<i>by <a href=http://twitter.com/#!/pittsed_off>Lan Pitts, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>For 50 years, Dr. Stephen Strange has thwarted the mystical forces that would harm our realm, defending it with unparalleled magic skills as the Sorcerer Surpeme, Dr. Strange. Co-created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1963, Dr. Strange has been a Marvel staple for decades, making appearances in various animated series, video games, and a <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/ant-man-origin-doctor-strange-phase-3-marvel-cinematic-universe.html>recently-confirmed-to-be-in-development feature film</a> in Marvel Studios' Phase 3. <p>Strange's first foray into movies didn't exactly flourish; a made-for-TV movie that was set to become a series following in the footsteps of the smash hit, <i>The Incredible Hulk</i>. Now being a part of Marvel's movieverse, comic fans are abuzz with who might don the cloak and tunic of the Master of the Mystical Arts. <p>Following <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/chris-pratt-guardians-galaxy-starlord.html>Tuesday's news that <i>Parks and Recreation</i>'s Chris Pratt</a> has been cast in the lead role of Star-Lord in 2014's <i>Guardians of the Galaxy</i>, Newsarama has compiled a list of hopefuls that could be up for the task. Yes, the rumor mill is still grinding, but here are 10 great contenders. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
This one is a bit of a long shot, but it'd be sort of fun, especially if you play him off of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. <p>Olyphant is best known for his work on TV's <i>Deadwood</i> and <i>Justified</i> (both times playing something of a cowboy type), so something like stepping in the role of Stephen Strange would be fun to see. The past few years he's shown some comedic range with roles on <i>The Office</i> and <i>The League</i> (plus every interview he's in), and he has a charismatic aura about him that screams personality. Olyphant has also shown his darker side playing the occasional bad guy, and Strange, while not a villain, definitely has his mood swings and moments of silent rage. <p>Olyphant might be the dark horse here, but there's definite potential.
Once upon a time, Eric Bana was the green goliath in Ang Lee's <i>Hulk</i>, which received mixed reviews from fans and critics. Audiences were going in thinking they were getting one type of Hulk movie, and the rest, as they say is history. <p>Bana has kept busy and put his shredded purple pants behind him, and has shown the type of actor he really is. He might have left a bad taste in our mouths with his green grimace, but I'd be all for giving him another swing at comic book stardom.
Hugh Laurie at one time was mostly known for being a comedic actor, alongside Stephen Fry in the BBC sketch comedy show <i>A Bit of Fry and Laurie</i>. Through the years he was simply one of "those" guys a face you'd see and recognize from various things (he was the dad in <i>Stuart Little</i>), but nothing really stood out. <p><i>House</i> changed all that. Laurie stretched his more serious side of things, and while Gregory House had a witty and snarky side, he wasn't known for making the audience laugh as much as giving the impression that he is somebody to fear and respect. Stephen Strange was once a vain man until humbled with broken hands. Laurie has shown both sides of a broken man, and is a solid candidate for the role.
Jason Isaacs is the perfect movie villain, but could he handle being the lead hero? <p>While most moviegoers know him as Lucious Malfoy, the villainous father of Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise, Isaacs has shown further dramatic chops over years in such films as Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning <i>Black Hawk Down</i>, and the short-lived television series <i>Awake</i>. He has loaned his voice to the animated series <i>Batman: The Brave and the Bold</i> as well as <i>Avatar: The Last Airbender</i>. <p>Isaacs has a refined silhouette that would look great next to the rest of the Avengers in battle. And he'd look mighty dapper with that cloak.
As the most decorated actor on this list with two Oscars and another one likely on the way for <i>Lincoln</i> Daniel Day-Lewis is absolutely more of a fantasy than a legitimate possibility, but there's no denying that it'd be intriguing to watch him don the cloak and tunic of the Master of Mystical Arts. <p>His portrayal of Bill the Butcher in <i>Gangs of New York</i> is one of the finest performances of the decade, and, along with films like <i>There Will Be Blood</i>, defines him as an actor. Yes, his reputation of being one of the most selective actors in the industry makes him a very long shot, but it would most certainly be something to watch.
Sort of cheating a bit here and going strictly on dead-on appearances, but hey, he can't help that. <p>Joseph Fiennes has defined a certain breed of actor in his almost two decades in the business. Not many actors this generation can say they were in two different movies with two different portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in the same year. His recent role in FX's <i>American Horror Story: Asylum</i> gives a small hint of him playing a supernatural hero of sorts, though it'd be interesting to see him battle Mindless Ones in the next go round. <p>Fiennes is known for more of a classical style, but it wouldn't be the first time a Shakespearean actor took the stage in the Marvel movieverse.
Now here's a guy who just <i>wants</i> it. <p>I've been lobbying [to play Dr. Strange]. There's a whole bunch of people [on the <i>Grey's Anatomy</i> crew] who are into comics and Marvel, too, on the set and they're like, '<i>Doctor Strange</i>, that's the one you should do.' It would be fantastic." That was Dempsey a few years ago talking to <a href=http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/04/01/patrick-dempsey-is-ready-for-marvel-magic-id-love-to-play-doctor-strange/>LA Times' Hero Complex</a> about how he's been trying to get the role for quite some time now. He certainly has that whole "playing a doctor" thing down. And there's just something about wish-fulfillment factor, too. <p>From McDreamy to McSorcery? It could work.
Casting Ioan Gruffudd, a.k.a. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in Fox's 2005 and 2007 <i>Fantastic Four</i> films, wouldn't be the first time Marvel has double-dipped. Not ruling out Chris Evans as Captain America just because he played the Human Torch proved beneficial for the Marvel movie franchise, especially if you consider the casting came out of left field. <p>Gruffudd is a classically trained actor with some serious credentials, as well as a face that comic fans already know. Could comic fans adapt to seeing him summoning powers from the Vishanti instead of making the Ultimate Nullifier?
Having already established himself as a dramatic actor with <i>The Road</i>, <i>A History of Violence</i> (itself a comic book adaptation), <i>Eastern Promises</i> (which garnered an Oscar nomination) and that little thing called the <i>Lord of the Rings</i> trilogy, Viggo Mortensen definitely has both the acting ability and a good dose of nerd cred to don the Eye of Agamotto. <p>Since the Doctor Strange movie will likely involve lots of special effects, Mortensen comes prepared with some heavy experience working with green screens, so that's also a plus. Next starring in this year's <i>The Two Faces of January</i>, he has the proper resume to make a great Sorcerer Supreme.
Not even going to lie, his goatee is the best. <p>Of course that wouldn't be fair to make him number one just on that, given his talent and extensive resume. Most known for his roles as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in <i>Game of Thrones</i> and Tommy Carcetti in <i>The Wire</i>, the Irish-born Aidan Gillen has won numerous acting awards throughout his career, and is this list's top pick for Stephen Strange. <p>Much like Chris Hemsworth in <i>Thor</i>, the announcement of his casting would bring several quizzical expressions and a slew of "who?" from fans. And yes, while Gillen has been had more exposure in recent years, by Hollywood standards, he's still under the radar, unlike many on this list. <p>Casting a relative unknown for Strange makes the most obvious sense. Some may doubt Marvel's ability to pull <i>Doctor Strange</i> off, but as the success of <i>Thor</i> shows, any hero can succeed if provided the right material and a lead that can deliver the goods.