Last year Marvel won back the rights to the cerebral, magician Doctor Strange, a B-list superhero character they previously licensed out to Columbia and Paramount, who despite many talent attachments, weren't able to crack it. Today, Mike Fleming reports that Marvel are aggressively pushing forward on adapting the enigmatic sorcerer and have hired Conan writers Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to put together a screenplay which they hope to be the first movie made under the Disney banner, and probably the first introductory origin movie post-The Avengers in two years time. Good news that's it's been made. Strange is very different to the usual superhero, existing as more of a sci-fi character, the Gandalf of the Marvel universe and he will make for a refreshing change of pace. Under previous studio regimes,Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro were to calibrate on an adaptation, and although these Conan kids (they also had a hand in Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens) haven't got the CV of Gaiman/Del Toro, and their attachment doesn't quite get our juices flowing the same way, I'm just happy to see this character begin development to the big screen. The plan with Strange is to make a movie around the less riskier $20-40 million figure, as compared to Thor ($130 million) and Captain America ($140 million). They want to implement the same cost-effective approach to African-American hero Luke Cage and martial arts expert Iron Fist among others. According to a rumour at Latino Review, they are also flirting with the idea of adding Pixar style shorts (though at about 3 times their length) to be included in front of future tentpoles (like Thor, Cap) as a way of introducing these lesser heroes in the hope of testing the waters on interest for a future full feature. I guess they would be similar to that Mortal Kombat viral that was unleashed earlier this month in an attempt to drum up some interest in the characters and see if that kind of adaptation was the way to go. It's a low-budget, low-risk and rather neat idea. The possibilities of course are endless. Not only could they introduce the origins of both hero's and villains (which at the same time gets them out of the way for the more meaty narrative of a main feature) but they could also cross-pollinate and expand the characters from their A-list characters. A short for Captain America before next year's Thor seems like a cool way to go. We are behind this - especially after Jonah Hex's bomb this weekend (debuting at #8 at this week's box-office with $5.1 million gross despite starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox), we would hate to see these studio's lose interest in trying to bring B-list comic book characters to the big screen.