Scott Derrickson Will Direct Marvel’s Doctor Strange

Just a few months after Marvel teased a Doctor Strange movie with a line of throwaway dialogue in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they seem to have hired a director: Scott Derrickson, the acclaimed horror filmmaker behind SinisterThe Exorcism of Emily Rose and this summer’s upcoming Deliver Us from Evil

Although Marvel has yet to officially confirm the news, Scott Derrickson himself made the announcement via his Twitter account, posting a picture of himself with a Doctor Strange comic book (issue #58) along with the simple message, “My next movie will be STRANGE.”

Derrickson was heavily rumored to be a frontrunner for the Doctor Strange position, which may have been part of his decision not to direct the sequel to Sinister, which has since been taken over by The Citadel‘s Ciaran Foy. The announcement would seem to indicate that Doctor Strange will be one of Marvel Studio’s “Phase Three” titles, a moniker given to the series of superhero films scheduled for release after next year’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and expected to premiere between 2016 and 2017.  

The story of the film is of course unknown at this point, but Marvel Studios’ head honcho Kevin Feige was quick to point out in his recent CraveOnline interview that dropping Doctor Stephen Strange’s name in Captain America: The Winter Soldier might not mean what you think it does.

Quoth the Feige: “Well, ‘we’ know what it means and where we want to head with it, but we were comfortable with keeping it in there and leaving it in there because there are a few different ways to interpret it. The whole thing, what Sitwell’s saying is, this algorithm is going to predict if you’re going to become a problem for Hydra or not. So you don’t have to just be Tony Stark, actively plotting to save the world. You could be a kid whose SAT scores and whose essays have indicated that you’re going to be a problem one day. So is Stephen Strange the Sorcerer Supreme? Probably not at that point. Is he an unbelievably talented neurosurgeon who’s opinionated and kind of arrogant? Probably. That might put him on the list.”

Marvel has frequently poached talent from unusual places to bring its superheroes to live-action life, including comedies (Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man), Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor), and even sitcoms (The Russo Brothers, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). But Derrickson is the first filmmaker they have hired who is best known for his work in the horror genre. (He also directed the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, but let’s not hold that against him.) 

The decision would seem to suggest that Marvel Studios expects the supernatural adventures of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme to turn out a little darker than their typical output, but it may simply indicate that Scott Derrickson has impressed them with his ability to tell striking stories of the supernatural that focus just as heavily on character as they do on thrills.

Do you think Derrickson is the man for the job? Who do you think they should cast as Doctor Strange? Let us know in the comments or contact us on Twitter.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.