Back in 2008 (seven years ago, if you can believe it), Neil Gaiman expressed interest in developing a Doctor Strange movie with Guillermo del Toro. As far as we knew, that idea never really materialized, Marvel was never made aware of it, and it was eventually forgotten. But according to Gaiman, perhaps that isn’t entirely true — perhaps Marvel passed on their idea.

Slashfilm picked up on an interesting tweet Gaiman sent to a fan:

Here’s how the story goes: in 2008, Gaiman said he “would love to write Doctor Strange,” and revealed (via Bleeding Cool) that he hung out with Guillermo del Toro on the Hellboy II set, where he presented the director with his idea for a Doctor Strange movie. Del Toro said he’d love to direct it, though Gaiman noted it would be years before they could commit to it since del Toro had the Hobbit movies coming up and possibly Hellboy III — neither of those projects worked out, of course.

Del Toro confirmed Gaiman’s story to Empire and talked a little bit about his take on the character, but then in 2012, the director backtracked a bit in an interview with Collider. Here del Toro reiterates that he was interested in working on a Doctor Strange movie with Gaiman, but they only ever spoke about it:

When Neil Gaiman was visiting Hellboy II, he literally said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do Doctor Strange together?”=’ and I said, ‘Yeah that would be cool.’ (laughs) That was the extent of the discussion, and then four or five weeks later it was like ‘Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Developing Dr. Strange for Marvel,’ and Marvel had never heard of that development and neither have I.

That brings us to today and Gaiman’s tweet, which suggests that Gaiman and del Toro might have met with Marvel about their idea, at the very least, but the studio was not interested — possibly because they weren’t ready to dive into the character just yet. 2008 was the year Iron Man hit theaters and the concept of the MCU was still in its early stages.

Whatever the case, you can add a Neil Gaiman-scripted, Guillermo del Toro-directed Doctor Strange movie to the pile of cool movies that could have been.

Not that Marvel’s current iteration doesn’t sound promising, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One and Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen in mystery roles. We’ll see how it turns out when Doctor Strange hits theaters on November 4, 2016.

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