×

Benedict Cumberbatch Officially Joins Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Ad Astra Box Office

    Box Office Battle: 'Ad Astra' Takes on 'Rambo: Last Blood' and 'Downton Abbey'

    “Hustlers” and “Good Boys” proved that even in the age of Marvel dominance and remake mania, movies that don’t exist within an established franchise can still be box office draws. Can “Ad Astra” continue that trend? The space drama — starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray — arrives on the big screen this [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks

    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks Silence After D.A. Dropped Charge

    Lucia Evans gave a wrenching account on Tuesday of her efforts to hold Harvey Weinstein responsible for sexual assault, saying she felt betrayed after the Manhattan D.A.’s office dropped her allegations last year. Evans spoke to Variety after giving a speech at a conference on influencer fraud in Manhattan, making her first public comments on [...]

  • Ad Astra

    How 'Ad Astra' Production Crew Created Authentic Look for Brad Pitt Space Drama

    In “Ad Astra,” Brad Pitt’s astronaut Roy McBride crosses the solar system to find and confront his long-lost father, requiring the movie crew to create an authentic-looking future that conveys the theme of traveling long distances to learn the lesson that it’s where you started from that has the most value. “Visually, the aim was [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan'Always Be My Maybe' film

    'Fresh Off the Boat' Creator Nahnatchka Khan Signs First-Look Deal With Netflix

    Netflix has signed “Fresh Off the Boat” creator and executive producer Nahnatchka Khan to an exclusive multi-year first look deal for feature films. Khan made her feature film directorial debut with “Always Be My Maybe” starring Ali Wong and Randall Park. The romantic comedy premiered on Netflix in May and was seen by 32 million [...]

  • The Mover

    Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Costa Rica Announce Oscar Contenders

    Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro and Costa Rica are the latest countries to announce their entries for the newly rebranded International Feature Film award at the 92nd Academy Awards. All four countries are seeking their first Oscar nomination in what was formerly known as the foreign-language film category. Latvia has selected Holocaust drama “The Mover” (pictured) as [...]

  • The Sky Is Pink

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Sky is Pink'

    Shonali Bose’s much-laureled 2014 “Margarita with a Straw” was a film whose presentation of a cerebral palsy-afflicted heroine sidestepped all the usual hand-wringing inspirational clichés of disability portrayal, making her story all the more enlightening and affecting. It is particularly disappointing, then, that the director’s followup should approach another tale of genetic infirmity with all [...]

  • Jodie Turner-SmithVariety Studio Comic-Con, Day 1,

    'Queen and Slim' Star Jodie Turner-Smith Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' (EXCLUSIVE)

    After she plays the Bonnie to Daniel Kaluuya’s Clyde in Universal’s romantic thriller “Queen and Slim,” actress Jodie Turner-Smith will join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of Tom Clancy’s “Without Remorse.” Turner-Smith will play Karen Greer in the movie. As recently announced, Jamie Bell will also co-star as Robert Ritter, the deputy director of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content