Blade, Ghost Rider & Punisher Return To Marvel; Kevin Feige Says Doctor Strange Is "Next Up" For Phase Three

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by Kevin Jagernauth
May 4, 2013 11:52 AM
10 Comments
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With "Iron Man 3" set to make, approximately, a kajillion dollars this weekend and Marvel's Phase Two already mapped out, Phase Three is now the focus of their attention. We already know "The Avengers 2" and "Ant-Man" will kick off what will be a banner year for Disney in 2015, but what's next after that? Of course, there's all kinds of speculation and options, particularly with "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." giving the comic company the chance to introduce even more characters to the Marvel-verse, and with the rights to even more of their catalog returning it's giving Kevin Feige plenty to play with.

In the recent issue of EW (via ComicBookMovie), it's revealed that Blade, Ghost Rider and Punisher are all back in the Marvel fold and all three have an interesting track record. "Blade" of course spawned a modestly successful trilogy of films, that are probably best remembered for the Wesley Snipes anecdotes they have provided. "Ghost Rider" got off to a great, surprising start for Sony, but the sequel made almost $100 million less worldwide than its predecessor, killing off that potential moneymaker, while "The Punisher" has a cult devoted to the 2004 movie (including Thomas Jane himself who made an unauthorized short film), but has lain dormant since 'War Zone.' So, reboots for all? Not so fast.

Feige has already tempered expectations about a potential Daredevil movie, and he's even more candid about these three properties. “Whenever a character comes back to us, it's usually because the other studios don't want to make the movies anymore - and that usually means the [previous] movies may not have been particularly well received," he told EW. "They all have potential, but we're not going to say, 'We got it back - make it!'" 

But one character that might finally get up on the big screen is Doctor Strange. Rumors have been kicking around for years, with a script handed in way back in 2011 (though it would probably need to be re-written at this point to reflect the changes in the Marvel-verse). Feige has said the character is part of Phase Three, recent rumors have suggested Justin Theroux may be in line for the part. But all signs point to Doctor Strange finally getting into the movie fold.

"Dr. Strange is something that I talk about often and it’s sort of next up for us to dig into and explore.  Our executive producer of 'Iron Man 3,' having done 'Captain America: The First Avenger' and as that was finishing he started working on the bones that would become 'Iron Man 3,' and now that he’s finished with 'Iron Man 3,' he’s working on the bones that would become 'Doctor Strange.' Now that Iron Man 3 is finished, some of our quote-unquote spare time is going to be devoted to trying to crack 'Strange,' ” Feige told Collider.

He added: “As we look past 2015, past 'Avengers 2' and 'Ant-Man,' I think 'Dr. Strange' should be one of the next movies in the years following that.”

So there you have it. It's as close to a confirmation one is likely to get from Feige, but all the signposts are there. Thoughts? Opinions? Share 'em below.


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10 Comments

  • easilydissolved | May 12, 2013 7:38 PMReply

    Here's a thought. All three characters (as well as Daredevil) have been a part of the "Marvel Knights" imprint, which featured some fairly gritty and dark storylines. Couldn't Marvel entertain the idea of a Marvel Knights movie (a sort of darker version of Marvel's Avengers)?

  • xxxsgtrodxxx | May 7, 2013 10:17 PMReply

    I think marvel and fox should trade this characters for the fantastic four. The FF fit better in the avengers universe and I would love to see an R rated Marvel knights movie including Wolverine. Nether studio would loose because every single one of these franchises have flopped. And who wouldn't like to see the hulk getting into a brawl with the thing, or Doom being the main villain in an avengers movie, or even a defenders movie with Namor, Hulk, Dr. Strange and Silver Surfer.

  • Vivi | May 6, 2013 10:27 AMReply

    Can't wait for Doctor Strange. Kind of wish they would stop reproducing films that have already been done before though. Blade was great as it was. Move on. It's clear that the superhero/comic franchise is huge for the industry these days. At the rate we'll be going with all the reboots and remakes fans will just get sick of it all before they start seeing fresh faces and does every title really need a trilogy? Can't wait to see what the marvel (Avengers) DVD collection pack is going to look like. All three Iron Man's, Captain America's, Thors etc. In one! Haha.

  • Washington | May 4, 2013 11:18 PMReply

    Putting all these superheroes in one universe gets a little absurd at some point. Blade exists in a world where vampires are secretly running all of society yet he also somehow exists in the same world as the rest of the avengers, but wait also all the mutants from x-men who are responsible for these big social upheavals throughout history regarding mutant rights that we never hear about when watching the other guys, and here's the story of spiderman, a nerdy kid given given the responsibility of great powers in a world filled with people with even greater powers.

    Some of these guys it seems better to keep separate, maybe it works it comics better, I don't know. It's less like anybody is trying to tell a good story, more like watching wrestling, "let's make WCW guy fight WWF guy, or have the one guy turn into a bad guy, cause won't the fans lose their shit seeing that happen!"

  • Chris | May 4, 2013 10:50 PMReply

    With Ghost Rider back in the Marvel fold and all this talk of a Doctor Strange movie, maybe we'll see a big screen version of The Defenders with a Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider and Hulk line up. I dunno. They should get a Defenders movie out there at some point. Having a Doctor Strange film would have to lead to some kind of group outing and The Defenders would be the obvious choice.

  • Joshawott | May 4, 2013 5:26 PMReply

    I am personally really hyped for Dr. Strange.

  • Travis Hopson | May 4, 2013 1:37 PMReply

    Really? That's all Blade is remembered for? It's not remembered for ushering in the modern age of superhero movies? Huh.

  • Alex McK | May 5, 2013 4:38 PM

    most people dont realize he's a marvel hero though haha

  • RNL | May 4, 2013 12:37 PMReply

    Punisher hasn't lain dormant since 2004, there was another Punisher film in 2008, War Zone, which Marvel Studios actually co-produced. Also, Marvel got the Punisher rights back in 2010, and the Blade rights back in 2011, it's not "revealed" in EW. See here for Punisher: ie.ign.com/articles/2010/07/25/sdcc-10-the-punisher-will-return And see here for Blade: denofgeek.com/movies/blade/17818/marvel-gets-blade-and-the-punisher-screen-rights-back-more-movies-coming

  • berk | May 4, 2013 12:36 PMReply

    Punisher, Daredevil, and Blade may be better used on television, although Blade already had a shot and failed. I could see any one of those characters showing up in the SHIELD series (they could make the Punisher a former SHIELD agent instead of a soldier, Blade and vampires could easily exist alongside Thor, etc. and Daredevil could show up first as Matt Murdock, attorney at law).

    These street-level characters would also fit into a Luke Cage/Iron Fist/Heroes for Hire show that seems to be at the top of every fan's wish list of Marvel tv shows. It's smart to sit on them for a while and let them come back fresh in a few years.

    Doctor Strange is the next logical step since they have already done their big superhero characters, a team-up, and now a space story with Guardians of the Galaxy. The magic/supernatural side of the Marvel universe is just as big and remains unexplored.

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