“I originally wrote a draft of Nick Fury as a feature film, and Marvel at the time was obviously not the Marvel that they are today, they weren’t even close,” Goyer recalled. “It was a fairly representative adaptation of the (Jim) Steranko era (in the comics), but updated with Baron von Strucker and the Satan Claw and all sorts of things like that. Nothing ever happened with it, it went into development hell, and the studio that had it lost the rights.”
Goyer continued, “Years later, after Blade had been made, some people called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna make a series of backdoor pilots for Fox and, good news, we’ve optioned the Nick Fury script that you wrote.’” But while his script was budgeted at a relatively inexpensive (for a feature) $20 million, the TV version was pared down to $3-4 million. “I just said, ‘Forget it, I don’t want to be involved.’ So they had someone else rewrite it and I had absolutely zero involvement with the TV version.” (Goyer is still credited as the writer).
Another Marvel character that Goyer was involved with before the glory days of the MCU was the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, whom he adapted for Columbia Pictures in the early 2000s: “It was a fairly faithful adaptation involving Baron Mordo and Morgana Blessing. I turned it in and was really excited about it, but this was one of the ones that got away from me.”
Goyer said that his Doctor Strange script was a casualty of studios wanting to make comic book movies without really understanding the properties: “I remember the executive at the time saying, ‘We love this script and we want to make it, but there’s a lot of magic in it and we wish you could take a lot of the magic out.’ It was then that I realized that they had no idea what they had optioned. They couldn’t get their hands on one of the first-tier characters so they had gone for Doctor Strange.”
Fortunately, Goyer immediately saw the writing on the wall: “I snapped back and said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you wanted Doctor Strange but I guess you wanted Doctor Mundane. They fired me the next day.”