How – and there is no other way to describe it — strange is it that there hasn’t yet been a Dr. Strange movie?
Any given summer needs, quite frankly, a live action “Master of the Mystic Arts” tentpole. It would be not unlike a Harry Potter movie (and we know how successful that franchise has been), but for a more mature audience. Originally, the artwork within the panels of the mystical realms was so trippy in the 60’s that it became a hit with the stoner crowd. The artful use of CGI could buttress an already compelling narrative. The story of “Stephen Strange” is not unlike that of Iron Man’s Tony Stark — a wealthy, attractive, and flawed man – but with great potential. With regards to flaws: Tony Stark had the bottle; Stephen Strange was an egoist.
As the original story co-created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in Strange Tales # 110 in July 1963, a handsome New York surgeon, selfish beyond all measure, evolves into a protector of mankind. Strange began as a privileged youth, saving the life of his sister as a child. This pivotal life experience propelled him onto a path of healing, eventually leading him to graduation – in record time — from medical school and becoming a gifted neurosurgeon after a prestigious residency program. His sister, Donna, in the meantime, dies at the age of 19 in a drowning accident in which Strange was present. The failure to save her throws Stephen Strange into a cold and callous nihilism.
The pendulum swings; the crystal ball becomes cloudy. The gifted, arrogant surgeon now suffers a tragic car accident. In the accident, Strange loses the precision in his hands that required performing neurosurgery. This moment, of course, lights a fire under Strange’s ass and draws him out of his narrow self-absorption. And so Strange journeys, travelling the world in search of some kind of a cure. Strange finds his way to mystical Tibet, where he hears tales of “The Ancient One,” a mysterious person who can do unnatural things. On a blindingly snowy night, Strange, at the end of his resources, finds the fortress of the Ancient One. In the process of trying to get his hands healed he learns the art of sorcery. He abandons the quest to return to his previous life as a surgeon, seeing, ultimately, that serving as a force for good against the overwhelming force of dark magic in the cosmos is a more important end goal.
How awesome is that? In this journey, of course, there are mystical battles against the evil Baron Mordo, a resentful apprentice sorcerer who is the heir of The Ancient One. And demons – lots and lots of undying demons! There is also the beautiful Madeleine Revell, a United Nations translator whom Strange leaves behind due to his egotistical behavior. And, of course, there is the mysterious Ancient One.
Patrick Dempsey – aka, Grey’s Anatomy’s “Dr. McDreamy,” the neurosurgeon – has lobbied hard to play Dr. Strange. Dempsey told the LA Times’ Hero Blog, “I’ve been lobbying for that … There’s a whole bunch of people [among the ‘Grey’s’ crew] who are into comics and Marvel, too, on the set and they’re like, ‘Doctor Strange, that’s the one you should do.’ It would be fantastic.” Although he is more interested in Strange as a premium cable show, Marvel Studios has already confirmed that writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, who came aboard the still-in-limbo project in 2010, have already completed the script.
Dempsey has convincingly played a neurosurgeon and he has convincingly played a reformed egotist (for further reference, see: “Loverboy”). He has the look, the experience with early success, the fan base and a convincing knowledge of the character. Patrick Dempsey can fill the large boots of the “Sorcerer Supreme.” Make this movie happen now and let this man helm it.