Doctor Strange now has a director, Scott Derrickson, and from the sounds of it, Marvel may just have made up their mind about who will play his leading man: Oscar winner, rock star and surprisingly convincing woman (check out Dallas Buyers Club...) Jared Leto.
The usually reliable Devin Faraci, reporting for Badassdigest, has revealed that Leto is (or at least recently was) Marvel's favored choice to take on the role of their most famous magic-user.
Which, considering Doctor Strange's back story, would be an interesting choice. Stephen Strange was originally a gifted yet arrogant neurosurgeon, who after injuring his hands in an accident travels to the Himalayas, and begins a path towards learning to temper his ego - and master the secrets of magic. He eventually becomes Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, and protects the world from all sorts of threats, both mystical and - on occasion - more classically superhero-y.
Would Leto be interested in the part, though? In case he were to turn it down - flushed with all that Oscar success - here's a list of who could be perfectly suited to replace him:
Key Strengths: If Marvel want an older, wiser Strange, Depp is the perfect blend of star power, swagger and deadpan acting chops. He also could use a hit enough that he might actually do it - and could absolutely rock the mustache.
Key Weaknesses: Depp's so associated with the iconic Cap'n Jack Sparrow that it could prove difficult to keep the film from slipping into comedy. With director Scott Derrickson's experience with horror, that direction seems unlikely.
Key Strengths: He's the fan favorite, with a change.org petition already set up appealing for Marvel to cast him. He also happens to look an awful lot like the character as he appears on the page.
Key Weaknesses: He's not a big name outside of the Game of Thrones universe - which with a relatively unknown character could prove a risk too far for Marvel's liking. He can sometimes divide fan opinion - not everyone loves his whispered, gravelly style as Littlefinger.
Joseph Gordon Levitt:
Key Strengths: He's linked with pretty much every superhero role that comes up, so there must be something about him that appeals to studios. It could be the fact that he's quietly become one of the finest actors of his generation - with an intelligent set of casting choices to match.
Key Weaknesses: He's not taken one of those roles yet, so there must be something about him that studios aren't so keen on. Could it be that he himself isn't really interested in returning to a costumed universe after The Dark Knight Rises? He could also be too baby-faced to be believable as a more experienced hero.
Key Strengths: If Jared Leto came out of the Oscars with some serious credibility, double it for McConaughey. His performance in Dallas Buyers Club was astonishing, and his ability to make arrogance likable is almost unparalleled in Hollywood today. Add in True Detective, and he's probably the hottest property around. Also an expert mustache wearer.
Key Weaknesses: Odds are, he'd never do it. He's also still seen by many as the romantic-comedy lead he was until so recently. Would he be able to win over the doubters in a franchise that could push the boundaries of conventional cinematic wisdom?
Key Strengths: He's done genre work before (and has the Whedon link through Serenity) and excelled in it. He's also the only man who can match McConaughey for likable arrogance. If Marvel want to make a statement with their casting - and this could be the project that most needs a dash of stardust - then Ejiofor would be the perfect choice.
Key Weaknesses: Once again, persuading him to take the part could be tricky. The character isn't developed enough in the public consciousness that his race should prove much of an issue (see Fury, Nick) but could he ultimately be seen as too serious to play a superhero?
Whoever plays him, expect to see [Doctor Strange](movie:559685) on screen sometime in 2016.
What do you guys think? Who would you like to see play Doctor Strange?