Benedict Cumberbatch AP

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.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

12 comments

    1. I’ve seen quite a few Facebook feed responses to Mr. Cumberbatch in recent years. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a women ever give him a thumbs down!

      If Marvel can bring in a larger female audience that normally would be that excited to go see Doctor Strange, then that’s going to be translate into a nice chunk of change.

      The only Marvel movie that I’m still scratching my head on is Ant Man. I just don’t know about that one…

    1. I think that for the most part he’ll be so busy protecting earth from the evils of the spirit world that he won’t have time for “Civil War,” etc. But I’d like to see him appear in Tony’s mansion late one night as an astral projection who essentially says, “Hey, this is what’s coming earth’s way. You need to prepare for this.” Maybe Tony doesn’t believe him or whatever, so Strange gives him the ability to see the other side for a moment and scares him half to death in the process. Who knows.

    2. It’s a great choice and I think his “Sherlock” fame will certainly spark interest in the film. If it’s any consolation, I was considered odd for knowing about Strange way back in the late 1990s, too.

      I also heard that “42” actor Chadwick Boseman was cast as Black Panther, set to debut in “Captain America: Civil War’ before starring in his own movie. There’s also going to be a Captain Marvel movie (with Carol Danvers in the lead role), although she hasn’t been cast yet.

    3. I also heard that “42” actor Chadwick Boseman was cast as Black Panther, set to debut in “Captain America: Civil War’ before starring in his own movie.

      As long as he starts working out and eating a lot of protein…bulks up, etc., I think he’ll be good to go. I’m looking forward to it.

  1. If you are a marvel fan with some years on you this could be almost a fantasy come true!
    I remember growing up dreaming of good Marvel movies, I just wish I could say the same for the comics.

    1. “It really is too bad about the comics in recent years… Regardless, I am enjoying Marvel’s movie success.”

      Me, too. I still remember a time where the only current superhero movies were Batman movies, and bad ones directed by Joel Schumacher at that.

    1. I’ve been debating on whether or not I want to write on that this morning. I’ll probably hold off a bit. How will this fit in to 2015’s “House of M”? If I’m supposed to get excited for a couple months where Peter and MJ are married, only for it to come to an end by September, then I won’t be buying it.

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