Walt Disney Co. chief Robert Iger, overseeeing the final acquisition of Marvel, is reportedly looking at 'obscure' Marvel super heroes among the company's 5,000 proprietary characters, for rapid development into branded film properties.
Currently Paramount distributes Marvel movie properties "Iron Man" and "Captain America", Sony handles "Spider-Man","Ghost Rider" and "The Punisher", Fox has "X-Men", "Wolverine" and "Fantastic Four" and Universal has "The Hulk" and "Namor: The Sub-Mariner". Artisan and Lionsgate also produced a "Man-Thing" feature in 2005.
Iger said that Disney may 'test' different Marvel characters on cable TV, similar to how Warners showcases DC Comics super-hero properties on the Vancouver-lensed 'Superman' TV series "Smallville".
"Instead of making a $200 million movie and kind of betting the farm on one character," said Iger, "you can develop a television pilot, or a television series."
Marvel characters with film potential include "Doctor Strange","Ant-Man", "The Black Panther", "Skrull Kill Crew", "Luke Cage" and "Deathlok".
A "Doctor Strange" MOW for 2012, could fit nicely into Disney's penchant for occult fantasy, following an American 'sorcerer supreme' that makes the wizardry of 'Harry Potter' look like Howdy Doody.
Following their Marvel Comics success of "Spider-Man", co-creators Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko debuted 'Doctor Strange' in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963), fashioning the physical look of the character after Lee Falk's 1930's comic strip character "Mandrake The Magician".
'Dr. Stephen Strange' was an arrogant, world-renowned neurosurgeon, until a car accident damaged his hands, preventing him from conducting surgery. In desperation, a bitter Strange seeks out a legendary Tibetan hermit living in a 'Lost Horizon' of the Himalayas who may have the cure to his debilitating condition.
Strange finds 'The Ancient One', possessed of the knowledge of sorcerous spells and incantations, invoking names and aspects of extra-dimensional objects and beings of power. Some of these phenomena include the 'Flames of the Faltine', the 'Shades of the Seraphim' and the 'Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth'.
When Strange selflessly thwarts the evil ambitions of the Ancient One's traitorous disciple 'Baron Mordo', the 500-year old sorceror tutors Strange in the 'mystic arts', teaching him how to use magical artifacts to augment his power, including the 'Cloak of Levitation', the all-seeing 'Eye of Agamotto' and the 'Book of the Vishanti'.
Strange's residence in New York's Greenwich Village, referred to as his 'Sanctum Sanctorum', figured prominently in stories focusing on extra-dimensional battles in the Big Apple.
Strange uses his magic to achieve a number of effects, including energy projection, teleportation, telepathy and astral projection.
Strange was also schooled in the use of addictive and corruptive 'dark magic' by one-time foe 'Kaluu', using it to destroy the entity known as 'Shuma-Gorath'.
Doctor Strange has been featured in several self-titled Marvel Comics series and Marvel-endorsed products including arcade/video games, animated TV series, a direct-to-DVD film and merchandise including trading cards.
Sneak Peek "Doctor Strange"...