Marvel's Phase Three: 'Doctor Strange,' 'Iron Man 4,' 'Hulk,' 'Inhumans' or 'Runaways' on horizon? -- EXCLUSIVE

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Doctor Strange

Created in 1963, Stephen Strange was an arrogant surgeon who goes on a faith-healing quest after his previously miracle-working hands are damaged in an accident. What he discovers transforms him into one of the world’s most powerful sorcerers, charged with protecting Earth from supernatural and magical threats.

The character has fascinated filmmakers for decades, with everyone from Wes Craven to Guillermo del Toro mulling ways to bring originating artist Steve Ditko’s trippy, astral illustrations to the big screen. No one has succeeded.

Now, Feige says Doctor Strange is one of the prime candidates for a Phase Three berth — or birth, if you will.

Screenwriters Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Conan the Barbarian reboot, Sahara) penned a script for the studio a few years ago, although there’s no telling whether it will be used, refined, or replaced. When the Marvel brain trust begins laying out plans, expect a new version of Strange to be a top priority.

“I would love Strange to be a part of that only because he’s a great character. He’s a great standalone character,” Feige emphasizes. “He’s got a great origin story, for the most part. And that world of pure magic, we haven’t done yet. There’s a whole supernatural/magic alternate dimension going on in the Marvel comics that we haven’t ever touched on. So I think that’s exciting.”

Who should play the somewhat sinister hero? Fans have suggested everyone from Viggo Mortensen to Liam Neeson, and Patrick Dempsey openly campaigned for the role in an interview with Geoff Boucher in 2011.

Obviously, no casting is set at this early stage. “I think there’s any number of actors who would be chomping at the bit to play this guy,” Feige said.

But who can rock that iconic popped collar?

NEXT PAGE: Iron Man 4

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