After months of speculation and years of fanboy casting, Marvel Studios officially announced yesterday that Benedict Cumberbatch will portray Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange, when the Scott Derrickson film hits theaters on November 4, 2016.
Benedict Cumberbatch can finally stop pretending. Yesterday, via an official release at Marvel.com, it was revealed that the actor will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the titular character in Doctor Strange, a film that Marvel says "will follow the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions."
Cumberbatch has been rumored to be in final talks for the role for some time and is believed to have been among actors Marvel showed interest in originally before turning their focus to Joaquin Phoenix, who eventually turned down the role of Strange. Despite the pursuit of several other actors, Marvel Studios' President, Kevin Feige, believes that Cumberbatch is the guy for the role,“Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity. In 2016, Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character.”
The timing seems great for both Marvel and Cumberbatch, who is generating Oscar buzz for his performance in The Imitation Game and has a loyal and growing following from Sherlock. Doctor Strange is by no means a household name (as of now he doesn't have a current comic title on shelves) and while Marvel has proven that they can make a fortune on non-iconic characters (Guardians of the Galaxy seems to have done ok), it certainly won't hurt to have an actor as beloved as Cumberbatch in the role to insure more butts in seats.
The film itself promises to be very different from prior Marvel films as it's expected to explore alternate dimensions and magic. Feige has said on several occasions that Strange's mysticism will have a scientific explanation rooted in energy and quantum physics, which fits well in the science-based MCU, but we can expect to see some very trippy things when the film hits theaters November 4, 2016.