What Could Have Been: Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro’s Doctor Strange


Sometimes, you hear about film pitches or concepts that you wish you don’t want to know about. Why? Because the knowledge of a certain film collaboration is so monumentally awesome that the reality of it falling apart is rather sad. In one of those what could have been moments, superstar writer and creator Neil Gaiman revealed on Twitter (see below) that there was a point when he wanted to write a Doctor Strange movie for Marvel studios, that he would collaborate on with superstar writer-director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth).

To be fair to Marvel, Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme is near pitch-perfect casting. Cumberbatch playing the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an inspired choice and certain to be a dream come true. However, it’s somewhat disappointing that there was not more interest in seeing what Gaiman and Del Toro might have had in store for the property.  If Del Toro would ever do a Marvel film, Doctor Strange and his magic realm seems to be the best fit for Del Toro’s unique storytelling style.

In addition, Gaiman’s apparent conversation about a Del Toro collaboration for a Doctor Strange movie happened eight years ago in 2007. At that time, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk hadn’t even been released. The idea of a shared universe of Marvel films and TV shows hadn’t really taken shape and still just sounded like an exciting fantasy. Plus, who knows if Doctor Strange could’ve have been the hit it will likely become next year? Marvel probably wasn’t ready to move forward with Doctor Strange when the film division was just starting a crazy endeavor to produce, and independently finance, their own movies. Still, it’s fun to imagine what the creator of Sandman and the genius behind The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth could’ve come up with.