Since Scott Derrickson was brought on to direct ‘Doctor Strange’ earlier this summer, the rumor mill really ramped up as speculation went wild over who would take the titular role of Dr. Stephen Strange. Previously, names like Johnny Depp, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jon Hamm were among the stars rumored for the role. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ star Jack Huston even entered the mix this week. However, it appears that one name brought up early on is now in final talks for the role.

After many outlets reported that he is beyond the offer stage and into actual talks for the part, Collider revealed that Joaquin Phoenix is “essentially at the 1 yard line, about to pass into the endzone” with his negotiations to become the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Sorcerer Supreme. The actor known for such significant works as ‘Gladiator’, ‘Signs’, ‘Walk The Line’, and ‘Her’ was first mentioned in the conversation about this presumably Phase Three film back in July, but it appears that Marvel Studios is really making moves to lock him down into the role this week.

However, don’t assume that the role is a lock just yet for Phoenix. Badass Digest notes that there are a few hold ups from the actor about entering the MCU. Not only is he weary of the multi-picture deal that comes with signing with the House of Ideas, which would require him to embody a character for longer than he’d like, but he’s also concerned about diving into the world of FX-heavy superhero movies. Reporter Devin Faraci highlights the fact that Phoenix may not be comfortable in that sort of environment:

“He’s a great actor, and he can play the role. But the Marvel Studios blockbuster machine is full of pre-viz and fight-viz and green screen and massive reshoots. It’s not a world that’s as comfortable for him, and he’s just not certain he can do it. And I kind of think this is a terrific piece of self-awareness, and a piece of self-awareness that might keep the deal from closing. If Marvel can get past any issues Phoenix has with the larger contract they still have to get over the doubt this terrific actor has about working in this larger environment.”

Regardless of a few hang-ups on the actor’s end, it’s quite clear that Joaquin Phoenix is the guy that Marvel wants for Doctor Strange. They were hoping to lock him down and debut him at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con to beef up their Hall H presentation, but it was not meant to be. But maybe the studio will be able to iron out all the details and bring something special to the fans on the east coast for New York Comic Con in October.

Are you excited to hear that Joaquin Phoenix is closer than ever to starring in ‘Doctor Strange’? Do you think that his concerns may ultimately keep him from joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.