Neil Gaiman: Marvel Spurned Guillermo Del Toro’s Movie Pitch For ‘Doctor Strange’

Guillermo Del Toro directing a Marvel movie — that is a proposition that would make many cinephiles drool in excitement. And, it was ever so close to turning into reality, British author Neil Gaiman has revealed.

According to Movie Pilot, Crimson Peak director Guillermo Del Toro had teamed up with Neil Gaiman in an attempt to woo Marvel to produce their version of Doctor Strange; but, keen as they were, the higher echelons at Marvel simply did not think the time was ripe for an onscreen transformation of one of their most celebrated superheroes.

Now, however, Doctor Strange is all set to get its own time in the spotlight with Marvel finally bringing its supernatural superhero Doctor Strange to the big screen in 2016. As CBR reports, Scott Derrickson is set to direct the movie, while Benedict Cumberbatch will don the role of the title character, with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton also featuring.

Although that sounds exciting, the eventual decision to bring Doctor Strange to the big screen will make many wonder why Marvel did not consider the master of the supernatural — Guillermo Del Toro himself — as the perfect person to occupy the director’s chair.

Celebrated fantasy author Neil Gaiman, who is known for creating dark, fantastic worlds, offered some insight into Marvel’s strange decision when he revealed that Guillermo Del Toro had in fact teamed up with him to write the screen adaptation of Marvel’s superhero.

Replying to a tweet from Kurt Busiek, a celebrated comic book writer, Gaiman said he wished Marvel had been interested in their pitch.

“I still wish Marvel had been interested in a Guillermo Del Toro and me Doctor Strange movie, because I wanted to write Clea so badly after 1602.”

Not only was Neil Gaiman’s tweet a revelation for many Doctor Strange fans, it was also the first time that anybody had found out that Guillermo Del Toro had once been considered for the project. Not surprisingly, then, curious fans lay siege to Gaiman’s twitter account, asking him if he could confirm if the rumors were true.

The British author obliged, of course, revealing that Guillermo Del Toro’s pitch for a Doctor Strange movie had not been entertained by Marvel beyond a few rounds of initial discussions.

“It was a conversation I had with Marvel Films back in 2007. At the time Doctor Strange was way down their list, so we let it go,” wrote Gaiman.

Later, he also went on to reveal that Guillermo Del Toro had a “particularly brilliant idea” about how he wanted to do Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, fans might never be able to find out how Del Toro’s movie adaptation might have panned out if Marvel had warmed up to the idea.

In an earlier interview with Premier, Gaiman had said he would have loved to write the screen adaptation of Doctor Strange.

“I would love to write Doctor Strange,” he said. “It would be absolutely one of my dream jobs. Last year I mentioned to [Guillermo Del Toro] that I’ve been, in very very early sort of ‘I would to do this’ talks with Marvel about doing a Doctor Strange movie, and Guillermo’s reaction was, ‘Neil, I want to direct it!’ [doing Guillermo Del Toro imitation] being wonderfully Guillermo and getting all excited and having all sorts of magical and wonderful ideas about this, and Marvel, I think, were very excited too.”

Why Marvel’s initial excitement died out, then, is a thing which would haunt many fans.

Meanwhile, Doctor Strange is on course for its November 2016 release date, according to reports. Only last month, the movie completed part of its shooting in Nepal, before moving west to the United Kingdom. It will also be shot across the United States before finally wrapping up in Hong Kong.

One can only imagine what Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Del Toro’s version of Doctor Strange might have looked like, but for any fan worth his salt, that is certainly an idea worth exploring.

[Photos by Ethan Miller/Getty Images and Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]