Benedict Cumberbatch Officially Joins Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

Benedict Cumberbatch Dr Strange Marvel

Benedict Cumberbatch has officially joined Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange,” the company said Thursday.

The actor will play neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions and becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme and primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. Marvel Comics vets Stan Lee and Steve Ditko co-created the character in 1963.

Cumberbatch’s casting had been in the works since October.

Scott Derrickson is directing the film, to be released Nov. 4, 2016, as part of Marvel’s phase three of superhero movies. Jon Spaihts is writing the script.

“Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “In 2016 Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character.”

Feige has long wanted the Doctor Strange character to star in his own solo film as a way to make a movie about magic the way “Guardians of the Galaxy” pushes the Marvel movie world into the sci-fi and space genre and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” into political thrillers.

Marvel had been in negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix to take the role but couldn’t reach a deal because of the number of films the thesp would have to agree to make.

In addition to voicing a wolf in DreamWorks Animation’s “The Penguins of Madagascar,” Cumberbatch can currently be seen in “The Imitation Game,” and he will return to the smallscreen as Sherlock Holmes next year in the BBC’s “Sherlock.”

He also voices the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer in New Line’s “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Other upcoming projects include Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger pic “Black Mass,” which also stars Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton.

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  1. I liked Benedict as Dr. Strange. I like his job, he has a way of working that makes their characters look deep, complicated and even funny, like on ‘Sherlock’. In addition to that, he usually work on movies that go well and are entertaining, so…

  2. wiles11 says:

    Well, at least Universal (I think?) can stop sitting on the ’78 television version, which was much better than any Marvel adaptation of the era had a right to be.

  3. iamsd says:

    Cumberbatch is always brilliant. It’s the director I’m worried about

  4. richard says:

    Great news! Really looking forward to see what they do with Dr. Strange. It could be fantastic – or an epic bomb. But the Cumberbatch casting gives one cause for optimism.

  5. Cue Phoenix and Depp fan girls crying.

  6. Flavorabledeez says:

    If Feige wanted to push the limits of expectations regarding magic the way Guardians did involving superheroes then they shouldn’t have casted as safely as they did. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Cumberbatch the way some do, I think he’s great at what he does. But what he does is play a cold, mysterious, Brit in every one of his films or tv appearances. There’s not much range there. That’s why people don’t care for him being Dr. Strange: because we already know what kind of Dr. Strange he’ll be and that’s dull, especially given the creative range this movie will allow (with magic) and a character that badly needs a revamp. They should’ve worked harder with Joaquin Phoenix, who could even unintentionally have changed this character for the better.
    Oh well, maybe I’ll be surprised…. when I watch it on Amazon or Netflix, not in the movie theater.
    Cue the fangirls

  7. JD says:

    Why Benedict why? Stick to making movies like The Imitation Game that make great use of your acting.

  8. Jeeves says:

    How dull.

  9. Wouldnt Scarlet Witch be good in this? Her powers are “magical” as well.

    • Actually, the Scarlet Witch’s “magic” is a mutant power and she was originally written as a misunderstood villain fighting alongside Magneto, but she probably would fit in as a way to tie the X-Men franchise to this emerging one. In fact, I think they have appeared in each other’s comic book before.

      Because, in the Marvel Universe, the lines of superhero groups and their members cross all the time. It will be interesting to see how far they go with that in the Hollywood versions. I mean the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and even Doc Strange and Spider-man appear in each other’s titles constantly and it usually makes “Marvel” sense. But I never saw a Guardians of the Galaxy cross-over before.

      However, I did hear that Marvel plans to also make a big-screen version of another more obscure comic, the Inhumans. That could be the tie-in movie for everything, because I think they actually did a recent story arc in the comics where the Inhumans try to take over the Earth and all the groups unite against them.

    • Anthony D. says:

      She and her brother Quicksilver are likely going to be re-branded as Inhumans, since in the comics her powers are a mutation. Obviously, Marvel can’t call them mutants.

      • Bill says:

        @Perry Bridgman

        Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch fall into a formely grey area of character ownership. In Marvel comic cannon they are mutatnts and the children of Magneto, but they are best known as members of the Avengers. Fox (owners of the X-Men characters) can use them in their X-men movis, like Days of Future Past, and Disney can also use them and we will see them in Avengers: Age of Ultron this spring. The only stipulation is they can not be “mutants” in the Disney/Marvel cinematic universe. As Anthony D stated they may be rebanded as Inhumans or something else (watch the end credit scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier where they make their first appearance.)

      • That could happen, but a young Quicksilver was just featured in the last X-Men installment.

  10. jackie says:

    So bored with Mr Cumberbatch. I guess I will watch it for any crossovers, but I would have been really excited if they had manage to get Mr Phoenix.

  11. Ray says:

    “The Army of the Five Armies”? Shame on you, Variety.

  12. Ajay says:

    Perfect casting. Better choice than Phoenix both creatively and likely, for box office. Cumberbatch is classically trained and has genre credits Phoenix lacks. It’s who most fans of Strange wanted from the start and should give Marvel another winning franchise.

    • It’s playing it safe, and that’s dull AND harmful to the superhero genre. When Dr. Strange releases it’ll be mixed in with a plethora of other superhero movies, this one will need something to make it really stick out of the crowd. Joaquin Phoenix has already proven that he can do that with his acting and creativity, Cumberbatch has played the same role in practically everything he’s done.
      Sometimes the fans doing the casting isn’t the right option. After all, they might complain but they’ll still go and see it, you need something different to get the general public in movie theater seats. That’s not what’s happening here

      • hopscotch says:

        He was great in August: Osage County. Not the character he usually plays. It showed he has range.

    • Jeeves says:


  13. bigbri says:

    Kiera Knightly for Clea.

  14. Doug says:

    I just want to hear him say, “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!” like Doctor Strange used to exclaim in the old Strange Tales comic book series from 1963. :-)

  15. thatmovieyousee says:

    Reblogged this on That Movie You See.

  16. helen says:

    Excellent. He’ll be amazing. Stoked for him

  17. Stephen says:

    Looks like Dr. Strange will be brooding with no sense of humor or charisma.

  18. therealeverton says:

    Because Thor & Thor: The Dark World didn’t open the sci-Fi and cosmic doors for Marvel Studios:- Except they did and Fiege has stated that was Thor’s Job several times.

    Perfect casting, cannot wait for this.

    • Bill says:

      Thor is one facet of sci-fi and cosmic, Dr. Strange is another.

      I do agree that the casting is perfect and will race you to the box office window November 4, 2016.

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