Doctor Doom is a Marvel movie dream project that Noah Hawley, the visionary behind FX’s Legion and Fargo, has wanted to tackle since he announced it back at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con. However, the project is currently stalled as its fate hangs in the balance, depending upon developments from the imminently-closing $71.3 billion deal that will see Disney, which owns Marvel, acquire 20th Century Fox, which had been licensing X-Men and Fantastic Four, the latter of which is Doom’s mothership property. However, Hawley recently reiterated his interest in the project, and even teased its plot!
Hawley dropped some major Doctor Doom details to Deadline at SXSW, revealing that the project went far enough for him to have a meeting with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in which they even discussed the status of the film project, though he has yet to receive a follow-up call. Yet, his enthusiasm for the film remains undiminished as he states, “I would love to make it,” further explaining hyperbolically, albeit frankly, “Marvel, they’ve got a 25,000-year plan. I just don’t know if I fit into there.”
While Hawley doesn’t directly provide a fly-on-the-wall recounting of said meeting, he does give the first substantive description of the plot of his Doctor Doom movie. Unlike the previous two film manifestations of the character – played by Julian McMahon in the 2005 Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel, and Toby Kebbell in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot – Hawley plans a more purist take on the film focused on the armored evil genius, Doom, describing “a kind of Cold War, geopolitical movie” that takes place in the fictional Eastern European nation of Latveria, which Victor Von Doom rules with a (literal) iron fist as a monarch. It seems that after 10 years of isolation, Doom would invite a female journalist to visit for the purpose of sharing a message to the rest of the world.
That description might make Doom sound like a mix of Dracula and Kim Jong-un, but Hawley further expresses that his creative objective with the film is to create a profile piece. He asks, “Is he a good person or bad person? We don’t know anything about him.” Indeed, Hawley’s desire to throw a curveball with the villain was similarly expressed a year ago when he teased a story approach that mixed the comic book movie genre with that of a “political thriller.”
Interestingly, Hawley might not have to wait long to catch a glimpse of the post-Disney-Fox merger, since it was just revealed that the deal is closing on March 20. However, he’s currently finishing up his first directorial feature, Lucy in the Sky (formerly Pale Blue Dot), a fact-based film about a tragic home-front incident involving astronauts that will star Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz and his Legion star, Dan Stevens. – And speaking of Legion, Hawley will subsequently shift his efforts to work on the upcoming third-and-final season of the X-Men-based series. Yet, should Hawley get the chance to field the Doctor Doom movie, his schedule would be open after clearing those two projects.
It will certainly be interesting to see if Hawley’s Doctor Doom movie project can sustain the telluric tumult of a major corporate merger, especially if Disney/Marvel Studios has – more Marvel Cinematic Universe-adherent – plans of its own for the Fantastic Four/Doctor Doom property; a variable that seems to have already derailed the long-mooted Channing Tatum-headlined Gambit movie. However, Doom is, if anything, a resourceful survivor!