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While making a lot of origin stories made sense when superhero movies were coming out few and far between - helping audiences become familiar with characters they may not know - that time has certainly passed. Between now and 2020 we will be seeing an average of nearly six comic book films per year based on Marvel and DC properties, and to keep producing fairly familiar origin stories will bore audiences to tears. We can likely expect studios to start looking in alternative directions when introducing heroes going forward - and Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange is rumored to be one of the titles in the first wave of that movement.
This story comes to us from Badass Digest's Devin Faraci, who was recently a guest on the Schmoes Know podcast where he revealed information suggesting that Marvel Studios is working towards moving away from origin stories and that one of the first experiments will be director Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange. While the project has been in development for years at the company, and was originally written as a straight-forward introduction to the titular hero (complete with Baron von Mordo as the bad guy), that's evidently no longer the case. Said Faraci,
"Marvel’s new thing is no more origin stories. So Doctor Strange’s movie no longer has an origin. It begins in media res, it’s got Doctor Strange all ready established as The Sorcerer Supreme. It’s a totally new script. Jon Spaiths is working totally new, on his own, without any of the previous stuff. They’re not even touching the previous script."
Some may see this as a radical move, but in examining the evidence it's really not that big of a surprise. Thanks to a line of dialogue dropped into Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we already know that Dr. Stephen Strange is a man that exists within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is presumably already "special." What's more, the studio has already shown evidence of moving away from origin stories, with Guardians of the Galaxy quickly getting the explanation for Peter Quill's existence in space done with in the first five minutes.
Doctor Strange has not yet been given a release date, but it is expected to be the third movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase III proceedings - following both Peyton Reed's Ant-Man (which just entered into production today) and Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America 3. If this is true, the film will wind up with a July 8, 2016 release date, meaning that it will end up going into production sometime in the first half of next year. The actor playing the lead role has not yet been officially announced, though rumors have pointed at Joaquin Phoenix being Marvel's selection for the gig. Stay tuned for more updates, hopefully coming soon!