When it was revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Marvel’s Doctor Strange over a year ago, it was a case of obvious casting syndrome. There was little surprise or excitement because the live action person looks so much like the comic book character that he was already in everybody’s fantasy cast. However, with Entertainment Weekly today unveiling our first official look of Cumberbatch embodying the role, it’s time for that excitement to rev up.
The Sherlock star looks as spot on as a fanboy could dream in this debut picture. From the ridiculously high-collared red cape to the blue tunic to the gray streaks in the hair, all the trademarks of Strange’s character are there. And yes, that would be the Eye of Agamotto around his neck, designed a bit differently than in the books, but all-powerful nonetheless.
The one thing fans may gripe about is the hand gesture, which is simply an open palm as opposed to the two-fingers-and-a-thumb, Spider-Man-esque pose he usually holds up in the books. Never fear, though, as this shot was taken in the very early stages of Cumberbatch’s time with the role.
“I’m still in the infancy of learning all that,” Cumberbatch told EW about his spell-casting gesticulations. “It was like, okay, I’ve got to keep throwing these poses, these spells, these rune-casting things, everything he does physically. I’m thinking, there’s going to be a huge amount of speculation and intrigue over the positioning of that finger as opposed to it being there, or there. And I’m still working on that. We haven’t played any of those scenes yet. I felt really self-conscious. But, then, by the end, it was great. It’s like anything, you just have to experiment.”
He still has time to get up to snuff, as filming for Doctor Strange began in November and will continue through March. Check out the revealing Entertainment Weekly cover below. Check out even more photos below.
Doctor Strange is scheduled for theaters on November 4th, 2016. The film also stars Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One and Chiwetel Ejiofor as the villainous Baron Mordo. Rachel McAdams and Mads Mikkelsen also have roles, but exactly whom they will play will be revealed when the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly hits stands on Tuesday.
Update: EW has decided to let the cat out of the bag early and reveal whom McAdams and Mikkelsen are playing. Their character names are still under wraps, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told the magazine that McAdams will play “a fellow surgeon that has a history with Strange and is his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into he role of a sorcerer. She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity.”
Feige went on to call the character Strange’s “contemporary in the modern-day New York world, before and after he goes on this crazy journey. So, she sees him before, she sees him after. She’s kind of this audience point of view.”
It also turns out that Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo won’t be the main antagonist of the film, as that role falls to Mikkelsen. Feige explained that the film will act as “sort of a guide to the multiverse, other dimensions, and there are amazing things out there — wonders that are going to be hopefully visually extremely interesting and unique to this movie. But there are are also very scary things in these other dimensions.” While Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme and Tilda’s Ancient One are tasked with protecting the world from these “scary things,” not every magic wielder is of the same mind. “Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect,” Feige said. “[He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.”
As for which character from the books this might end up being, fans can keep guessing. “I’ve seen lots of names thrown around,” said executive producer Stephen Broussard. “No one has quite picked the name that we’ve chosen for him. It would be fun to conceal that, if we can.”