There’s a signal to noise ratio disconnect with Guillermo del Toro. The filmmaker is completely beloved, especially by online sites and online audiences — he’s recently said he has to be careful what he says because fanboy sites will spin it into a story (he had to reiterate again that his Jabba The Hut “Star Wars” idea is not happening, though he did apparently sort of pitch it). But there’s that disconnect. See “Crimson Peak,” a movie discussed ad nauseum in the film blogosphere, but when it came time for theatrical release, the movie essentially flopped — it stalled out at $31 million domestically, which is a pretty pitiful number and only just reached $73 million worldwide.
And maybe Marvel’s aware of that disconnect? Writer Neil Gaiman recently revealed on Twitter that del Toro pitched Marvel his version of “Doctor Strange” in 2007, but the studio wasn’t interested. Evidently, the idea would have been Gaiman writing and del Toro directing.
“I wish Marvel had been interested in a @Real GDT & me Dr. Strange movie because I wanted to write Clea so badly after 1602,” the author wrote on Twitter in response to a fan question recently.
Now, 2007 was even before Marvel’s flagship movie “Iron Man” in 2008, so it was early to be on the character, but evidently Gaiman and del Toro let go of the idea and moved on. Maybe for the sequel, should it happen? Because “Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is obviously in production right now and set for a November 2016 release, and they’re not about to change plans suddenly. At least, I suspect not. Del Toro’s ideas tend to be too weird for studios super hero idea projects. He had been developing “Justice League Dark” for Warner Bros., how perfect would that be for his sensibilities? But he left the project earlier this year, and its been rumored that Scott Rudin is steering the still-moving-forward under-the-radar project. Furthermore, del Toro seems to have learned his lesson about being stuck in development hell with strange ideas that studios don’t ultimately want. And because of this, his interests seem to have shifted.
“What I can tell you quite safely is, I don’t intend to keep on doing big, giant Hollywood movies for much longer,” he told the Guardian in October around the release of “Crimson Peak.” Pour one out for del Toro’s “Doctor Strange,” I guess. And if you’re a better person, assume for now he’s probably not returning to the comic book universe any time soon. Read the full tweets below.