Like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and Ant-Man before it, Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange is another “origin story” section in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather than focusing on the hero in his famous type, the choice was created that the film should completely describe how Dr. Stephen Strange went from being a physician to a expert sorcerer. Given how common these films are at Marvel Studios, this choice eventually didn not surprise anybody, but it should be observed that the film’s authors did think twice about the concept.
This exciting bit of backstory on Doctor Strange Movie was given to me by Jon Spaihts, who co-wrote the super hero film with director Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill. During a one-on-one meeting recently, I asked Spaihts about the prospective story and various components that he may have got from Marvel when he first finalized on to the project — and after describing that he and his co-writers were fairly much given carte blanche in regards of direction, he mentioned that they considered with the idea of not making the film an origin story.
Hearing this, I talked about the discussion that was created for the non-origin story path, and why Jon Spaihts and his Doctor Strange co-workers eventually went the way that they did with the script.
Repetition. I think everyone’s afraid of going too often to the well with origin stories. There is an inevitable same-ness to their structure. There is a necessary structure to an origin story. But in this case, the origin story is so good! There’s no way not to do it. It truly is, on my opinion, the best comic book origin story. It’s operatic. And, frankly, I don’t think there’s been a better realization of it than in this film. I think it’s extraordinary.
While Jon Spaihts did not straight mention it, there is another important discussion to be made for why Doctor Strange really did need to be an origin story: the introduction of magic. It is true that Marvel lovers have gotten a flavor of magic in the past, namely with the introduction of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, but Doctor Strange is the first movie in the canon to dive head first into ideas of the multiverse and the idea of pulling energy from other dimensions. Knowing this part of the sci-fi/fantasy world is integral into understanding Doctor Strange as a character, which is why it’s a good idea to package their insights for each together in an origin story.
At the same time, as Jon Spaihts mentioned, there is definitely a certain increasing risk in the repeating of origin stories, and one can only think what Doctor Strange would have seemed like if not chained to a familiar structure.