Opening in theaters on November 4th and directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Marvel Studios‘ Doctor Strange will be the fourteenth entry into the comic-book publisher’s shared movie universe and the second of their Phase Three offerings.
Taking a much-needed departure from the rock’em sock’em super-heroics of the Avengers movies, Doctor Strange will delve into the until-now-only-hinted-at mystical side of the Marvel Universe with Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Hobbit) playing the titular Sorcerer Supreme, forced to master ancient magical arts and save the world from supernatural evil. Details have been fairly light on the ground so far, with only a few leaked set photos and a trailer to go off, but we’ve taken a look through the Eye of Agamotto and gathered together everything we know about…Doctor Strange!
- The Doctor’s Origin Will Be Staying True To The Comics…
In the comics, Dr Stephen Strange is a gifted but egotistical surgeon whose hands are irreparably damaged during a car accident. Searching for an alternate method of healing, Strange travels to the Far East and becomes the pupil of a mysterious being known as The Ancient One, soon taking over his mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, greatest of all magical practitioners and mystical protector of this dimension. As you do.
The trailer hits all of these beats pretty hard, showing Cumblethatch alternately swanning around in scrubs or a tux before going all Seven Years In Tibet and still managing to pull of dashingly handsome under an inch of grime and a beard that would make Brian Blessed jealous. We see the car crash and its aftermath, the good doctor with his hands demolished, and we even get a good look at Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One and the film’s first big diversion from the comics…
- …Except For The Ancient One
Originally a Tibetan farmer, Marvel have altered the origins of their MCU Ancient One, turning him into an androgynous Caucasian and sparking accusations of whitewashing and cultural insensitivity. Taking to BirthMoviesDeath, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige attempted to explain the decision:
The sorcerers have been around for millennia, protecting us from things we didn’t know about until this story. There have been multiple [Ancient Ones], even if this one has been around for five hundred years, there were others. This is a mantle, and therefore felt we had leeway to cast in interesting ways.
- He’ll Get By With A Little Help From His Friends
Assisting Strange in his mystical adventures are Benedict Wong as his faithful manservant Wong (although expect that relationship to be updated a scootch), Rachel McAdams possibly playing potential love interest and fellow medic Christine Palmer AKA Night Nurse, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo. Traditionally an enemy of the Sorcerer Supreme, Mordo is a fellow student of The Ancient One who resents Strange’s natural talents, something that will not be transferring over to the movies. Says Ejiofor in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
“In terms of his life with the Ancient One, it’s this long and intense relationship they have that’s just very deep and very connected. I think they both recognize in Strange this certain quality that they feel is going to be very useful in a situation they’re in — just by the nature of who he is, and the way that he operates, and the way his mind works, and the certain skill set and personality that he has. So, when they all meet, they realize that he’s somebody that can be plugged into this very surreal, interesting, sort of fascinating circumstance that they’re all in, and the dangers that they face. And so it becomes a process of assimilating him into their ways of life.”
It’s also been confirmed that Doctor Strange will be packing his trademark Cloak of Levitation giving him the power of flight and the powerful Eye of Agamotto, an amulet that allows his to see through all disguises and illusions, view the past, and track psychic and magical energies.
- Something Wicked This Way Comes
Set photos have revealed Mads Mikkleson’s baddie, a sorcerer who breaks off from The Ancient One to start his own sect, looking pretty evil with his scary eyes and creepy groupies A recent Lego set has also hinted at the incursion of some form of tentacled beastie into our realm, something that could well be linked to the mystical shenanigans of the Hannibal actor’s villain. Our money is on this monster being Shuma-Gorath, an extra-dimensional entity that tries to enter our world through the mind of The Ancient One, forcing Doctor Strange to kill him and take up his old mentor’s title. The Lego set also gives us another look at Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, his mystical base of operations located in New York’s Greenwich Village and likely site of the movie’s climactic battle.
5.Crazy Dimensions Ahoy!
Briefly glimpsed during the finale of last year’s Ant-Man, Doctor Strange is going to be a full on exploration of this weirder side of the Marvel Universe. Said Kevin Feige to Empire Magazine:
“We see glimpses of something called the Dark Dimension, but if you were to open a Doctor Strange comic drawn by Steve Ditko, you would see the Dark Dimension is, in fact, very colorful in an extremely psychedelic way. Those are the things we’re not shying away from.”
The trailer also gives us a few shots of mind-bending geography and some cheeky astral-planing by Strange himself, so expect this movie to be a bit of a head fudge.
Are you looking forward to Doctor Strange? Let us know in the comments below!