Netflix’s adaptation of The Sandman has put acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman back in the spotlight, and he’s using the opportunity to discuss some failed projects from his past. In a recent appearance on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gaiman spoke in detail about a rejected pitch he made to Marvel boss Kevin Feige over a decade ago. The creative revealed that, in 2007, he drew up an idea for a Doctor Strange film that would have been directed by auteur Guillermo del Toro. Unfortunately, at the time, Marvel was more focused on their big-name characters, and turned down Gaiman’s pitch so they could make a push toward The Avengers instead.
Kevin and I have spoken a few times over the years on things. The only one that I wish, although, odds are probably, I think the way they did it commercially was better than…but I remember back in 2007, having minimalistic conversations with Kevin Feige about ‘What about Doctor Strange?’ Then talking to Guillermo Del Toro, and Guillermo and I having these ideas about Doctor Strange and starting the beginning, me starting the beginning of the conversation with Kevin about ‘I could do Doctor Strange with Guillermo.’ And basically, they said, ‘We just want to concentrate on the core characters right now. Doctor Strange is way up the line. We don’t want to go there.’Neil Gaiman
Marvel’s plan eventually worked, transforming them into one of history’s most successful film studios. Scott Derrickson would go on to helm the first Doctor Strange as an origin story in 2016, with a trippier sequel from cult favorite Sam Raimi, titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,dropping earlier this year. Gaiman‘s take on the character apparently would have been much darker, with a focus on his flaws and a lot of visual inspiration from co-creator Steve Ditko:
There were some cool things in it. My favorite Doctor Strange thing was the idea of…the one thing that we really wanted to do was have his adventures, have him become an alcoholic and a disbarred physician, all that sort of stuff, happen in the 1920s. So the idea is that he went through all of that and the training to become the world’s greatest magician maybe in the early ’30s, late ’20s, and he’s been living in Greenwich Village for 90 years looking the same in his place, and nobody really notices. We just sort of liked that idea, and he would have been sort of out of time. But other than that, it would have just been very sort of Steve Ditko because, you know, that’s the best.Neil Gaiman
Both released Doctor Strange films are now streaming on Disney+, while Gaiman’s The Sandman is available on Netflix.
Source: The Direct