In just six years Kevin Feige has built Marvel Studios into a brand name that lets ticket buyers know what they’re going to get when they plunk down their money at the box office. So much so that Feige feels confident that Marvel doesn’t even need to rely on a star to draw people into theaters when they bring a new superhero to the screen.
Case in point, the studio’s in-development Doctor Strange film.
Speaking at an event Monday debuting the short film Hail To The King which accompanies the just released Thor: The Dark World blu-ray, Feige was asked about previously debunked rumors that Johnny Depp had met with the studio about the role and he answered (via IGN) with a bit of the studio’s philosophy on how they consider casting.
You know, I would say that we’re pretty transparent, right? Doctor Strange would be our — well, depending on when we make it, it could be our 13th, 14th, 15th movie, right? I think if you’re looking to track our decision-making and how we’ve done things, we have a pretty wide track record now where you can sort of see. So, no, a movie star is not required, but that doesn’t mean a movie star wouldn’t be great. It just depends.
Note, that Feige states that Doctor Strange could be their “13th, 14th, 15th movie,” which would place it right in the midst of the studio’s “Phase Three,” the group of films that will follow 2015’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron and will culminate in 2018’s Avengers 3. We know that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man will kick off Phase Three and that there will very likely be additional Thor and Captain America sequels in the line up as well. That leaves one or two open slots, one of which may be filled by a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel, providing that the first does well when it is released later this year. That still leaves one possible
Feige also went on to scotch the rumored shortlist of directors that the studio was reportedly meeting with to helm the project.
Well, that article was true, that we’re meeting a lot of people now. That article was not true about who we’re meeting or what level anybody is. But we’re actively looking… We always look at a wide range of people with a wide range of backgrounds. There’s only one criteria: do something that we think is really cool. [Laughs] That’s about it.
So the takeaway from all this is that the studio is currently moving closer to getting a Doctor Strange film into production. I expect we’ll hear more concrete news as the year goes on.