Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’ is the next in their Phase Three movies to hit cinemas, and is set to feature at next month’s San Diego Comic-Con alongside ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2′. So with that in mind, here’s a rundown of everything we know about the ambitious film so far.
Warning: minor/possible movie spoilers ahead
What’s it about?
The Doctor Stephen Strange character was conceived in 1963 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, just a year after their creation of ‘Spider-Man’, that centres on an arrogant yet brilliant neurosurgeon. Aside from his enormous wealth and talent, Strange becomes a bit of an unpleasant chap by the age of 30, but as ruthless as he’d become - declining patients in desperate need of surgery if they weren’t rich enough to pay his fees - his inevitable downfall was just around the corner, in the shape of a terrible car accident that left the nerves in his hands irreversibly damaged, thus ending his lucrative career.
Strange tried everything to cure his disability, exhausting his finances in the process, before travelling to Tibet to seek out The Ancient One’s help. But he’s not cured of his injuries; instead he’s given the chance to train in the mystical arts.
Who is Doctor Strange the hero?
Once Stephen Strange receives said training at the hands of The Ancient One, he’s granted with a number of amazing abilities: teleportation, a cloak of levitation and flight, astro-projection (as we see briefly in the trailer), and a number of magical artefacts to wield in his possession, such as the Wand of Watoomb.
After changing his attitude from selfish money-grabber to selfless hero, Strange sets up base in Greenwich village, New York in the Sanctum Sanctorum along with his assistant Wong (played by Benedict Wong). And, in the comics at least, he then becomes an integral member of the superhero community.
Who’s making it?
Horror helmer Scott Derrikson (’Sinister’) is an interesting choice for Marvel and will no doubt bring a rather dark and twisted sensibility to the film - not least because his other directorial efforts include ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, and ‘Deliver Us from Evil’ - he wrote all the aforementioned as well as ‘Devil’s Knot’.
Here, Derrikson teams up with former filmmaking partner C. Robert Cargill (’Sinister 2′) to pen the script for Disney and Marvel Studios.
Who’s in it?
The movie’s led by the title character that’s played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (’Sherlock’; ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’). Chewitel Ejiofor (’12 Years A Slave’) will play Baron Mordo, a character synonymous as being Strange’s jealous, long-standing (at least in the comics) enemy. Tilda Swinton assumes the role of The Ancient One; a decision shrouded in controversy after the ‘whitewashing’ outrage that turned an Asian character Caucasian. Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams also star, but neither have been credited with characters yet - it’s known Mikkelsen will be the movie’s main villain and McAdams will possibly feature as Linda Cater, aka Night Nurse - a character who first appeared in 1961′s ‘Linda Carter: Night Nurse’ comic.
Who’s the film’s villain?
One thing we know is that it’s Mads Mikkelsen will be the bad guy, but no one knows who it’ll be yet.
It’s far-fetched to presume he’ll be Dormammu, a character often referred to as one of the most powerful entities in the Marvel universe. The likely outcome is he’ll play dream demon Nightmare. Ejiofor’s Mordo, by the looks of the trailer at least, seems to be playing an ally of Strange’s rather than the established antagonist we see throughout the comics, but all that could change as the movie’s story progresses.
One other possibility is we’ll see Shuma-Gorath, a one-eyed tentacled monster (essentially of the appearance of a giant, evil squid), due to the LEGO set leak that revealed a similarly modelled beast on the box. However, Gorath is traditionally a green-skinned, one-eyed nasty, so the design below could be to throw Marvel fans off or simply be a product of early concept art.
That said, in a recent interview we did with Mikkelsen, he revealed the ambiguity of his role, stating that “he’s a man who believes in something else than the hero,” so could be an altogether different baddie than anyone first thought.
When’s it out?
Despite the movie featuring (likely in a teasing capacity) at this year’s SDCC, audiences won’t be able to enjoy it on the big screen for some time. ‘Doctor Strange’ is due in UK cinemas on 28 October, 2016; with the film opening in the US a week later on 4 November, 2016.
Picture credits: Disney/Marvel Studios, WENN, Twitter, LEGO