Will the Doctor Doom Movie Still Happen?

A lot has happened since Noah Hawley’s Doctor Doom project was announced and the Legion visionary has an update.

While Noah Hawley will continue taking fans down a stupendously surreal rabbit hole with FX’s Marvel Comics-inspired TV series, Legion (which was just renewed for Season 3), his reveal at 2017’s San Diego Comic-Con of a movie about the ultimate Marvel villain, Victor Von Doom, a.k.a. Doctor Doom, is especially intriguing. While the Doctor Doom movie project could be profoundly affected by the $52 billion deal that will see Disney acquire 21st Century Fox, Hawley’s latest update cites other obstacles.

Back in January, Hawley told Rotten Tomatoes that Doctor Doom was still in play and that he’d placed the task of writing the movie script on his immediate backlog. Now, jumping to the present in June, it appears that Hawley has been diligent in that task. However, it’s on hold for now. As he tells Vulture:

“I wrote a script that I really like and the studio really likes.” Adding, “It needs a little work.”

Unfortunately, for the Doctor Doom project, it appears that another major movie, the fact-based astronaut infidelity drama starring Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm, Pale Blue Dot, will require Hawley’s immediate attention, since he’s set as its director and co-writer. While Hawley reveals that he’s revising the Doom script, he admits that his work on Pale Blue Dot will put it on the back burner. As he explains:

“It’s hard for me, at this exact moment — because I start shooting another movie in five weeks — to do that work. So, I mean, my hope is to go back to [the Doom movie] after [Pale Blue Dot].”

One might think that the idea of Fox’s Marvel Comics properties – which include X-Men and Fantastic Four – being placed under the same Disney-owned corporate umbrella as the continuity-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and television shows would raise the prospects of Hawley’s Doctor Doom. However, it should be noted that Disney’s MCU has yet to release any project that’s centered on any villain; a stark contrast from Sony, which has grandiose plans to spin-off its new joint-studio MCU-adjacent Spider-Man movies with villain-centric spinoff movies, notably with the Tom Hardy-starring Venom. Consequently, the idea of villain movies not playing into Disney’s MCU modus operandi remains a potential source of derailment for Doom.

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When it comes to the merger and Marvel Studios possibly nabbing the project, Hawley states:   

“They may have a plan of their own in a desk drawer. I just don’t know. So, I think there’s sort of a sense of uncertainty.”

With the critical and financial failure of 2015’s Fantastic Four – the second cinematic iteration within the short span of a decade – still permeating in the circles of Fox, the inevitable relaunch will need an astoundingly original approach. Thus, the idea of introducing the Fantastic Four into the real estate of the MCU with a film centering on their definitive rival, Doctor Doom, might get moviegoers to buy into a movie brand that’s still remembered for the 2005 film and its 2007 sequel, in which Julian McMahon played Doom, and the controversy-mired 2015 reboot effort, in which Toby Kebbell played Doom.

With a visionary the caliber of Hawley onboard to write and even rumored to direct this (allegedly genre-mixing) Doctor Doom movie, it could be an opportunity delivered to Disney on an armor-plated platter. Perhaps it could also be the first time we get a proper, comic-accurate, version of the immolated armor-wearing despot, who’s traditionally depicted as the dictator of a fictional small European nation nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, called Latveria. Indeed, Hawley remains hopeful on Doom‘s prospects, stating in the recent Vulture interview:

“I think the studio would like to make it. I think we’re all just trying to figure out how and when we’re gonna do that.”

For now, you can expect Hawley’s work to manifest with the FX series, Legion, which continues its Season 2 run and looks forward to Season 3, which presumably arrives next year.

*This article was originally published on January 8, 2018 and has been updated with new information.