I’ve long suggested that a Doctor Strange movie would be a great way to introduce a new tone to the Marvel universe, a kind of movie that could rely less on big fights and more on magic and atmospherics. Now, it seems gossip suggests that Thor 2 might be planning to introduce Strange somewhere along the way, though as Topless Robot points out, it’s not entirely clear what he’d be doing hanging out in Asgard.
And while I love Mads Mikkelsen, the Danish actor who is reportedly in contention to play Doctor Strange, I’m coming towards the end of my patience with Marvel announcing spinoffs and new characters, who don’t feel all that new given that they’re all white dudes. If a man shows up, even in a peripheral way, in a Marvel movie, it feels like he has a chance of sticking around. Hawkeye backs up S.H.I.E.L.D. in Thor and gets to be sexy and brainwashed and tragic in The Avengers. Bucky hangs out with Steve Rogers in Captain America, and gets to be a focus of Captain America 2, which will follow the Winter Soldier arc, which involves Bucky’s resurrection, though Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) will stay safely in the past.
Women and people of color who aren’t Samuel L. Jackson haven’t been as lucky. Terrence Howard got replaced in the Iron Man franchise by Don Cheadle, a move that Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter reportedly said he thought wouldn’t matter because people of color are indistinguishable. Pepper Potts, despite running Stark Industries while Tony goes off and does his superhero thing, will forever remain primarily Iron Man’s girlfriend. The same fate seems likely for Jane Foster, whose only appearance in The Avengers was as an image flickering on a computer screen. This may be more contractual than intentional, given that Cobie Smulders, who played Maria Hill in The Avengers, may end up having to do another season of How I Met Your Mother beyond this year, but Joss Whedon says that his S.H.I.E.L.D. show, rather than focusing on Maria, who could have been a hugely promising hook, will feature all new characters. If Guardians of the Galaxy is, in fact, going to be a Carol Danvers movie, it would be awfully nice for Marvel to let us know, and soon.