Johnny Depp as Doctor Strange? Actor

Despite 'Doctor Strange' reports, his reps say talks aren't underway; Film would have to fit in with Depp's schedule for a fifth 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Alice in Wonderland' sequel

It was only a matter of time before Marvel Studios started courting Johnny Depp to play one of its superheroes.

Sources have told Latino Review that the Mouse House’s main man is in very early discussions with Marvel to take on the role of eccentric magician Steven Strange in “Doctor Strange,” which the company has long been developing as a solo pic to join the ranks of its “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America” franchises. “Ant-Man” is another character it hopes to launch in 2015 as a standalone franchise around one of the comicbook company’s heroes.

While it makes sense that Marvel would want to have a conversation with Depp over how it could launch a new franchise with the thesp, sources tell Variety that such talks have yet to take place and any possibility of such a pairing is premature.

Yet if he sparks to the role, Depp would play the Master of the Mystic Arts, a former neurosurgeon who becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme and primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Marvel Comics vets Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created the character in 1963. It would surely be a showy role that Depp could disappear into and make his own like he did with “Pirates of the Caribbean’s” Jack Sparrow and “Alice in Wonderland’s” Mad Hatter.

But any talks would have to focus on whether the actor has time to take on the role. He has several films waiting for a greenlight at Disney, including a fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

Still Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has long wanted the Doctor Strange character to star in his own solo film as a way to make a movie about magic the way “Guardians of the Galaxy” pushes it into the sci-fi and space genre and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” into political thrillers.

Character fits in with the cinematic universe Marvel is building, with Strange having paired up with Thor and the Avengers, along with Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four to battle enemies in the comicbooks. It’s feasible that Doctor Strange would eventually be featured in an “Avengers” sequel.

There is no word yet on when Marvel is hoping to release “Doctor Strange,” but it wouldn’t be until at least 2016. Marvel has “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man” bowing before then.

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