Joaquin Phoenix is one of the most coveted actors in Hollywood. His presence often lends an aura of mystique and intrigue to a project. And now that he has won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in Joker, he is even more in-demand than ever before. And if a new rumor is on the money, it sounds like he could be joining the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a very cheeky way.
Insider Daniel Richtman (via We Got This Covered) is reporting that Marvel Studios is attempting to court Joaquin Phoenix for a cameo role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And who would the actor be portraying? None other than the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange. Everything we have heard about this upcoming installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to indicate that we could see some pretty wild appearances in the Doctor Strange sequel, but this might be the kookiest possibility of them all.
However, trying to nab Joaquin Phoenix for the role of an alternate universe Doctor Strange would fit in with all the other potential big-name cameos we have been hearing about. Reportedly, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige is casting a wide net and hoping to acquire cameos from actors who were once attached to play versions of these famous Marvel characters. That’s why we’ve been hearing things like Tom Cruise and John Krasinksi are being approached to appear as Iron Man and Captain America. Both of those actors were, at one point, pursuing those particular superhero roles.
And the same is true of Joaquin Phoenix and Doctor Strange. Apparently, Marvel tried to snag him for the role of Stephen Strange but he declined. Supposedly, Phoenix didn’t want to be tied down to a large number of potential sequels and crossover movies. Instead, it looks like he preferred to take on a project like Joker where he knew it could be a singular, standalone experience. Well, after the gargantuan success of that movie, maybe the Oscar-winning actor is in a different place regarding his feelings towards Marvel Studios.
Specifically, this sounds like Joaquin Phoenix would only show up for a brief moment in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and it would likely be a very short appearance. Our assumption is that he would only show up for a day’s worth of shooting and would appear just long enough for audiences to recognize him. It would definitely be a fun wink to a Doctor Strange that could have been, but there are some other considerations to take into account with this rumor.
For one, it is not even clear if Joaquin Phoenix would have any interest in appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Would the dedicated actor be willing to go through the rigamarole of a film production for what would amount to a fleeting appearance? Granted, if it is a matter of money, there might be a figure that both Marvel and Phoenix could agree upon for such a walk-on role. But, it is equally possible that Phoenix doesn’t see the merit of doing something so slight and jokey.
And to be frank, while all of these potential cameos sound quite charming, it is also the kind of deeply referential stuff that might not track with regular viewers. Mainstream audiences will surely recognize Joaquin Phoenix, but the significance of him appearing as Doctor Strange might be lost on them. And it is important to remember that a lot of casual viewers might assume that these actors are going to return in some form as these iterations of the characters. If you promise audiences something and then don’t deliver, they might not trust you as much the next time around.
If Joaquin Phoenix does don the Cloak of Levitation, it will be an amusing if minuscule gag in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Would Marvel and director Sam Raimi go so far as to make some kind of off-hand reference to Phoenix’s DC affiliation? If that were to occur, it is quite possible the entire internet would implode upon itself. Now we really hope it happens. We will find out exactly how all these shenanigans go down when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on March 25, 2022.