich Village for 90 years old and it looks the same at home, and no one really notices. just kind of liked that idea, and it would’ve kind of been out of time. But other than that, it would’ve just been really nice to Steve Ditko because, you know, he’s the best.

Eventually, Scott Derrickson made the first strange doctor movie, which opened in 2016, nearly a decade after Gaiman gave his speech. It earned $677.8 million at the box office. The sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, opened earlier this year. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film grossed $955 million worldwide. Both Doctor Strange films are now streaming on Disney+.

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