Ryan Gosling had a pretty great year in 2016. He starred in two critically acclaimed movies with The Nice Guys and La La Land, the latter of which he could be getting an Oscar nomination for in the very near future. It is fairly hard to believe things could have been any better for him, but it turns out he was up for the role of Doctor Strange at one point. Enough for Marvel Studios to commission some concept art of him as The Sorcerer Supreme. Lucky for fans, that art has now surfaced online.
The art was done by Court Chu, who said he was hired to do the art quite some time ago. Long before Marvel Studios settled on Benedict Cumberbatch, though, director Scott Derrickson says he was the only actor who was ever really considered for Doctor Strange. Still, at some point Marvel was considering Ryan Gosling and this art that was posted to The Art Blog of Court Chu proves it. The two pieces are very similar, but one of them is darker and features a different cloak, as well as a slightly different design on the chest of the costume. But for the most part, both pieces give a pretty good idea of what could have been.
Despite what Scott Derrickson says, it was fairly well documented that Marvel Studios at least had to look at some other actors because Benedict Cumberbatch had some acting commitments that made it seem as though he wasn't going to be able to take the part. Ultimately, the studio bumped Doctor Strange back to accommodate his schedule and make it happen. The movie had been in some form of development for quite some time, so naturally, other actors, like Gosling, were looked at for the part of Stephen Strange. Joaquin Phoenix was also flirting with the role for a period of time and was reportedly very close to signing on the dotted line, but he supposedly didn't want to commit to a long-term deal, which is a big part of being in the Marvel Studios system.
While Ryan Gosling is becoming a seemingly better actor with each performance he turns in, and likely would have been a fine choice for the role, it would be hard to argue against the way things turned out. Doctor Strange was incredibly well received by both fans and critics, much of that having to do with Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Stephen Strange. Not only that, but the movie has made $658 million at the box office, surpassing expectations. It is actually the highest-grossing solo character movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, so Marvel Studios has to be thrilled with the results.
There is no telling how different Doctor Strange would have been if Ryan Gosling were given the part, but it is at least interesting to think about. Things turned out fine for both sides, though. Ryan Gosling is starring in Blade Runner 2049 later this year and Benedict Cumberbatch will be reprising his Doctor Strange role in Thor: Ragnarok, as well as in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. You can check out the concept art of Ryan Gosling as Doctor Strange for yourself below.