It’s pretty cool that Marvel’s sorcerer supreme is making his way to the movies. You know what might have been cooler? A weird and wonderful look at the mystical side of Marvel comics from two icons of modern fantasy: Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro. However, Marvel apparently disagrees.
The tidbit came up in a conversation between Gaiman and comic writer Kurt Busiek on Twitter over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:
It’s not the first time the idea has been mentioned—both Gaiman and del Toro have mentioned meeting each other on the set of Hellboy II and Gaiman proposing the idea of doing a Doctor Strange movie (Gaiman had already experienced writing for the Sorcerer Supreme in Marvel’s alt-universe series 1602) together. But since then, del Toro has always insinuated that it was an idea between friends and nothing more, such as in this 2012 interview with Collider:
When Neil Gaiman was visiting Hellboy II, he literally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do Doctor Strange together?’ and I said, ‘Yeah that would be cool.’ (laughs) That was the extent of the discussion, and then four or five weeks later it was like ‘Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Developing Dr. Strange for Marvel,’ and Marvel had never heard of that development and neither have I. Some other times people say to me that I’m attached to a Gears of War movie and I go, “No I’m not. I play the game, but I’ve never had a conversation like that.
But the way Gaiman worded that tweet makes it sound like, at some point, the idea went a little further beyond idle chitchat. It’s understandable that Marvel turned them down then, though—after all, this would have been around 2008, just as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was kicking off with Iron Man, and the idea of superhero films being the dominant force in Hollywood blockbusters was just a twinkle in Marvel Studios’ eye. A weird and magical property like Doctor Strange would’ve been too out there to adapt just yet: it’s amazing we’re getting one now, even off the back of Marvel’s plethora of other successes.
But, perchance to dream. Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro’s Doctor Strange movie? That could’ve been amazing to behold.