Who is Doctor Stephen Strange? An arrogant neurosurgeon. A tortured soul. The sorcerer supreme. Most importantly for us, he is Benedict Cumberbatch… hopefully. There is still no official announcement from Marvel and hopefully this casting doesn’t go the way of Joaquin Phoenix, but as of now, the fantastically named Englishman will take the reins.
Marvel’s casting has become so trusted that questioning them is an exercise in futility. Part of this may be great casting. But, the writing and development of these characters might be so good that the casting doesn’t matter as much as it seems to. Regardless, how does Cumberbatch fit into the fancy shoes of the most magical of Marvel superheroes?
Grantland’s Alex Pappademas had a great look at the character while openly petitioning for Clive Owen to take the mantle. While Owen would undoubtedly have the chops for the character, I love the choice of Cumberbatch. Though he works through it at various times, Strange is a tortured soul looking to find his place in the universe after losing what defines him; the ability to be a neurosurgeon. A car crash breaks his hands and causes nerve damage that make his hands shake.
There is one character in particular that Cumberbatch played that shows the same type of tortured existence, Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness. The strength and force that Cumberbatch brought to the role of Khan is likely a litmus test for how to play Strange.
With Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister, locked in as the film’s director, it appears that there is going to be an out there type of storytelling to set it apart from the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe. It doesn’t appear that Strange is going to have the light-hearted arrogance of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, but he will have a much darker, brooding type of arrogance, something that Cumberbatch has shown he can pull off in the past.
On a bit of a side note, there is one thing that Cumberbatch brings to the role that I don’t think any other candidate does. The voice. Spoilers may be contained below
I can only imagine that there will be some chanting, spell weaving, or incantations for the sorcerer supreme to do. Having the voice to pull it off will be a necessity and Cumberbatch has it.
Back to the issue of the shaky handed sorcerer. Strange has not often been the main character of his own story in recent years (this will change when the movie gets closer without a doubt) and it has been said that this won’t be a straight origin story film. Whether they focus on The Oath or possibly Into Shamballa as the image below may suggest, there is likely to be a strong investigative focus.
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) November 3, 2014
Strange could be described as a magical detective, dealing specifically in demonic like enemies. Obviously fitting for a horror movie director. Cumberbatch is once again in his element because of his time as Sherlock.
When you combine it all, you have an actor with the look, the chops, and the voice to play Marvel’s magic master. The story remains to be seen, but you can expect a darker film than previous Marvel fare. Now we wait and see if Marvel has once again knocked the casting of their precious heroes out of the park.