It’s no secret that Doctor Strange is going to be a key component for Marvel Studios going forward into future Phases of their Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige, President of Production at Marvel Studios, has made no attempts to hide his love for the character and has remarked that a DOCTOR STRANGE movie is something they’re looking to get going sooner rather than later as the MCU continues to expand. While it hasn’t been confirmed yet by Marvel, DOCTOR STRANGE will be introduced in Phase Three of the MCU, and will be positioned as the centerpiece going forward, as things begin to transition away from Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man.
It wasn’t too long ago that RDJ struck a two-picture deal with Marvel to return for AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and whatever THE AVENGERS 3 is going to be called, being used more as a special attraction for these big assemblies of superheroes every couple of years than as a solo act. So who is set to fill that void and become the next big breakout character? It’s not going to be Thor, who is heading into what would be the final chapter of a trilogy, nor Captain America, who is on a similar timeline. No, with a need for fresh character blood in the MCU, it’s lining up to be Doctor Strange.
And for all the conjecture that’s been thrown out about who’d be a good fit in the role, all the jockeying for inclusion in the blossoming MCU by actors and their representation and all the non-stories about meetings that went nowhere, our sources indicate to us that the guy Marvel has set up to play Doctor Stephen Strange is none other than JON HAMM.
That’s right… the man we’ve come to know as MAD MEN’s Don Draper has been cast as the Sorcerer Supreme and Master of the Mystic Arts.
Look at the top of most “Who Should Play Doctor Strange?” lists, and you’ll find Hamm’s name prominently displayed as the right match for the role, an opinion Marvel shares as well. There are still reservations about Hamm fronting such a big piece of Marvel’s future, but those nerves seem to surround every choice Marvel makes for their leads until their respective films are in production and things settle in nicely.
Most of the issues seem to be with Hamm’s age (42), but let’s remember that Robert Downey Jr. was right around the same age when IRON MAN was released theatrically, and that worked out well for everyone involved. DOCTOR STRANGE had originally been written for a younger actor in the lead, but there’s nothing in the early drafts of the script that couldn’t be altered to accommodate Hamm. Needless to say, it’s not a deal-breaker.
Hamm’s calendar is letting up at the perfect time with his time on MAD MEN coming to an end, with AMC running the first half of the show’s final season this year with the series wrapping up completely by 2015, and for all the talk of Hamm being the best choice for a number of superhero roles that have come up in recent years from Superman to Batman, fans can finally get excited that he’s a match for one that is about to become very important.
Johnny Depp was never a serious candidate for the role and neither was Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose name seems to be linked with anything Marvel that comes down the pipeline and had been floated around online in recent months as being a DOCTOR STRANGE possibility. Patrick Dempsey, who had made public his desire to get a shot at the role, was under consideration for a quick second before Marvel moved onto other possibilities, but the other actor who seemed to make a real run at landing the titular role in DOCTOR STRANGE was JUSTIFIED’s Timothy Olyphant. The decision-makers over at Marvel were really high on Olyphant, who I’m told finished a close second in the running and could be called upon with the quickness if anything fell through before Marvel makes their official announcement; they just happened to be even higher on Hamm, which is how he ended up being the guy.
Requests from comment from Marvel, Hamm, Olyphant and Dempsey were all met with silence, as to be expected, and the denials may start rolling in in no time, but, as one insider remarked to me as we worked hard to nail down this story, “I don’t bet… but, if I did, I’d make a lot of money if I wagered on Jon Hamm.” Could something change between now and when Marvel makes this official? Of course. This is Hollywood we’re talking about, but, based on what we know, I’m very confident in the fact that from now on, when you see Jon Hamm, you’ll be taking a good look at Doctor Stephen Strange.