In the same way that DC Comics is fleshing out its future movie slate with flicks about Aquaman and The Flash, so too is Marvel expanding its coverage outside of the wildly popular Avengers cast. In addition to upcoming projects involving Ant-Man, a Fantastic Four reboot, a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, and a third Spider-Man, Marvel Studios is at work on an adaptation of Doctor Strange.
Today, as SuperHeroHype points out, they’ve officially cast the film universe’s Sorcerer Supreme: British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Best known for his roles as Sherlock Holmes and Khan in the Star Trek reboots, Cumberbatch will play the neurosurgeon-turned-magical-guardian when the film reportedly hits theaters on July 8th, 2016. Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is set to direct, with a script from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus).
According to Deadline, Cumberbatch beat out some rather fierce competition, with the likes of Jared Leto, Tom Hardy, and Joaquin Phoenix previously in the running for the role. While there’s no word yet of a specific plot or storyline, it’s reportedly a standalone feature, with little attachment to other events in the ever-growing Marvel cinematic universe.
If you’re unfamiliar with the character, Doctor Strange was created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee and debuted in July 1963’s Strange Tales #110. Born Stephen Vincent Strange, he was a successful doctor before his hands were rendered unusable following a car accident. He made use of various forms of magic and mysticism in order to regain his old life before eventually become Earth’s resident protector against all sorts of ill-begotten sorcery. The character has appeared in several direct-to-DVD movies, cartoons, and video games.
For a taste of Cumberbatch, check out his work from the Sherlock series.
In other Marvel news, the studio recently announced that Robert Downey, Jr. would reprise his role as Iron Man in the upcoming Captain America 3.