At San Diego Comic-Con in 2017, Noah Hawley confirmed that he was developing a Doctor Doom film and I just about lost my mind. Doctor Doom is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters and one of the best villains there is. He also more than has the lore and character depth to support his own solo film. And to top it all off the man behind FX’s Fargo and the showrunner and writer for Legion was the one bringing it to life. I was over the moon and ever since it’s initial announcement I’ve been raving that this would be a sleeper comic book hit. It could be something truly special if it could just make it to the production stage.
Flash forward to January of this year and news breaks that multiple Fox Marvel movies are being canceled due to the impending merger with Disney. On this list are Gambit, X-Force, and you guessed it, Doctor Doom. I was heartbroken. There was no way Disney would want to move forward with a solo Doctor Doom film when they now have the first family of Marvel, the Fantastic Four, to reintroduce to movie-goers… or so I thought.
Yesterday THR broke the news that Hawley’s Doctor Doom is in a state of limbo. Hawley said he met Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige who asked him if he was still working on the script, to which Hawley replied, “Should I still be working on it?”. Hawley joked that Feige wouldn’t reveal his “thousand-year plan” for the Marvel universe, but the Marvel President expressing interest in the film is enough to skyrocket my hopes back up.
Fiege has recently said that he sees the demand for mature comic book content such as Deadpool and will be working to ensure content like it still has a home at Marvel Studios following the merger with 21st Century Fox. Though Doctor Doom would not necessarily need to be R-rated, having the option there is nice to consider. It also leads me to believe that Marvel wouldn’t be opposed to producing a comic book film with a villain in the lead role. Marvel is constantly looking for ways to expand and diversify its content, and a Doctor Doom movie would certainly fit that bill.
Hawley has said that he envisions Doctor Doom as a geopolitical thriller as opposed to a traditional superhero film. It starts with Doom placing a dome over Latveria, the fictional European he rules, and later inviting a female journalist to be his voice to the world. This means the main protagonist of the film could be someone without powers giving us a unique perspective of Latveria and the rest of the world.
This is where things get really interesting to me. The main reason I have been so adamant that a Doctor Doom movie has the potential to be a sleeper hit and feel unique in the superhero market is that it wouldn’t cater specifically to the superhero market. Not only would it focus on an iconic comic villain, but it would also do so in a way that makes it feel very much like a genre political thriller. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is pretty much a spy/espionage film that happens to be about Captain America. Doctor Doom could give Victor Von Doom the same treatment while providing another breath of fresh air for comic fans.
Some might argue that the inciting incident of Doom covering Latveria in a dome might be too similar to how Wakanda had operated. However, I think it would actually present a really compelling dichotomy in that it gives us an opportunity to see the differences in how T’Challa and Victor rule their respective nations. The way Latveria is displayed from a cultural and architectural level would also offer some striking differences to that of Wakanda.
Introducing Doom ahead of the entrance of the Fantastic Four to the MCU would also be beneficial to every character. Having Doom already established means you don’t have to spend time doing so in the inevitable Fantastic Four film. Instead of having to juggle between the heroes and villain, the Marvel’s First Family would get all the spotlight they need without the audience feeling like the villain is hollow. And it gives one of Marvel’s strongest (in terms of strength and intrigue) characters a spotlight all his own.