The Notebook hunk was long rumoured to have been a frontrunner for the blockbuster role before Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch was officially brought onboard for the 2016 project, and now noted concept artist Court Chu has provided proof that Gosling was once seriously considered for the gig.

Chu, who has worked on films like the Underworld franchise, The BFG, Independence Day: Resurgence, and the forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, shared some artwork he created following the initial casting discussions with Marvel executives on his blog, which depict Ryan as the mystical former neurosurgeon, complete with a thin goatee and high collar.

The images were posted online in November (16), but have only now become more widely publicised.

Alongside the sketches, he wrote, "I worked probably not even a day on some version of 'Doctor Strange' years ago, and back then they wanted Gosling."

Other actors approached for the titular role before Cumberbatch signed on include Joaquin Phoenix, who reportedly passed on the project, and Jared Leto, who ended up portraying The Joker in DC Comics' Suicide Squad last year (16).

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson previously admitted scheduling conflicts had initially prevented Cumberbatch from committing to the role, but when he failed to find another actor suitable for the film, he successfully managed to delay its release by a few months and work around the British star's availability.

In September (16), Benedict revealed he was convinced he had lost out on his dream gig.

"I really did think I had to kiss it goodbye," he told Empire magazine. "If you can't jump on board when the ride's going past. that's usually it, so the hugest compliment they paid me was to come back to me. It motivated me to try to fulfil their faith in me."

Cumberbatch is now firmly a part of the Marvel family and will reprise his role as Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War, which is set for release next year (18).