While Marvel Studios has yet to formally make the announcement, it “Doctor Strange” appears to be set to join “Ant-Man” and the un-subtitled third “Captain America” and “Avengers” films in Marvel’s third phase of films. Formal announcement from Marvel aside, word broke last week that horror film helmer Scott Derrickson will direct the film. The director, whose “Deliver Us From Evil” hits theaters this July, took to Twitter to pretty much confirm the announcement, tweeting that his next movie “will be STRANGE.”
So, with “Doctor Strange” set to expand the borders of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into dark dimensions and mystical realms, we’ve combed through the good doctor’s fifty years of history to find the perfect stories ready to reach the big screen.
Just a few years after his debut in a back-up feature in “Strange Tales” #110, Stephen Strange embarked on a massive 17-issue journey that stretched from issues #130-146. When Baron Mordo attacks Strange’s master, the Ancient One, the Sorcerer Supreme goes on a journey that leads him to confront the universe itself in the form of the cosmic entity called Eternity. With Eternity’s guidance and assistance, Strange is able to stand up to Mordo and the villain’s backer, the dread Dormammu.
Into the Dark Dimension
It may not be 17 issues long, but the battle depicted in 1984’s “Doctor Strange” #68-74 is no less epic. Set primarily in the medieval-esque realm called the Dark Dimension, this story dives heavily into the origins of Strange’s longtime companion Clea. While fighting as part of a rebellion in Clea’s home dimension, Strange bears witness to a number of revelations about his lover’s family history on top of nearly falling prey to the might of the Mindless Ones. Strange needs a solid supporting cast to round out his first big screen adventure, and Clea definitely has the potential to be the next Pepper Potts or Peggy Carter.
The Great Fear
The first foe Stephen Strange clashed with on the printed page was Nightmare, the tyrannical ruler of the Dream Dimension. As the hero’s first nemesis, it would make sense to include him in the first “Doctor Strange” film — but the stakes need to be higher than their first confrontation. In this tale, originally told in 1992’s “Doctor Strange” #38-40, Nightmare teams up with a group terrifyingly dubbed the Fear Lords to take the sorcerer on. And in a move that differs from the rest of our choices, there’s one more reason why this story would be great to see leap from the page to the screen: Daredevil. Who better to have on your side in a fight against the Fear Lords than the Man Without Fear? By the time “Doctor Strange” heads into production, Charlie Cox will already have a season of playing Matt Murdock under his red belt, and the character might just be ready for the big (screen) leagues.
Every hero needs an origin story, and this 2006 miniseries recounts the events that led to Strange’s entry into the world of the mystic while also telling a compelling story in the present. The story starts off with Strange the victim of a gunshot wound after an attacker broke into his Sanctum Sanctorum. Stephen must then, in the form of an astral projection, use his expert surgeon skills to guide the hands of Night Nurse in a race against time to save his life. But what was so important that Strange was willing to take a bullet to protect? Merely an elixir that contained the cure for cancer. Yeah, we agree that that’s worth the risk.
If Derrickson wants to spend more than just a few flashbacks on Strange’s origin story, then he’ll need more material than what’s presented in “Strange Tales” #115. Thankfully, “Doctor Strange: Season One” exists. Released in 2012, this modern retelling of Strange’s formative years focuses on the relationship between the would-be Sorcerer Supreme and his assistant, Wong. By placing a character that was originally depicted as Strange’s manservant on equal ground, writer Greg Pak created a magical duo so compelling, they could challenge Marvel’s Science Bros. — Tony Stark and Bruce Banner.