Marvel’s Next Film Hero is Dr. Strange

Strange Tales are being prepared for the big screen

Marvel is slowly rebuilding its expansive, interconnected comic book universe on the silver screen, and it seems that one of their, if you’ll excuse the pun, strangest heroes is on his way to join the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Marvel have approved a script for a Doctor Strange motion picture written by Josh Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, of ‘Sahara’ and ‘Conan’ fame, and are currently searching for a director.

Doctor Strange is the epitome of the magical side of of the Marvel universe, just as Thor is exemplary of the mythological stories, and Iron Man the technological. As such, he might just manage to find a niche in the already crowded superhero film genre, just as he did in the comic books on which the movie would be based. While never their most popular hero, he is highly regarded by comic fans and an integral part of Marvel’s fictional universe. With the increasing successes Marvel are having with their current run of interconnected films, it makes sense for them to take a risk on a character they consider so vital to the franchise. His comic was originally paired with Nick Fury’s re-launch, so bringing the two characters together on film would certainly please the fanboys.

Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange was one of the world’s greatest neurosurgeons, but his talents and high wage caused him to become selfish and arrogant. When his hands were irreversibly injured in a car accident, he begins a search to find any way possibly to fix the damage and maintain the life to which he had become accustomed. He eventually takes a gamble on a hermit in the Himalayas (just go with it) known as the Ancient One, but is refused help due to his selfish nature. As you’ve probably already guessed, he then selflessly saves the hermits life, proves his worth and is granted magical powers and a magical new pair of hands. The obsession and  talent that once made him a brilliant surgeon eventually pushes him to study magic and become the Marvel universe’s Sourcerer Supreme.

Popular in the 1960s for its psychedelic visuals and tinge of eastern mysticism, Doctor Strange is one of Marvel’s most visually engaging heroes. It is no wonder then that Pan’s Labyrinth helmer Guillermo Del Toro was at one time working on a Doctor Strange adaptation with author Neil Gaiman, though it is unlikely either of them will be involved in this new film set to go into production after the release of the Avengers in 2012.

With the film officially in the works, its time for the casting rumour mill to go into action. I am going to throw Hugh Laurie’s name into the hat, but feel free to leave your ideas as a comment below.

Source: Empire Online

Meet Your New Ultimate Spider-Man

Half-Black, Half-Hispanic, all Spidey

Marvel have revealed the successor to Peter Parker’s Spider-Man mantle in their Ultimate comics range, an all new character by the name of Miles Morales. Readers can see the new web slinger don the suit for the first time in Ultimate Fallout #4 before the Ultimate Spider-Man title is re-launched in September with a brand new #1 issue.

So, lets delve into the back story behind how there is a need for a new Spider-Man at all. Its important to remember that this is only a part of Marvel’s ‘Ultimates’ comic continuity, rather than its mainstream universe. Peter Parker is remaining as your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man in all of Marvel’s mainstream comic range, just as he has since his inception in 1962. (Barring that whole time in the 1990s where he may or may not have been a clone, of course.)

All New Ultimate Spider-Man #1

No, new Spidey Morales is a part of the Ultimate universe, launched in the year 2000 to appeal to potential comic readers who may have been put off by over eighty years of continuity within the mainstream of Marvel comics. It retooled Marvel’s more popular heroes with contemporary back-stories and an aim of telling new stories not possible within the mainstream continuity. The whole universe is currently undergoing a relaunch after the universe wide, multi-comic event ‘Ultimatum’, which included the death of Peter Parker in its climax. As the Ultimates range launched with the Ultimate Spider-Man line (along with Ultimate X-Men), it seems fitting that its current incarnation should end with his death, and its rejuvenation begin with the rejuvenation of the Spider-Man character as a whole.

But what of Miles Morales, the new hero behind the webbed suit? Well, he is reported to have a connection to Parker in how he gains his powers (currently unrevealed) but also a slightly different set of powers to the original web-slinger (also currently unrevealed). Much is being played up about the new Spider-Man’s half-Hispanic, half-Black ethnicity, but he seems like a more believable hero to come out of modern day New York slums than his whiter than white predecessor. He also seems to pull closer to Marvel’s original mission statement for the Ultimate universe, to re-imagine characters in a modern way and tell new stories that were impossible before. Marvel’s editor-in-chief Axel Alonso seems to believe the same, saying that “What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity.”

While popular, many critics were doubtful of the direction that Marvel took with the Ultimate Spider-Man range, internet personality ‘MovieBob’ Chipman calling it out for “segueing almost-immediately from telling “new” stories to basically being a “remixed” version of Spidey-continuity’s Greatest Hits”. By creating a more ethnically representative hero take up the name of one of Marvel’s most popular hero, and having him reportedly be coached in this role by more established characters such as Parker’s aunt May and former girlfriend Gwen Stacy, Marvel may have finally found a way to please old comic readers while reaching out to a new fanbase.

Its a little sad that the race of a superhero is considered so newsworthy even now, but you can form your own opinions of Marvel’s new Ultimate Spider-Men when he appears in Ultimate Fallout #4 this August and then in the re-launched Ultimate Spider-Man #1 in September

Sources: USA Today and MovieBob