San Diego Comic-Con is in full swing and all eyes are on Marvel as they have some big announcements that are presumably going to be made this weekend, specifically at their panel in hall H on Saturday evening. One of the most anticipated potential announcements is the actor announcement for Scott Derrickson’s upcoming Doctor Strange movie. The rumor mill is swirling with whispers that Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play The Sorcerer Supreme, but here’s why Joaquin Phoenix probably won’t play Doctor Strange.
The Wrap reported Friday morning that “multiple individuals” close to the casting process have confirmed that Phoenix was in talks to play Strange. They also mentioned that neither Phoenix or Marvel representatives had any comment when asked about it. Should Marvel be planning a big announcement this weekend, it makes sense that they would not want to say much on the subject.
However, all of the excitement over the potential casting of Phoenix is largely blown out of proportion at this point. Based on what is known, it seems as though Marvel has had talks with the actor, but nothing more. Similarly, Phoenix had talks to play Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but that role ultimately went to Jesse Eisenberg.
That may lend some legitimacy to the idea that Phoenix is interested in being part of a superhero movie, but these movies are franchises, they are not intended to be one offs. Marvel especially is known for locking their actors into long, multi-picture deals. This is where it becomes unlikely that Phoenix will sign on.
Phoenix is known for working with some of the most well respected directors alive from Paul Thomas Anderson (twice) to Spike Jonze. He isn’t a franchise guy. He likely won’t want to be tied down in a lengthy multi-picture deal. There have been rumors that Marvel is willing to have Phoenix sign a shorter contract, but that is also very unlikely.
Doctor Strange is considered to be a bit of a gamble for Marvel Studios, similar to that of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is looking like it’s going to pay off for them. That being said, if Doctor Strange does pay off, they will want to lock the character into their larger universe and that will require multiple films over many years. If Phoenix does it as a one and done thing, that would be Marvel shooting themselves in the foot. It is highly inconceivable that Kevin Feige and co. would allow that to happen.
So even though talks have occurred, it just doesn’t seem like Phoenix is the right fit for the part, even though nobody would argue that he lacks the talent to accomplish it.
The story of Doctor Strange revolves around a troubled and arrogant neurosurgeon who irreparably damages his hands in a car accident and has to seek out the help of The Ancient One in order to fix himself, eventually taking on the guise of The Sorcerer Supreme.
Phoenix isn’t the only coveted actor that has been tied to the role. Jared Leto, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy have all been rumored to be on the shortlist for the part, though Cumberbatch recently all but took himself out of the running. As excited as the internet is over this rumor it is still just a rumor. Perhaps if the fans get their way, the actor will be revealed at Saturdays panel.
Why Joaquin Phoenix Probably Won’t Play Doctor Strange