Noah Hawley's 'Doctor Doom' Movie Still in Limbo

Noah Hawley speaks onstage at Featured Session: Noah Hawley during the 2019 SXSW Conference -Getty-H 2019
Danny Matson/Getty Images for SXSW

With the merger of Disney and 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets on target to close next week, the movie rights to nearly all Marvel Comics characters — including those from the Fantastic Four, held by Fox — will be under one roof.

On the surface, that could augur well for a Doctor Doom script written by Fargo and Legion showrunner Noah Hawley. He announced at Comic-Con in 2017 that he was developing a film about the Fantastic Four villain for 20th Century Fox, and he finished a script in 2018. Now that Fox is officially becoming part of Disney, which also owns Marvel, the IP would all be owned by the same place. 

Despite that, Hawley said, the project is not yet close to a green light.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter's Bryn Elise Sandberg at SXSW, Hawley said he met with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who asked him of the script, "Are you still working on it?"

"Should I still be working on it?" Hawley replied. But no concrete answer was forthcoming.

Hawley added he's not certain when, or if, the project might move forward. He joked that Feige wouldn't reveal the "thousand-year plan" for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to him.

Hawley said during the panel, as he has before, that he envisions Doctor Doom as a geopolitical thriller more than a standard superhero movie. It begins with Doom putting a dome over Latveria, the fictional European country he rules. He later invites a female journalist to be his voice to the world, meaning its protagonist would be someone without superpowers.

Sandberg also asked whether Hawley had been approached about creating content for Disney+, the company's forthcoming streaming service. He hasn't yet — "I think FX [where Hawley has been based for the past five years] is protective of me," he said.

Hawley was more forthcoming about season four of FX's Fargo, which will star Chris Rock and be set in Kansas City circa 1950. He said it will center on two families — one African-American and one Italian-American — whose patriarchs decide the best way to keep peace is to exchange their oldest sons. Hawley said casting for other roles has started, though he couldn't reveal any names yet ("You'll be happy" to hear who they are, he said). He expects filming to begin in the fall.

After Fargo, Hawley plans to move forward on a long-gestating adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, which he hopes will film in 2020. Hawley said he's written one script and sees the project as a seven- or eight-hour limited series: "I'm really excited about it. I just haven't been doing it very quickly."

Meanwhile, there are about three weeks remaining until production wraps on Legion's third and final season, and Hawley has been in the writers room for Fargo for several weeks — all while working on postproduction for his first feature as a director, Lucy in the Sky, with Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm.