Did Marvel Studios make a deal with Mephisto? On top of all its previous box office success, the excitement for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and securing Robert Downey Jr. for a few more films, it now has Benedict Cumberbatch playing Doctor Strange.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Oct. 27:
After months of speculation, Doctor Strange has been found.
Benedict Cumberbatch is in negotiations to take on the titular role in Marvel’s film, slated for release on July 8, 2016. …
Cumberbatch comes with an incredibly large fan base thanks to his Sherlock show and impeccable dramatic cred. And with The Imitation Game shaping up to be a major awards contender this season, a best actor nomination (or more) could also be on his curriculum vitae.
Scott Derrickson is directing the Marvel feature, which centers on a former neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme — the primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats.
If there is a downside to casting Mr. Cumberbatch, then I can’t see it. He’s a great actor. He has a ton of range, his fans will turn out for him in droves — and women love him.
Doctor Strange has two big question marks, but even those aren’t as worrisome as they would be with other big budget films because Marvel has such a wealth of material to draw from:
- Can Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister (2012), deliver the goods?
- Will writer Thomas Dean Donnelly up his game, or will he give the world another Sahara (2005)?
In both instances, previous creative minds working for Marvel have done much of the heavy lifting for Messrs. Derrickson and Donnelly. A world doesn’t need to be created from scratch, they can glean the best elements of time-tested stories, and the Marvel “brand” ensures plenty of people will see it based on the studio’s reputation alone.
On top of that, ask yourself this question: Will Doctor Strange make his first appearance after the credits in Captain America 3, or will he have a cameo in Iron Man 4? The creative options open to Marvel at this point are endless.
I was considered a bit of an odd kid for knowing who Doctor Strange was in 1987, so it is extremely satisfying to know that the world will be properly introduced to the character in 2016. All good things come to those who wait.