Marvel may have finally found its Doctor Strange, and he comes with a built-in, rabid fanbase. Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly close to signing on to play Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts.
It's been a short but twisted road for Doctor Stephen Strange, with a seemingly endless parade of actors rumored to be attached to the picture. Marvel seemed unable to settle on a Sorcerer Supreme, though, even with myriad actors supposedly up for and interested in the role. That is, until now.
Variety is reporting that fan-favorite Benedict Cumberbatch will take on the role of Stephen Strange, the surgeon-turned-sorcerer, with the Doctor Strange movie set for a 2016 release. Cumberbatch and Marvel are said to be still in talks surrounding the actor's commitment as Doctor Strange, but the news is the firmest we've gotten on the Doctor Strange front in a long time.
Were Cumberbatch to accept the role, he would be beating out actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, and others. Horror director Scott Derrickson, who helmed Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, has been tapped to direct the Doctor Strange movie.
Cumberbatch may find his dance card is filling up quickly. Signing on to a Marvel movie is no small affair, as the studio loves to have its characters pop up across its films in order to tie the universe together. Cumberbatch is also rumored to be in the running for a part in the new Star Wars reboots.
Should he sign on as Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch could well bring along a built-in fanbase for the relatively little-known Doctor. After turns as Sherlock and as Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness, Cumberbatch's star has never been brighter.
Next to nothing is known about how Doctor Strange will appear on the screen when the movie hits theaters. Cumberbatch's gravitas combined with Derrickson's horror chops, though, could mean that viewers will be in for a movie quite different from other Marvel movies.
When Doctor Strange does come to the screen, rumor has it that it will have one big distinction over other Marvel movies. Reportedly, Marvel is skipping the origin story for Doctor Strange and instead throwing viewers into the action with Cumberbatch – or whoever winds up playing the part – in full-on Sorcerer Supreme mode.
Doctor Strange will be part of Phase Three in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 and will end with next summer's Avengers: Age of Ultron. That movie, which will have the most special effects of any Marvel movie to date, may see the Avengers team split in two, as well as the revelation of many more superheroes not previously shown off in any Marvel movies.
Doctor Strange will likely be among those revealed heroes. The character was hinted at by name in this year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and he and Ant-Man could be among any number of other heroes shown off or hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron.