Marvel Studios has found the man to bring the Sorcerer Supreme to the biggest of screens as Scott Derrickson has signed on to direct their long-in-development Phase Three film Dr. Strange, based on the classic comic hero created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1963.
To snag this coveted assignment Derrickson beat out directors such as Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) and Mark Andrews (Pixar’s Brave). His past credits include The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, and the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Derrickson also has the screenplays for the forgettable horror sequels Urban Legends: Final Cut and Hellraiser: Inferno to his name.
Several months ago Marvel staked out future release dates for three untitled features. Shortly after the smashing opening weekend of Captain America: The Winter Soldier it was announced that the third Cap solo adventure would bow on May 6, 2016, which would pit it up against Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. There are still dates open for July 8, 2016 and on May 5, 2017 and either one of those could soon belong to Dr. Strange.
I’ve never seen any of Derrickson’s films before so this choice on Marvel’s part doesn’t thrill me. The director has long been accustomed to making medium-budgeted horror films derivative of past classics with nothing remotely original to set them apart from the rest of the glut of fright flicks released every year. The world of Dr. Strange is one full of magic, mystery, and the wonders of the universe and the dangers that come with embracing them. But after the recent kerfuffle over Edgar Wright’s sudden departure from Ant-Man the decision to give Derrickson the job makes sense. Marvel clearly doesn’t want another passionate visionary to oppose their every inane creative choice; they want a director with some experience who will toe the line and be a good company man. For the latter, Derrickson fits the bill.
Now that the project has a director the screenplay will likely get an overhaul. Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer were the first writers to take a crack at Dr. Strange back in 2010. Derrickson has six feature screenplays under his belt so it’s possible he’ll be performing a rewrite to shape the script to his liking and make all the parties involved happy so production can proceed without any headaches. The search is still on for the right actor to play the good doctor himself because previously rumored names such as Viggo Mortensen and Johnny Depp obviously didn’t pan out.
Derrickson’s next film Deliver Us from Evil, which stars Eric Bana and Édgar Ramírez, opens in theaters on July 2, 2014.