The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting weird. What began as a fairly grounded science fiction universe in the first Iron Man has slowly expanded to include gods and aliens, and in the coming years it’s going to get even stranger. Literally, as a Doctor Strange movie is in the works at Marvel (and in case you aren’t sure he’s really coming, there’s a pretty big shout out to him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
While Marvel has sidestepped the issue of magic in the Thor movies by just making it advanced Asgardian technology, Doctor Strange is much more directly set in the world of wizardry. After all, Dr. Stephen Strange’s job title is Sorceror Supreme. I sat down with Marvel honcho Kevin Feige at the junket for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and asked him how Marvel intended to move into the realms of magic and the unknown.
Are you watching the Cosmos series? That’s magic, [the quantum physics]. It’s unbelievable. If somebody knew how to tap into that stuff, what’s the difference between that and magic?
You don’t get into it in Harry Potter, but if a scientist went to Hogwarts he’d find out how some of that stuff is happening! We’re not going to spend a lot of time on that, but there will be some of that. And particularly for a character like Strange, who goes from a man of science to a man of faith and who traverses both worlds. And sometimes there won’t be an answer! Sometimes he’ll want an answer - “How is this happening?!” - and nothing.
Doctor Strange also has to be weirder as a movie. The Marvel films have so far had something approaching a house style - even Winter Soldier, which has its own look, fits into the larger Marvel aesthetic. But Feige sees Doctor Strange being quite different.
“Doctor Strange needs to be a Ditko/Kubrick/Miyazaki/The Matrix mind-trip,” he said. With all the recent news about directors being courted for the film this is interesting - who will be able to deliver for Marvel the kind of mind-trip Feige wants while also making a movie that will hit a wide audience?