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How Doctor Strange Got This Major Video Game Movie Canceled

For years, writers and directors have been trying to craft the perfect video game movie. While some game adaptations have been blockbusters, many paint a tragic history of games in film. For every "Sonic the Hedgehog," there are several Uwe Boll movies, bad adaptations of games that leave fans wondering if a good video game movie is even possible. While there are definitely good video game movies that play with the source material – like "Detective Pikachu" – others simply fall short. However, gamers will perhaps never know what cult classic game "Deus Ex" would look like on the big screen, all because of "Doctor Strange."

Well, sort of. Back in 2012, Scott Derrickson was working on a script for an adaptation of "Deus Ex: Human Revolution," the cyberpunk-themed video game that grappled with issues of humanity. In the game, protagonist Adam Jensen navigates through a world of mercenaries and body augmentations, with his own forced modifications sitting at the root of his conflict. As Jensen becomes more machine than man, the game grapples with what makes a human human, and if there's a point where someone becomes inhuman.

Derrickson told Den of Geek back in 2014 that he was excited about the project, and proud of the script he'd worked on with Cargill. He explained, "It was a really positive process that was going on, and it was a little heartbreaking. Getting on Doctor Strange, this was the biggest downside of it. The fact that I needed to step off Deus Ex. I couldn't expect them to wait for two years for me." Even though he felt passionate about the "Deus Ex" project, it was difficult to turn down a chance to be part of the MCU. Regardless of Derrickson's departure, one would think that production on "Deus Ex" would move forward. That wasn't the case.

The script seemed on brand

After Derrickson and Cargill left "Deus Ex" to work on "Doctor Strange," the video game adaptation collapsed. Scott Kinney, a development executive at Prime Universe Productions, recently told For the Win that after Derrickson and Cargill left the project, the studio began focusing on other types of films. Eventually, the entire project just fell through, Kinney said.

Kinney lamented, "I'm really, really sad CBS Films fumbled the ball on this project because I believe Scott would have knocked Deus Ex out of the park to finally make the first great video game film adaptation." He elaborated on why Derrickson would've made a great fit for the project, suggesting that "Doctor Strange" explores similar themes of humanity and what it means to be part of the human race. "Replace the mysticism of Doctor Strange with the transhumanism theme of Deus Ex and we felt like we had all the ingredients for a film that could have been memorable, or at worst, ahead of its time," he said.

Kinney shared the "Deus Ex" script with For the Win, giving gamers some insight into what the film might have looked like if it had finished production. The small parts of the script previewed in For the Win encompassed frank discussions of humanity and intense action scenes in equal measure, showing that the film would have attempted to remain true to the "Deux Ex" series while also expanding the in-game lore. Kinney claimed that if the project had moved forward to the casting stage, the company might have pursued Bradley Cooper to star as Adam Jensen, who the script described as "a man in his prime." However, the script itself isn't even the biggest bummer in the story of "Deus Ex."

Fans are disappointed

Perhaps the saddest part of the failed "Deus Ex" film is that Eidos Montreal, the developer behind the games, collaborated on the project. Kinney said that Derrickson was in contact with Eidos Montreal as he wrote, creating the film treatment in tandem with the developer's creation of "Human Revolution." Now that fans know the truth of what happened, the community is saddened by the news.

Some fans hoped that the project could be revived one day, while others thought that the script sounded a little too "cheesy." One gamer aptly pointed out that the property would be perfect for a film, "Since its universe has so many well-liked tropes in films: future, cults, dystopia, conspiracies, spies, tech. As well as things relatable to today: global warming, discrimination, police brutality." Ultimately, fans will likely never know what Derrickson's film would have looked like, but at least they can enjoy knowing the possibilities.

Thankfully, Kirk McKeand, the author of For the Win's piece on the film, shared an extra snippet of the script on his Twitter account, showing other fans that the original treatment indeed included Adam Jensen's famous line, "I didn't ask for this."